‘Sketchy’ details

Obama’s accentuated forehead or Trump’s highlighted neatly done hair... This New York-based cartoonist shares his interest in drawing  POTUS portraits 

Published: 02nd February 2022 06:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd February 2022 06:55 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The US elections have always had the whole world’s attention. And it’s a field day for political cartoonists in particular. Shreyas Navare, a New York-based cartoonist can vouch for it. If you want to explore more of his work, it is being exhibited at the Indian Institute of Cartoonists till Feb 12.

The exhibition, Bill to Biden, is based on the caricatures drawn exclusively on American politicians from 1998 to 2022, covering five US presidents. Navare attended the national conventions of Democrats and Republicans, both in 2012 and in 2016, from which he says there were quite a few incidents that stood out for him personally. “When I covered Obama’s second election on my first US visit in 2012, the result was not too unexpected and so the atmosphere was not electric. 2016 was a different story, of course! Trump and Hillary’s candidacies, coupled with the growth of social media, converted that election into a political thriller, with extreme emotions thrown into the mix by different sections of society,” recalls Navare.

Each of the five US presidents that he has done caricatures of – over the last twenty-four years – have been a cartoonist’s delight. “The one that stood out among all of them, however, was of course President Trump! He lent himself completely to us cartoonists, not just from head to toe, but from head to toe to the tip of his long tie,” adds Navare.

Navare believes the art of cartooning evolved mostly due to the march of technology. “Social media has saved the day for cartoonists who have a global reach. The traditional method of drawing cartoons with a brush was replaced with coloured cartoons drawn digitally,” says the cartoonist, who took to the art of cartooning in primary school, with him sketching The Jungle Book characters on the walls of his home.

According to him, cartoonists have also stood to benefit from these massive societal changes. “Memes and tweets have democratised the art of political satire. Thanks to people’s active role in creating or spreading these, the world has undergone a shift towards a more informal culture and a higher irreverence towards power,” says Navare.

While it is a popular belief that political cartoons are anti-government, Navare believes that cartoonists should be pro-people. “This may involve poking fun at a wayward action of a government or ridiculing the state of a clueless opposition. This may also involve showing the irony in situations created by our other powerful institutions, from our courts to the press,” says Navare, adding that keeping malice out of the equation helps cartoonists focus on issues that really matter to the people.

(The exhibition Bill to Biden by cartoonist Shreyas Navare will be showcased at Indian Institute of Cartoonists till Feb 12)


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