The patients at Ernakulam Government General Hospital on Wednesday watched in awe as celebrated caricaturist Sajjive Balakrishnan made their one-minute sketches with unparalleled artistry and finesse. Sajjive Balakrishnan, a lawyer by education and an income tax official by profession, was at the hospital as part of the ‘Arts and Medicine’ project being conducted by the Kochi Biennale Foundation. He drew 270 caricatures on the occasion.
The caricaturist, who calls himself a ‘fatoonist’ poking fun at his own weight, gained entry to the Limca Book of Records by drawing the highest number of full-body caricatures in 12 hours at a show organiszed under the aegis of Kerala Cartoon Academy in 2010.
On the Arts and Medicine project, he said: “It is a wonderful initiative and I am happy to be a part of it”.
He added that he was a caricature evangelist and does not stick on to a particular style. “I am not an artist who sits inside his room and work on his imagination. I would rather take a walk and sketch people with stunning features then and there,” he said.
He interacted with the patients and staff at the hospital all through the day, drawing their caricatures and presenting it to them. Sajjive Balakrishnan started drawing cartoons and caricatures during his school days and got his first work published in 1976 when he was in the sixth standard.
“I am overwhelmed by the response we are getting for this programme,” said Dr Iva Fattorini, Chair of Global Arts and Medicine Institute, Cleveland Clinic, who is the guiding light behind the KBF’s Arts and Medicine project. “It would be admirable if we can expand this project to more hospitals in the state as this idea has the potential to transform patients’ hospital experience.
“Today’s programme is part of KBF’s plan to include more art forms in the Arts and Medicine project. In coming days, there will be more such novel initiatives,” said Bonny Thomas, KBF research co-ordinator.
The Mehboob Memorial Orchestra simultaneously held a concert of old Malayalam melodies, giving a musical touch to Sajjive’s drawings.