Bangladesh Cartoon Fest, 2012 created a buzz among students.
Innovation at Its Best
Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
"You see, cartoon has a universal language. An ingenious cartoon can clearly convey a particular message to the people, which might take hundreds of words to be expressed through a written script. One might face difficulty to understand an abstract painting, but anybody with a mind can easily recognise the underlying meaning of a cartoon,” says noted cartoonist, Ahsan Habib as he was observing the exhibits at the Bangladesh Cartoon Fest, 2012. With an aim to know the current trends amongst the young cartoonists in Bangladesh and to create a potential market for Bangladeshi cartoons, Bangladesh Cartoonist Association (BANCARAS) organised Bangladesh Cartoon Fest, 2012, at the city's Drik Gallery, from November 15-19, 2012. The event was sponsored by Elite Paint and Chemical Industries Limited and managed by SHORGOL, an event management company. Veteran cartoonist, Nazrul Islam, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the inaugural ceremony of the event for his outstanding contribution in the field.
Known as an exclusive platform to demonstrate creativity, the five-day-long programme showcased some of the best works of young cartoonists and animators from across the country. The exhibition was categorised under two themes- 'Colours of life' and 'Open theme'. The cartoonists used water colour, oil colour, acrylic and digital media to create their artwork. Mehedi Huq, President, BANCARAS, says, “It's very inspiring to see that the young cartoonists are producing wonderful cartoons which are unique in terms of aesthetics and also perspective, which is very important. The use of colours in most of the cartoons is so vigorous that nobody in the audience could put on a sad face.”
Young audience closely observing the exhibits.
One of the main attractions at the exhibition was the animation corner, where animation films were showcased, made by the three top animation houses of the country, namely, Grafa, Dreamer Donkey and Ogniroth. Raqib Hasan Apu and Tawfiqur Ahmed Anwar, two young animators from Dreamer Donkey, were excited about the prospect of screening 'Adventure of Jola', an animation movie made by them, during the festival. “'Adventures of Jola' was originally developed as an application for smart phones, where people could watch videos and also play games. However, later on, we made it into a full fledged movie. The turnout of the audience to watch our movie has been huge! We are thinking about making sequels to it.”
To make the festival interactive, young cartoonists took over the space to make live caricatures of the audience around. Shaker Islam, a student of Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB), says, “Frankly speaking, I came to this festival almost randomly to hang out with one of my friends. However, I was mesmerised after seeing the fun artworks. Plus, when I discovered the opportunity of having my own caricature done for free, I immediately sat in for a trial!” Besides this, a number of caricatures of many famous celebrities were displayed at the event -- such as cricketer Shakib Al Hasan, writer Dr Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, vocalist of LRB Ayub Bachchu, singer Kumar Biswajit and many more.
Cartoonist Arafat Karim, one of the participants and also a student of Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka, says, “I draw cartoons mostly because it's fun. Plus, cartoons can also change societies by expressing the harsh realities of life in a humorous way. To me, the Bangladesh Cartoon Fest can be a huge platform for the promising cartoonists of the country where they can publicise their work. Many of my cartoons have been showcased at the fest this year and I am now planning to publish a comic strip for the next Ekushey Book Fair.”
The fest ended on November 19, 2012 with an aim to be held on a bigger scale in both Dhaka and Chittagong, next year.
A live caricature session during the festival.