KOCHI: Imagine this. Republic Day wishes from Aymanam Sidharthan of the movie Oru Indian Pranayakatha, or advocate Mukundan Unni (played by Salim Kumar in the movie Meeshamadhavan) wishing lawyers on National Law Day, or Padakkam Bhasheer (played by Jagathy in Mohanlal-strarrer Chotta Mumbai) wishing everyone a happy Diwali! These are some of the hilarious illustrations displayed on the Instagram page, Artisan Mill, managed by illustrator Abraham P Joseph. Abraham who is an architect by profession in Thiruvananthapuram, also makes it a point to add information to the fun.
Abraham missed the office greatly when work from home started in 2020. To eliminate the work pressure, he revisited his lost hobby that took a backseat while he pursued civil engineering - making art. His first caricatures were that of people in his office. Though it started as a fun affair, the caricature series became memorabilia for him and his colleagues when Abraham moved companies.
But he continued making digital illustrations and scribbling art and putting it out on social media. He also takes up commissioned work for wedding cards, posters and gifts. But caricatures are his forte. The reason, they strike well with spectators while also conveying a message. He uses art to discuss social issues, including Covid control measures. “Every Malayali is familiar with the characters portrayed by Salim Kumar, Jagathy Sreekumar, Maniyanpilla Raju, Sreenivasan and even the characters from Karikku web series. Like Harishree Ashokan dressing up as Lord Krishna with a beard in the movie Meeshamadhavan. These scenes are evergreen, and every Malayali relates to them,” he says.
Abraham also makes an effort to mark important days and observations. “National Girl Child Day is observed on 24 January. I featured Manju Warrier on the day’s artwork,” he says.
His commissioned works also come with a lot of emotional intimacy. “Last year, I made a caricature for a woman - that of her husband with their newborn baby girl. The husband was stuck abroad due to Covid-related travel restrictions. The artwork was the mother’s way of making them meet,” says Abraham.