Showing posts with label NAC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NAC. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

At Kinokuniya: So How Notorious Are "The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye"and Its Writer-Artist Sonny Liew?

Red Dot Diva loves it whenever her favourite book store Kinokuniya, holds a comic-related Meet the Author session. The book store has always been very supportive of overseas and local creators as well as artists of graphic novels. 

Last Saturday (30 May), the main store at Ngee Ann City, hosted the official book launch of Eisner-nominated artist Sonny Liew's latest graphic novel, "The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye", published by local company Epigram Books.

"The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye is written (or rather written and drawn) as a biography of sorts. It documents the life of "the greatest Singapore artist of all time", Charlie Chan, from the age of 10 when he discovered his love for Osamu Tezuka's mangas, in addition to an account of his own life's journey as a Red Dot Island native and a struggling comic artist. Strung alongside Charlie's personal narrative are the historical and political aspects of Red Dot Island and her own unique stories.

Red Dot Diva remembers gathering a few preview booklets released by Epigram when she attended STGCC 2012 a few years ago. Amongst the booklets was one of "The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye". Already then, the preview had sparked a fair bit of interest amongst local geeks and geek bloggers, but alas, the book took a very long time in the making.

"The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye" was originally funded by National Arts Council (NAC) for a sum of SGD 8,000. However, this was withdrawn a day before the book's official launch, in a move that Red Dot Diva hardly considered as fair. The de-funding was reported in the local newspapers and social media, including some overseas blogs, with NAC stating that the book contained "sensitive content". (What this "sensitive content" consists of had not been specified by NAC at that time, although Sonny Liew and locals can definitely hazard a good guess what these points were.) NAC later clarified their reasons for their action (see TODAY's original article in this link) and said that the book carried themes which “undermines the authority or legitimacy” of the Government, and hence the funding guidelines.

In their decision to withdraw the funding, NAC had renewed questions on whether funding for homegrown creative efforts should be made more separate from political inclinations in order for the arts scene to grow and thrive. As expected, what do Red Dot Islanders do when the gahmen marks something as "not approved"? Buy the book of course!

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