BANGALORE: It has hosted shows of the likes of R K Laxman, Mario de Miranda, Abu Abraham, Shankar Pillai, Ranga, Maya Kamath, B V Ramamurthy, Unny, Keshav, Surendra and Pran over the past seven years. Now the Indian Cartoon Gallery has reached another milestone – it's hundredth show.
The main aim of India's first gallery opened exclusively to showcase cartoons is to provide a space for established as well as upcoming talents to exhibit their works, says V G Narendra, managing trustee of Indian Institute of Cartoonists, which runs it. "We've even had shows of a Japanese, a British and two American artists. We had an exhibition of David Low's cartoons, which was inaugurated by the Chennai British Council chairman. Now, two or three more people from London have approached us for shows," he adds.
The Institute has also been conducting two-day workshops for the different types of cartoons — pocket cartoons, caricature, political cartoons, satirical cartoons and more. "Some people who came to see the exhibition wanted to learn the art. People have come from across the country just for those two days, so we're thinking of coming up with a short course for six months or a year," Narendra says. This apart, the Institute wants to set up a House of Cartoonists with multiple galleries, an auditorium, a cinema hall where cartoon films can be screened, and a library with an archive. In its design stage at the moment, the set-up is likely to take a few years. "Once that's done, we'll approach the government for land. I know that it won't be in the heart of the city, but it's something we want to achieve." Narendra hopes to start a chain of galleries across the country as well, starting with Hubli and Gulbarga and moving on to Hyderabad, Pune and Delhi.
B G Gujjarappa, a Bangalore-based cartoonist and trustee of the institute feels that the gallery has come up at a time when the field is opening up to different styles. "Thanks to the Internet, we cartoonists can observe the works of artists in other parts of the world," he says. For senior cartoonist of Kannada Prabha S V Padmanabha, who's also the president of Karnataka Cartoonists' Association, this forum helps unite International cartoonists with local talents and it helped him come in contact with his idols. "I met R K Laxman and Mario Miranda here, and so many others — this is a space where regardless of which publication you're attached to, you meet your peers," he adds.
The exhibition, featuring 112 works of 101 cartoonists, will continue at Indian Cartoon Gallery till August 25. For details, contact 4175-8540.