Cartoon of city's health iconic duo delivers hope amid resurgence of virus
A cartoon featuring two iconic COVID-19 experts in Shanghai has gone viral, with one of them, Wu Jinglei, reportedly appreciative after seeing the image.
Wu, director of the Shanghai Health Commission, has been the leading light since the outbreak of the pandemic.
The artist, Zhu Haibo, told Shanghai Daily that a health commission officer reached out to him via Weibo to convey Wu's appreciation of the cartoon.
"I think the painting is uplifting for everyone, including Wu, letting him know that Shanghai citizens are aware that their team's efforts are meaningful," Zhu said.
Zhu, who is in his 40s, is known on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo as @54zhuzhu and created the picture while locked down in his Pudong home.
Zhu's 2020 picture of Zhang Wenhong, head of the city's COVID-19 treatment team, was a big hit. Zhang is a household name in China for his straightforward yet humorous remarks on COVID-19 prevention and control.
After completing his first picture of Wu a few days ago, Zhang was often asked when he would create a cartoon with Wu and Zhang together.
The March 16 press conference that both experts attended turned out to be a good opportunity. After watching the entire live broadcast, Zhu said he was deeply moved by the duo's role in boosting Shanghai residents' sense of security.
"They are extremely professional and can explain things in a way everyone can understand," he said.
It only took Zhu about two hours to draw the picture on his iPad, and the end result exceeded his expectations.
Zhu said he noticed some residents were in a low mood during the lockdown, and decided to do a cartoon with a positive tone. That is probably why it has caught on, he said. "I'm quite touched when I see that many people find the picture healing and heartening," he said.
The slit in Wu's suit represents the loophole in Shanghai's anti-pandemic effort, Zhu said, citing the quarantine hotel where a surge of infections in Shanghai has been traced.
Zhu said he wanted to show Shanghai's open-minded attitude to the issue by giving a visual representation of the setback.
He said his normal artistic style is generally highly suggestive. If people like it, he'll keep painting and try to come up with new ways to create a heart-warming picture.