The Lawak Kampus Exhibition: Celebrating 15 years of the beloved comic

There is a rather indescribable and somewhat surreal feeling that comes with the experience of immersing yourself into the worlds of fictional characters. After all, few things get more exciting than watching our favourite characters travel beyond the confines of the fantasy holding them in. For longtime fans of the Lawak Kampus comics, its creator Keith is giving them the ability to do just that.

Keith’s grand gesture comes in the form of an exclusive Lawak Kampus exhibition which will be taking place at the National Art Gallery from now until the 25th of July. The unique and one of a kind event promises devoted fans of the comic a captivating experience that will pull onto nostalgia strings and appeal to the inner child in them who first fell in love with the books. The event is like no other, featuring unique artwork, novelty merchandise and much more to entertain both avid and casual comic readers. Also held in conjuction with the 15th anniversary of the Lawak Kampus comics, it is a remarkable effort by Keith to show his thanks and gratitude for longtime fans.

Keith, illustrator of Lawak Kampus, showing the Director of Balai Seni Visual Negara, Prof. Dato Dr. Mohamed Najib bin Ahmad Dawa, a painting (Credit: Emma Abdullah)

Having made its debut in 2003, Lawak Kampus is a popular comic series particularly favorable among young readers. Keith, the backbone of the phenomenon, is considered to be highly acclaimed in the comic industry having received numerous awards such as the Gold Award for Best Comic Storyboard at the 11th Oriental Animations & Comic Competition in 2014 and Outstanding Comic Artist at the China-ASEAN Top Business Award in 2017.

Readers of Lawak Kampus appreciate the comic for the relatable yet absurd lives of its characters and their amusing shenanigans. To date, there are 32 volumes of Lawak Kampus out, with each amassing about 150,000 readers. The series was originally published in Malay but has also been translated to both English and Mandarin. And with its copyright being sold to countries like China, Indonesia and Thailand, the Lawak Kampus  craze shows no signs of slowing down.

This year’s exhibition is themed Non-Stop Laughs and will unveil eight individual masterpieces, featuring Lawak Kampus characters immersed into works inspired by renowned artists across the world. It evokes the exact kind of humour you can only expect from character favourites like Vanness, Froggy, Aditas and Bepop.

Lawak Kampus parodies of popular artwork (Credit: Emma Abdullah)

Besides the eight main pieces, visitors can also expect to view up to a hundred original sketches which will be adorned along the exhibition walls. The illustrations are meant to give readers an idea of what Lawak Kampus looks like in its raw and untouched state before being published. If learning more about this process intrigues you, perhaps you’d enjoy examining Keith’s work corner, which is also up for display as part of the exhibition. And if you find yourself wanting to bring a little bit of the magic home with you, you’d be glad to know that most of the art displayed can be bought for prices starting at about RM200.

Other attractions present include a three-dimensional Lawak Kampus diorama, a special video and a Gerai Lawak Kampus, selling collector-worthy merchandise and and limited-edition comics. Among the unique merchandise include Vanness, Froggy, Aditas and Bepop standees that the most loyal of readers might find themselves itching to buy. You can even get special artbooks made exclusively for the exhibition at RM20.

So if you’re an avid Lawak Kampus reader, remember the comics from your childhood, or simply a lover of all things animation, make your way down to the exhibition as soon as you can.

The exhibition will be taking place at the National Art Gallery everyday from 10am to 6pm until the 25th of July 2018. Admission is free for all.

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