BENGALURU: When it comes to speaking volumes through one’s work, Luc Descheemaeker has been at the forefront with cartoons that have given critics, art lovers and political figures a lot to think about.
Born in Kuurne, Belgium, the cartoonist and humour photographer makes his maiden visit to Bengaluru at the Indian Institute of Cartoonists, Midford Gardens, which will display 70 handpicked works of Descheemaeker till October 24.
He has been vocal with his political cartoons, which have spoken about the political climate from time to time.
Terming the right-wing extremism of society as a serious threat to freedom of expression and the complete polarisation of society as a threat to democracy, he added, “Perhaps this is also the reason why, over the past five years, I have been incorporating more political themes into my cartoons.
I have focused very strongly on the figure of Donald Trump. His unpredictable behaviour is an inexhaustible source of inspiration.
Every crazy tweet of the president is the start of a sharp cartoon or a crazy caricature.”
Speaking to CE, Descheemaeker, who goes under the pen name of ‘O-SEKOER’, said he developed an interest in sketching at the age of 10, when he would draw animated characters like The Flinstones. “Only at the age of 23 did I start making cartoons with a serious edge.
At that moment, I also started staging and making humorous photos and very quickly, I won some prizes at the Cartoon festival of Knokke-Heist in Belgium.
This was the stimulus that made me fight hard and send my works to other international festivals as well. Since the evolution of the digital world, it became easier to find more festivals,” said the 64-year-old cartoonist.
Apart from being a veteran in the field of cartooning, Descheemaeker has also had a career in teaching at The Institute of Saint Joseph in Torhout, where he taught art and cultural sciences along with plastic education for 40 years.
He adds, “I had 8,000 students during my tenure as an art teacher. Along with a few students, I also directed 10 theatres with puppets. Recently, around 100 students travelled with me to Bangladesh as volunteers in my ‘Banglabari’ project, which builds houses for the poor. Since 1999, I have visited Bangladesh 24 times to travel, cycle and build cheap houses.”
Descheemaeker also visited India in 2011 where he spent over a month for a renovation project in a leprosy colony and hospital in the areas of Motihari and Raxaul in Bihar.
Descheemaeker aims to visit more international cartoon festivals, with an exhibition coming up in Romania early next year, and also plans to interact and impart his knowledge of cartoons with kids.
When asked about his thoughts on the global scenario, Descheemaeker said, “The cartoonist looks at the world and uses his drawing to turn reality upside down.
Topicality, war and peace, poverty, people and the environment, refugee crisis are some of my themes. I look for inspiration in the absurd world of the morning news.
With a sharp pen and covered mockery, I redraw the world of man and media.”
The exhibition of award-winning cartoons by Luc Descheemaeker will be held at Indian Institute of Cartoonists, Midford Gardens till October 24, 10 am - 6 am.