The 2023 Hsinchu County Outstanding Artist Heritage Exhibition, “Legacy, Return to Truth—Liu Hsing-ching’s 90th Birthday Exhibition” debuted today (October 20) at the Hsinchu County Art Museum, Galleries 103–105. The exhibition will continue through November 26. A press conference was held to commemorate the opening, with Hsinchu County Magistrate Yang Wen-ke and beloved comic master Liu Hsing-ching personally inviting the public to attend. The exhibition was jointly organized with the Hsinchu County Cultural Foundation and features not only precious artwork, but also activities such as “Robot Fantasy Adventure—DIY Acrylic Painting” and “Treasure Bag ‘Art’ World—DIY Printmaking and Silk Printing”. Additionally, two multi-colored cultural products, the “Liu Hsing-ching Beret” and the “Robot Fisherman Hat” will be available for purchase. Residents and friends of Hsinchu County are encouraged to visit the exhibition and share in the creative spirit of the ever-vibrant Master Liu, who tirelessly contributes to Taiwan through his artistic endeavors.
Magistrate Yang stated that the inspiration for this exhibition came from an agreement he made with Master Liu when they met at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall exhibition two years ago. Today, that agreement has finally come to fruition. He emphasized that Master Liu is the pride of Hsinchu County, the pride of Taiwan, and the pride of the global Chinese community. Master Liu was born in Hengshan Township and faced various challenges from a young age, which fortified his skills. He is known for his ability to solve problems through intellect rather than relying on brute force, a quality that Magistrate Yang greatly admires.
Master Liu is known for his talent in deriving inspiration from everyday life. The comic characters Brother A-san and Big Auntie are based on his mother and himself, and their creation earned him the title of “Taiwan’s first local comic artist”. In 1954, during an era when reading comics was prohibited, he drew a comic titled Quest for Immortality, which warned children to avoid comics. In 1968, he drew a comic called Robot, which encouraged children to read books. When readers questioned whether such a robot could actually be built, he ventured into the field of invention and obtained over 140 patents both domestically and internationally. In his later years, he dedicated himself to researching and documenting Taiwan’s unique folk history through illustrations. He has created over 300 pieces of folk art, including a long scroll painting titled Taiwan’s Migration Painting, which is regarded as Taiwan’s version of Along the River During the Qingming Festival.
Magistrate Yang remarked that from these remarkable achievements, it is evident that Master Liu’s contributions are truly exceptional. He has received recognition from six different presidents. This exhibition incorporates artwork, interactive elements, and hands-on experiences to showcase his robots and various inventions in addition to his comics. It aims to carry forward and celebrate Master Liu’s spirit, inspiring children and adults alike.
Liu Hsing-ching, a master comic artist and a national treasure, expressed his gratitude to the Hsinchu County Government for organizing this art exhibition to celebrate his 90th birthday. He was deeply moved by Magistrate Yang’s deep understanding of his life journey. Master Liu emphasized the importance of using one’s intellect throughout life, stating that “The most important thing in life is to use your brain.” He shared a childhood story about herding cattle, explaining that his father taught him not to compete with the cattle in strength but to outsmart them. From then on, whenever he encountered difficulties, he used his brain, and “everything was solved.” This story became part of the curriculum in the third-grade Chinese language textbook for elementary school students.
Anyu Lee, Director General of the Hsinchu County Cultural Affairs Bureau, explained that the exhibition is divided into five major sections: “Education through Entertainment with Comics”, “Unique Perspective in Invention”, “Unfinished Memories in Folk Art”, “Sentiments for the Homeland in Bronze Sculptures”, and “Return to Youth in Ching’s Comic Shop”. Each section showcases the precious works of Master Liu. The exhibition also incorporates comics and interactivity. Visitors can use their smartphones to scan QR codes and access interactive programs, allowing them to enter the world of comics and interact with classic characters such as Robot and Big Auntie through photography and other activities.
The folk art exhibition section features a selection of works under five main themes: “Childhood Memories”, “Hakka Culture and Sentiments”, “Welcoming Deities and Festivals”, “Urban Scenes”, and “Rural Workers”. Visitors can scan QR codes with their smartphones to hear Master Liu himself recite folk art poems related to these themes. The exhibition also includes short documentary-style videos to provide a more profound understanding of his inventions, comics, and folk art, inspiring future generations with his passion and dedication.
The exhibition showcases Master Liu’s philosophy of “Who says playing cannot inspire creativity?” His love for play has indeed led him to create numerous works. In the “Unique Perspective in Invention” section, visitors young and old are encouraged to participate in challenges involving traditional games while viewing Master Liu’s folk art scroll depicting childhood games. In the “Return to Youth in Ching’s Comic Shop” section, visitors can freely enjoy Master Liu’s classic comics and cartoons. There’s also a “Creative Doodle Book” zone designed for children, where they can pick up a pencil and experience the creative process behind Master Liu’s comics while creating their own imaginative artwork.
The Cultural Affairs Bureau has planned six sessions each of “Robot Fantasy Adventure—DIY Acrylic Painting” and “Treasure Bag ‘Art’ World—DIY Printmaking and Silk Printing” during the exhibition period. These sessions will be held on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Registration and payment will be conducted on-site, and each session has a limited number of spaces. For more details, please visit the official website of the Cultural Affairs Bureau (https://www.hchcc.gov.tw/). Visitors of all ages are welcome to participate in these activities.
Furthermore, special thanks go to National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University for providing the digital archive of Master Liu’s comic works and to the students and faculty of China University of Technology for collaborating on the technological interactive experiences. Master Liu Hsing-ching stands as a pioneer of his era, and his artwork expresses his deep love for Taiwan. The curators hope that through the exhibition of Master Liu’s precious works, audio-visual interactive experiences, and a series of promotional activities, the younger generation of Hsinchu County will inherit the creative spirit of this national treasure.