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An educational and enjoyable visit at the Manga Hokusai Manga exhibit at the Ateneo Art Gallery

17 June 2017

"Manga Hokusai Manga will explore the similarities and differences between modern Japanese manga and Katsushika Hokusai's manga and introduce the charms of this unique field of Japanese culture".  As soon as I read this blurb from a post on the Japan Foundation Manila's FB page, I was immediately intrigued and so penned in the date on our calendar.  Anything that will get us to learn more about our favorite manga is worth a visit.  Plus, admission is free!

At the center of the exhibit is Katsushika Hokusai's "Hokusai Manga".  Browsing through all the panels encourages you to understand, appreciate and discern just how their (Hokusai and his contemporaries) works contributed to the evolution of manga.

The exhibit runs from June 17 to July 28, 2017 at the Rizal Library Special Collections Building, Ateneo de Manila University.  This exhibit is presented by the Ateneo Art Gallery, the Japan Foundation, Manila and the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines.





Before I start with the exhibit, let me tell you something about Getting There.  The exhibit is at the Ateneo de Manila University Loyola Heights, QC.  The Ateneo Art Gallery posted about entering via Gate 3, so we did, and then we got confused and lost even though we asked the guards haha We were able to start over and just slowly drove along the road (I think it was University Road) until we reached this area:



This is at the front and there's a walkway leading to the Rizal Library.  We parked the car across from here.  Actually, you may have to walk a little bit to get to the Rizal Library.  When we got there, there was a small reception going on, which I assumed for the VIPs, so we headed straight into the Library.  You have to register and leave your bags at the counter.  You can bring your valuables with you, like wallets and phones.


The exhibit is grouped into 4 parts to showcase the diversity in images, styles and techniques.  Let's begin:

Part 1:  Hokusai Manga:  Funny Pictures?

The "Hokusai Manga" is Katsushika Hokusai's most popular collection of his printed sample drawings.  It consisted of 15 stitched-bound volumes with 4,000 images and about 800 pages.  It is like a compendium of Japanese life, instructional in nature.  But because some of his works depicted acrobatic gestures and an entertaining way of life, they were initially thought to be "Funny Pictures".


Excerpt from Hokusai Manga, Vol. 1
 These are part of his "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji" series, the most popular of which is the "Great Wave" or "Under the Wave off Kanagawa" at the bottom (Exhibit #3)


 Here are the rest of the volumes from his Hokusai Manga.  Take note of these acrobatic depictions :)



Part 2:  A Character Named Hokusai

Hokusai was not only a widely-renowned artist of his era but he was also the subject of and often appeared as a character in other manga series.


This panel showcases six portrayals of Katsushika Hokusai by fellow manga artists.


This panel shows some of Hokusai's self-portraits.


Here are excerpts from the different manga where Hokusai was portrayed as a character:





Other notable persons included in this section of this exhibit are Oei, Hokusai's third daughter, a painter recognized for her expertise in coloring and detailed depiction of hands; and, Utagawa Kunoyoshi, a popular manga artist who was known for his legendary warriors theme.



  

Part 3:  Manga like Ukiyo-e, Ukiyo-e like Manga

This part of the exhibit showcases the different techniques that were employed in both old and contemporary manga.  It is interesting to note how some things have stayed the same and how some have changed. The kids paid particular attention to this exhibit because they could easily understand the significance of the panels and in fact we have seen how screentones are used (in a different Japanese cultural convention :)












 Part 4 - Hokusai Manga:  Shared Manual!

The Hokusai Manga initially served as instructional material although it did give off a fair bit of entertainment along the way.  As such, it was like a "Shared Manual" with students sharing among themselves and through their own process of learning, create their own versions of manga.  The need to share information has led to creation of other "How-To" manga and stuff like doujinshi (or fan-made manga) that are popular now.



Contemporary Manga Artists Revisit the Hokusai Manga

The conclusion to the exhibit is best exemplified by these artists' interpretation of Hokusai Manga.  Their work for this exhibit show their appreciation for the style and technique of the Hokusai Manga as well as a homage to the talent that is Katsushika Hokusai.  




The Manga Corner

Japan Foundation Manila has a little Manga corner that got the kids excited.  There were manga volumes for you to read and there were a few stools to sit on.  We were thrilled to see the popular Weekly Shonen JUMP !  These books are available to read at the Japan Foundation Manila Library.







Near the end of the exhibit are these interesting panels:




I forgot to mention that upon registering, you will also be given an exhibit guide/booklet that provides more information for each of the panels on display. Reading through it is highly educational.  I would advise reading it as you go through the exhibit.  I read mine only after I got home, so I know that was a mistake because there are some visuals that I wanted to remember and couldn't.

Anyway,  that's it for our Manga Hokusai Manga experience.  They also have several lectures and workshops scheduled so check out their page for more information.



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