BENGALURU : Illustrations might have gone digital now but RK Laxman’s monochrome and simple, yet hard hitting, cartoons are still hailed as masterpieces. As a tribute to the satirist and his work, the Indian Institute of Cartoonists is displaying Laxman’s work on their social media platform for his 100th birth anniversary (which falls on Oct. 24). The exhibition, which started on Oct. 12, will continue till Oct. 27.
The show will display selected cartoons from Koravanji, Malgudi Days, Swamy and his Friends, Man Eater of Malgudi, Wagle Di Dunia, etc. “We wanted to celebrate his 100th birth anniversary by bringing his masterpieces to the world. A physical show was not possible due to the pandemic so a digital avatar will have a better reach,” says Venkatesh Narendra, managing trustee of the institute. Like many, he too considers Laxman to be his inspiration and explains that it was Laxman, who, through his work, gave a face to India’s ‘then faceless common man’. “His cartoons, be it in pocket cartoon books, satires or newspaper pieces, have always managed to touch people,” adds Narendra, who is curating the show.
Narendra, in fact, met his idol in February 2002, when Laxman visited the gallery on MG Road. “Though he was wheelchair-bound, his presence was enough to stir the creative minds around,” recalls an excited Narendra, who, overwhelmed by the response the current show is receiving, extended the closing date from Oct. 24 to 27.
The exhibition will display four works by Laxman every day. “We have also procured some more collections of RK Laxman’s work. For example, sketches of temples in Odisha and few sketches from the book, The Grandmother’s Tale, and Selected Stories written by RK Narayan, for which Laxman had done the illustrations, will also be displayed,” says Narendra. The show is live on the Twitter and Facebook page of Indian Institute of Cartoonists and will be live on Venkatesh Narendra’s Instagram page as well.
Remembering RK Laxman
RK Laxman started publishing his works in newspapers and magazines while he was a student of Maharaja College in Mysore.
British cartoonist Sir David Low’s work had an early influence on Laxman’s works
In 1954, Laxman also created the mascot called Gattu for Asian Paints
He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1973 and Padma Vibhushan in 2005