Glimpse into powerful strokes
Gireesh describes himself as a Bangalore-based cartoonist, artist, creative designer and ex-sulker whose lines, strokes and colours are his tools, play things and weapons.
Cartoons should be one of the most important weapons in a newspaper’s armoury of political analysis.There was a time when in-house cartoonists were highly respected members of the editorial staff of every newspaper worth its salt. In fact, a cartoonist was a journalist who could draw his thoughts which were mostly original, incisive and succinct commentaries of the social and political scenario of the time. Sadly, today the role of a cartoonist has been usurped by paid artists who draw to order and merely to illustrate an article,” that was senior journalist John Thomas addressing the gathering at Strokes and Slashes, an exhibition of political cartoons by Gireesh Vengara.
Gireesh describes himself as a Bangalore-based cartoonist, artist, creative designer and ex-sulker whose lines, strokes and colours are his tools, play things and weapons. He uses his art to reflect and comment on the political scenario in the country.
Unlike a news article or column, a cartoon has the capacity to almost instantaneously dissect or highlight a political issue and can often have more impact and insight than wordy text-based analysis by the greatest political analysts in the country. Gireesh’s first cartoon appeared in Malayala Manorama and since then in several other publications. This exhibition was a study of well-known political figures and situations caricatured and represented with irony and satire.
From Advani to Sonia Gandhi and several politicians and their henchmen in between, there is plenty of substance to keep the cartoon buff entertained. The exhibition was inaugurated by Balan Nambiar, the Bangalore-based artist.
“The political cartoon can be a devastating weapon, making readers laugh out loud in agreement or writhe with frustration and anger. To create a cartoon that strikes a chord with the public requires inspiration, lateral thinking, and the ability to see humour where others see only ‘news’,” he says.
“To do it consistently everyday, takes a certain type of mind and intelligence. Therefore, if cartooning, an intelligent and satirical art form, is not given its due place in society and cartoonists were relegated to the position of artisans, the craft as we know it may soon die out and be lost forever. Great cartoonists like Murthy and Maya Kamath may never emerge from future generations of talented journalists who should be nurtured and groomed right from journalist school,” John Thomas added.