Huang Yao

1917-1987

Introduction

The work of modern Asian ink artist Huang Yao is one of man’s extraordinary exploration of ink, and is a testament to his love of culture and his motherland. His trademark lively brush strokes are evident throughout his diverse collection of works: from cartoons to traditional Chinese genres; weaving through the upside-down calligraphy “chuyunshu,” to his modern calligraphy of ancient Chinese characters “wenzihua,” and finally encompassing abstract works that rival those of his western counterparts.

 

During his burgeoning career as a journalist, Huang Yao’s early schooling in Chinese calligraphy (taught by his literati father), painting, history, literature, philology and philosophy was put to the test when he decided to create a cartoon character with ink and brush. In the creation of his famous cartoon “Niubizi,” he used contemporary art techniques familiar today to express social realities of his time. To enhance his cartoon, Huang Yao developed a suitable childlike script to accompany Niubizi, which marks the start of using “chuyunshu” in his career.During the war in mainland China, Huang endured a journey through many cities. His travels led him to Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, and finally Malaysia. His scholarly side was drawn out in these foreign surroundings, and he was able to wield his brush to expand the boundaries of ink.

 

After Huang passed away in 1987, his family decided to setup the Huang Yao Foundation and later a studio (in 2001) for researching, collating and documenting the collection of artworks that he left behind. From his paintings, cartoons, sketches and written works, we can realize the depth of his incredible life's work, personal values, and devotion to China. 



BIOGRAPHY

1917       Born in Shanghai

1933       Worked for Shanghai Post, Shanghai, China

1934       Started the creation of Niubizi cartoons

               Journalist at the Shanghai Post, Shanghai, China

1935       Art editor of Shanghai Post, Shanghai, China

1937       Lived in Ningbo, Nanjing, Hankou, China

1938       Moved to Chongqing, China

1942       Lived in Guiyang, Guilin, Liuzhou, China

               Guiyang City Government acquired the manuscript of Guiyang Cartoon

               Married Zheng Baolin in December

1944       Lived in Guiyang, Kunming, his son Huang Yan was born in Guiyang

1945       Lived in Chongqing, Luzhou, China

1945-46 Lived in Kunming, China; Haiphong, Vietnam

1947       Lived in Kunming, Guangzhou, Hong Kong

1951       Started scholar period

               Lived in Bangkok, Thailand

1956       Moved to Singapore; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

1959       Senior teacher, Han Jiang High School, Penang, Malaysia

1960s     Travelled Malaysia extensively for his scholarly book The History of Chinese in Malaysia and Singapore

               Researched ancient Chinese characters

1962       Headmaster, Xin Min High School, Alor Setar, Malaysia

1967       Published The History of Chinese in Malaysia and Singapore

1973       Started to be a painter

               Retired and lived in Penang, Malaysia

1978       Moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and lived with his son’s family

1973-87 Creation of “Wenzhihua” (paintings of Chinese characters), “Ziyouhua” (Contemporary abstract paintings), “Chuyunshu” (Calligraphy with or without picture as background), traditional and innovative landscape paintings, figure paintings including scrolls of 100 children at play, Goddess of Mercy, God of Longevity, folk culture figures, important figures in Tao, Zen and Buddhism

1987      Passed away in Malaysia

 

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2013     

  • Huang Yao: Malaya’s Remarkable Guest, National Visual Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2012     

  • Huang Yao, Jiashan Government Exhibition Hall, Jiashan, China

2011     

  • Rediscovered Talent: Huang Yao, Cartoonist, Scholar, Painter, Shanghai Art Museum, China Art Museum, Shanghai, China

2008     

  • Exhibition in Commemoration of Huang Yao, Soka Gakkai, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

2001     

  • Huang Yao Retrospective, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore

2000     

  • Huang Yao’s Calligraphy and Paintings, Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

1987     

  • Huang Yao Retrospective, Malaysian Institute of Art, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Huang Yao’s Calligraphy and Painting, Art House Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

1986     

  • Huang Yao: Painting on Pottery, Association of Chung Hwa High School (Seremban) Alumni, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

1985     

  • Huang Yao’s Calligraphy and Paintings, Malaysian Writers Association for Scholarship Funds, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

1982     

  • Huang Yao’s Art, Bethlehem Lions Club, USA

1981     

  • Huang Yao’s Art, Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Folklore: Calligraphy and Art, Art House Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

1980     

  • Huang Yao: Exhibition of Eastern Paintings, East & West Art, Melbourne, Australia

1978     

  • Huang Yao Painting Exhibition, Ipoh, Malaysia

1975     

  • Calligraphy and Art, Sanjiang Association, Singapore 

1957     

  • Niubizi Education Cartoons, Merdeka Trade Fair, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia 

1956     

  • Niubizi Education Cartoon Exhibition, Chin Wu Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaya
  • Huang Yao: Cartoons, Calligraphy, Paintings, Organised by the China Society, British Council, Singapore. All proceeds from sale were donated to the Singapore Overseas Chinese Creche

1950     

  • Niubizi in Hong Kong and Words of a Child, Hong Kong

1947     

  • The Contradiction Collection and the Vietnamese Scenes, Guangzhou Restaurant, Guangzhou, China
  • The Contradiction Collection and the Vietnamese Scenes, Zhongshan Library, Guangzhou, China
  • The Contradiction Collection and the Vietnamese Scenes, Junri Building, Xingwen Bank, Kunming, China

1944     

  • Kunming in Cartoons, Guilin in Cartoons and Others, Guiyang, China 
  • Chinese People in Wartime, YMCA, Kunming, China. Proceeds to build Wu Hua Middle School Dormitory
  • Kunming in Cartoons and Guilin in Cartoons, Provincial Party Headquarters, Kunming, China. Sponsored by Returned Veterans of Overseas Wars
  • Huang Yao Exhibition, Guilin Archives, Guilin, China

1943     

  • Plum Blossoms by Huang Yao with 20 poems inscribed by Liu Yazi, Guilin, China 
  • Chongqing in Cartoons, Guiyang in Cartoons, Guilin in Cartoons, The Secondary Capital in Cartoons, City Party Headquarters, Guilin, China. Proceeds for the maintenance of orphanages

1942     

  • Guiyang in Cartoons, Scenes of Guizhou, Guiyang, China. Proceeds donated for the city’s art and culture fund 
  • Chinese People in Wartime, Guiyang, China. Proceeds donated to the homeless
  • 100 Longevity Deities, Guiyang, China

1939     

  • Niubizi Digging War Trenches, a play by An Er, China

1938     

  • Niubizi Resisting the Enemy Cartoon Exhibition, Chongqing, China

 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2018     

2017     

  • Radio Malaya: Abridged Conversations about Art, National University of Singapore, Singapore

2016     

  • Permanent Exhibit at Asia Comic Cultural Museum, Penang, Malaysia
  • Speech Bubble Comics Exhibition, National Library of Singapore, Singapore
  • Manhua+Manga, University of Maryland Gallery, Maryland, USA

2013     

  • The Art of Influence: Asian Propaganda, British Museum, London, UK
  • Exploring the Cosmos, Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore
  • Chinese Comic Exhibition, Chinese Comic Gallery, Shanghai, China

2012     

  • An Exhibition of Dragons, National Museum of Natural Science, Taichung, Taiwan
  • Contemporary Chinese Art from the Khoan and Michael Sullivan Collection, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK

2010     

  • Permanent Exhibition, Shanghai Animation and Comics Museum, Shanghai, China 

2002     

  • An Exhibition in Memory of Malaysia’s Late Calligraphers and Artists, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

2001     

  • Nokia Art Singapore 2002, Calligraphy House, Singapore
  • The Manuscript and Pictorial Exhibition on Chinese Authors in Early Singapore, Singapore National Library, Singapore

1987     

  • Spring Exhibition, Rico Décor of art, Le Beaux Art Gallery, Creative Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

1986     

  • International Calligraphy Exhibition, Seoul, Korea
  • Exhibition of Klang Valley Ink Painting Association, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia              
  • Live Calligraphy performances for the Lim Lian Yu Fund, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

1985     

  • Exhibition of Calligraphy and Paintings by Friends of the Pei Foong School, Chin Woo Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

1983     

  • International Calligraphy and Painting Exhibition, Tokyo, Japan 
  • International Calligraphy and Painting Exhibition, National Museum, Singapore
  • International Calligraphy and Painting Exhibition, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

1982     

  • Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy Exhibition, Huang Tai Chi Association, Sabah, Malaysia

1981     

  • Exhibition of Famous Contemporary Ink Artists, The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, Singapore
  • Calligraphy and Paintings by Malaysian Chinese Artists, Nanyang Siang Pao, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

1980     

  • Joint Exhibition, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong 
  • Three Friends, Calligraphy and Painting Exhibition, National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan

1957     

  • Ten Friends Calligraphy and Painting Exhibition, Hong Kong 

1943     

  • Calligraphy Exhibition and Sales in aid of the Yeongdong Famine, Guangxi, China 
  • The Yaoshan Travel Sketches Exhibition, Guilin, China

1939-37

  • Travelling Exhibition of Niubizi, by Shanghai Children’s National Salvation Association, Russia; Chongqing, Hankou, Shanghai, China 

1936     

  • The First National (China) Cartoon Exhibition, Shanghai, China

  

SELECTED PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

British Museum, London, UK

The Khoan andMichael Sullivan Collection, Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford, UK

National Gallery Singapore, Singapore

National University of Singapore Museum, Singapore

Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation, Singapore

National Visual Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Malayan Banking Berhad, Malaysia

Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China

Guiyang City Government, China

National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan