Serious side to world of cartoons

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 December, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 December, 1997, 12:00am

The visual arts offerings celebrate the modern artistic identity of one region, and an art form that fought for some years to be taken seriously in another.

Euro Comics 98, which runs at the City Hall Exhibition Centre between February 13 and March 1, celebrates the fact that more than a century after the first children's magazines carried cartoons, the comic strip has become a respected and important art form, even dubbed the 'Ninth Art' in Europe.

In France, there is an annual International Comics Festival, which next year celebrates its 25th anniversary and the Mitterand government has built a National Comics Centre, on the ruins, appropriately, of an old paper mill.

This exhibition has taken several years to organise.

Some of Europe's greatest cartoonists have been invited to Hong Kong to give demonstrations of their art.

They include Jesse van Muylwijck and Robert van der Kroft from the Netherlands, Luis Luoro from Portugal, and Olle Berg from Sweden.

There will also be an unusual visual display explaining the way the comic strip has changed over the years, and explaining the rival 'schools' of comic-strip art, Tintin in France, Spirou in Belgium and the contrasting styles.

TV screens, dotted around the exhibition hall, will show cartoons and books and magazines will be available in a specially designated 'reading corner'.

The Hong Kong, Taiwan and China Art Exchange Project will be at the Arts Centre between February 6 and 22.