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September 25, 2009

Library of Congress Symposium Celebrates Chinese Cartoonist and Artist Ding Cong, Oct. 20

A Library of Congress symposium, "Public Art and Illustrations: The Cartoons and Art of Ding Cong," will celebrate the life and work of China’s famous cartoonist and artist, Ding Cong, who provided daring social commentary on Chinese society during China’s turbulent 20th century.

The symposium, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Oct. 20, in Room 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is sponsored by the Library’s John W. Kluge Center, and reservations or tickets are not needed.

Ding Cong (1916-2009), who worked under the pen name Xiao Ding, was born in Shanghai into a family of artists. He was a frequent admirer of the magazines The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, which were available in treaty-port Shanghai. From these and other Western influences, Ding Cong developed his art.

Ding Cong used his cartoons and illustrations to reveal the true state of Chinese society, which faced corruption and turmoil during most of the 20th century. His popularity stemmed from an intellectual and artistic integrity that made the inept of both the right and left fair game for his art. But the cartoonist paid dearly for his efforts, as he was exiled twice to the countryside and borderlands, effectively losing more than 20 years of his artistic life.

The symposium features lectures by preeminent scholars of Chinese cartoons as well as family and friends of the artist.

9:00-9:05 Welcome by Carolyn Brown, director of the John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress

9:05-9:25 "Ding Cong: The Artist and Art Form" by Marcia Ristaino, visiting scholar, John W. Kluge Center

9:25-9:45 "Ding Cong’s Art During the Years of Hardship" by Shelley Drake Hawks, lecturer, Boston University

9:45-10:10 "Ding Cong: His Artistic Circle and Contributions" by John A. Lent, publisher and editor-in-chief, International Journal of Comic Art

10:10-10:30 Break

10:30-10:55 "One Who Saw China As It Really Was: Ding Cong in the Forties" by Michael Sullivan, fellow emeritus of St. Catherine’s College, Oxford

10:55-11:20 "The Relationship Between Chinese Visual Art and Society" (tentative) by Carma Hinton, documentary filmmaker and Robinson Professor of Visual Culture and Chinese Studies, George Mason University

11:20-11:40 "Herblock’s Caricature of Mao Zedong: A Window onto Resources for Cartoon-Related Research in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division" by Martha Kennedy, curator, Library of Congress

11:40-12:00 Questions and Discussion

At 1:45 p.m., an exhibition of 30 reproductions of Ding Cong’s work may be viewed at the Mason Atrium Art Gallery, School of Visual and Performing Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax, Va., along with additional commentary from speakers, his widow and friends. For more information, visit

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another to distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For further information on the Kluge Center, visit

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PR 09-188
ISSN 0731-3527

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