A cartoon character “born” in 1935, Sanmao, which literally means “three hairs”, is a homeless street urchin character created by the acclaimed caricaturist Zhang Leping, who has been hailed as “Father of Sanmao”. Regarded as one of the most famous cartoon in China, Sanmao has accompanied grow-up of generations and perhaps the oldest Chinese cartoon character still alive today.
On May 5th, 2017, jointly organised by Network of International Culturalink Entities & China Cultural Centre in Sydney, opening of the exhibition “Sanmao the Forever Young – the Boy wandering down the Shanghai Alleys” was held at China Cultural Centre (Sydney). A number of wonderful distinguished guests including Son of Mr. Zhang Leping, Mr. Zhang Weijun, former NSW Minister for the Arts Ms Virginia Judge and President of the Australian Cartoonist Association Mr Jules Faber attended the ceremony, at which attendees there were not enough chairs for.
Madame Zhao Li, Director of the Centre said in her speech: “Sanmao was the very first cartoon character that I knew during my childhood, and played an influential role in my understanding of the Chinese cartoon.”She added “In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the book publication, this exhibition aims to showcase a certain historic phase and the social changes in modern China from a cultural perspective, to provide an exciting and unique angle for the Australian audience to understand the past and the changes that have taken place in modern China.”
Former NSW Minister for the Arts Ms Virginia Judge extended her congratulations for the opening of the exhibition. “China Cultural Centre in Sydney is a well organised organisation strongly dedicated and focused on promoting of awareness and appreciation of Chinese Culture and Art,”She commented “Sanmao the Forever Young showcases China’s ongoing and evolving history, although our hero Sanmao had a life full of difficulty, he always gained back kindness and showed compassion and generosity. I’m sure that the message of the character by the creator will become part of each of the audiences tonight, and carry out with each of you to the future.”
“It is my pleasure to take this opportunity to come from Shanghai to Sydney, to be here with you tonight.” Said Mr Zhang Weijun, son of the creator: “Sanmao is a kind, funny and brave figure who has been beloved by generations of Chinese. The story of Sanmao also mirrors a certain period in the Chinese history. The Winter of Three Hairs is the most famous book of the comics series of Sanmao, and it has inspired readers’ sense of compassion. It was commented as “literary masterpieces without a word”.
Followed by the speeches, Ms Virginia Judge received a valuable gift from the distinguished collaboration of two acclaimed comic artists of China and Australia, Zao dao and Pat Grant, respectively. These young talented comic artist each contributed half of the piece, on the left an image of Sanmao, standing with a warm smile gazing at the sky, paired with a surfing girl at Australia’s most iconic beach – Bondi. The two distinctive cultures seamlessly blended into one piece of artwork, creating an intercultural dialogue between the cultures of China and Australia.
Mr Zhang Leping’s collection “The Winter of Three Hairs” was first published in 1947, depicting the sweetness and bitterness of life of a smart and kind hearted orphan wanders on the Shanghai streets to survive the difficult days.
To coincide with the 70th anniversary of the publication of the book “The Winter of Three Hairs”, this exhibition features 100 pieces of the creator’s selected works, a bronze statue of Sanmao and trophy of the Cultural Heritage Award at the 42nd annual Angoulême International Comics Festival of France, seeks to showcase the excellence of Chinese comics and the Chinese modern history and social changes reflected in the stories.
Exhibition will be free and open to public at China Cultural Centre (Sydney) from 6th May through to 8th June 2017.