Vol. 5 Num 331 Wed. May 04, 2005  

Culling of colourful cartoons

The spontaneous putting together of cartoons by artists of Unmad, and other well-known cartoonists, is well worth visiting and examining. The exhibit is at the Alliance Francaise and brings together experts such as Rafiqun Nabi and Shishir Bhattacharya, and remarkable newcomers in this genre of arts. The focus is more on the lesser-known artists, as the more famous ones didn't wish to be in the limelight. This celebrates the silver jubilee of Unmad but has included cartoonists from other magazines and successful newspapers too.

The exhibit which began recently has been put on walls, in a straight line, so that if one examines them, even at one go, they are easy to comprehend and are undoubtedly witty. The cartoons have been put on the floor too, in a neat geometrical design so that the exhibit appears like some nouveau installation. They are not only satires on the socio-political situation but also on the economy -- without fear or favour. A few critics felt that there could have been more eye-rest, but who can expect a curator in a local project of upcoming entrepreneurs? Mostly in black and white, touched with pastel and muted shades, the cartoons combine pen-and-ink sketches with poster and water-colour washes.

Cartoons began with black and white sketches during the late 19th century in France and England. In Bangladesh the Liberation War brought in experts like Rafiqun Nabi, who lampooned the life around him and worldwide. The vision of the young cartoonists was also mind-boggling. The message is instantaneous; no stone is left unturned in the search for subjects to delineate. The cartoons make one smile, if not hold one's sides with laughter. Each time one pauses to drink deep of the treasure trove of fun and banter. The wit and humour range from the caustic to the mild. One laughed and one felt that the world laughed with one. As a mark of appreciation of the promising cartoonists' unmitigated effort and vibrant imagination, a prize-giving ceremony was included at the opening on May 2.

The exhibit includes cartoons by Asiful Huda (Amar Desh/ Jai Jai Din), Ahsan Habib editor (Unmad), Tariqul Islam (Unmad), Nazrul (freelancer/ Bela), Shahriyar (freelancer), Rezaun Nabi (Proshika), Ahmed Kabir (Amar Desh), Munir Hassan, Tariq Saifulllah (Aajker Kagoj), Rocky (Naya Digonto/Unmad), Zahid Hassan (Inquilab), Obaidur Rahman (Observer), Manik and Ratan (Alpin).

Mehdi Huq (Unmad), said, "The editorial cartoons are a direct political attack whereas in Unmad one finds an evaluation of the prevailing socio-economic scenario. They are there to tickle your sides and no more. During the post-Liberation time the preoccupation was overtly political."

Ahsan Habib (Unmad), added that today there is more of light humour. Suppose there is a TV serial or there is the inevitable price hike, he said, there are then the slanted attacks on that -- rather than an important character. Earlier on, there were no such thing as recognised cartoonists: painters like Rafiqun Nabi and Shishir Bhattacharya filled the need.

A 3D cartoon at the exhibition