A CHINESE LIFE
La Cina e il caos armonioso
||Written by LI Kunwu and P. Ôtié
Illustrated by LI Kunwu
An autobiography in graphic-novel form, A Chinese Life traces a remarkable personal journey through modern history from the creation of the People's Republic of China in 1949 to the present day. Working in close collaboration with writer Philippe Ôtié, artist Li Kunwu has created a timely and compelling memoir of state and self that is at once epic and intimate, comic and tragic, in scope.
Already a modern classic, this distinctively stylish masterpiece of design chronicles the rise and legacy of Chairman Mao Zedong and his sweeping, often cataclysmic vision for the most populous country on the planet. Li Kunwu witnessed this extraordinary period at first hand, and here intertwines the experiences of his family and neighbours, his friends and rivals, his colleagues and compatriots, in a visionary account of "interesting times".
"The masses are the real heroes. "
- Mao Zedong
The period of Chinese history covered in Li Kunwu's staggering graphic memoir, A Chinese Life, has had major implications for Chinese society and the global community. The establishment of the People's Republic of China
in 1949, the ultimately disastrous Great Leap Forward and the subsequent Cultural Revolution were formative events in the development of the modern Chinese state. A Chinese Life is remarkable not only for its clear and
accessible explanation of those difficult times, but also for the personal testimony of its artist.
In collaboration with writer Philippe Ôtié, Li Kunwu has exposed the trials and tribulations of the Chinese everyman. From his wholehearted embrace of the new order in childhood, through military service, agricultural
labour and membership of the Communist Party, to the challenges of the present day, the reader is given full access to Li Kunwu's memories. We witness moments of doubt, betrayal, joy, suffering, comedy, and tenderness
- in short, the human experience laid bare.
This personal approach allows Li Kunwu and Ôtié to explore pivotal moments from the inside, showing the effect and influence of major events on Li Kunwu, his family, his friends, and his nation. An intimate portrait of
China as depicted by a Communist Party artist, A Chinese Life is by turns informative and inspirational, giving Western readers an invaluable insight into China's evolution.
Over thirty of Li Kunwu's books have been published in China, and his work has appeared in such distinguished Chinese graphic journals as Lianhua Huabao and Humo Dashi. Initially specializing
in propaganda comics, be next turned to the portrayal of the many ethnic minorities of his native province, Yunnan. Li Kunwu, a member of the Chinese Communist Party, is an administrator both of the Artists' Association
of Yunnan and the Chinese Institute for the Study of News Illustration.
Philippe Ôtié has lived in the Far East for more than a dozen years. This is his first graphic novel.