Sketches of popular Indian classical musicians like Pandit Ravi Shankar and K J Yesudas are on display at Music Sketches, an exhibition at the Indian Cartoon Gallery. The collection shows some of the drawings made by Keshav, a cartoonist based in Chennai, of the musicians at their concert. Today is the last chance for collectors to buy any of the 64 sketches.
“I approached Keshav and asked him to display some of his sketches since there are lovers of music and lovers of caricatures here in Bangalore. The response has been excellent so far,” said Narendra V G, managing trustee of the Indian Institute of Cartoonists which is hosting the exhibition. Apart from the lead singers, sketches of a few popular mridangists and violinists have been presented by Keshav.
The sketches are all on the spot drawings of the singers whilst performing. Since live drawings are considered to be a good exercise for a cartoonist, Keshav began attending Madras music festivals to capture the intricate expressions of the singers on stage. “In a caricature, you have to distort faces. The problem is that when they sing, they go through so many moods and emotions that getting the right expression for the drawing becomes a challenge,” said Keshav who began this unusual tryst with music in 1983. Caricatures ideally involve an exaggeration of facial structure and features, and since Keshav chose to retain their original features as it is, he prefers to call them line drawings over caricatures.
“If it is a continuous drawing, it will get over in three to four minutes. I wait until they come back to the same posture, so it is a tedious process,” said Keshav of his sketches. While he doesn’t present the sketch to his subjects after their concert, due to the crowd surrounding them, he added that other musicians who are familiar with his work sit next to him as he sketches their fellow artistes.