ORIGIN: Kerala Cartoon Academy (KCA) is said to be the first and largest body of cartoonists in India involving both professionals and amateurs. Imaginative and creative, they are a group who look at things, be it silly or serious, in a light-hearted manner and present it in a different perspective.

Kerala is often regarded as the breeding ground for cartoonists. The idea of forming a group was formed in the early eighties and the initial groundwork was taken up by stalwarts like Sivaram, Sukumar, Yesudasan, Nathan among others. And, even after three decades of its formation, the cartoon academy continues to be as vibrant as it was in its formative years.

KCA currently has around 150 members and the membership fee is a nominal Rs. 500 for a period of five years. Even though it is the only organisation of its kind their plans are often hit by paucity of funds. Many of their projects like having an office of their own and starting an academic programme for aspiring cartoonists have been held back for this reason.

ACTIVITIES: The KCA has always come up with novel ideas. Organising cartoon camps has been one of its regular programmes. The first such camp was organised in 1982. Such camps have played a pivotal role in spotting and shaping some of the popular cartoonists in the State today. “The camps organised by KCA have been instrumental in making us confident of our talents which otherwise would have gone unnoticed,” feels Sajjive Balakrishnan, the present secretary of KCA and an avid caricaturist.

Apart from cartoon workshops in schools and camps the KCA has organised a compilation of caricatures of important personalities, a campaign against Endosulfan and an annual animation festival called ‘Aniyug.' However, the biggest draw till date was the event titled ‘Uthrdapaachil' held during Onam last year. Here Sajjive Balakrishnan went on a 12-hour marathon caricature jamboree and ended up finishing 651 caricatures. The KCA also has an in-house journal called ‘Cartoon Jalakam' and hosts online cartoon exhibitions for its members.

IMPACT: Ever since its inception, KCA has been the only organisation in Kerala that has championed the cause of cartooning. Regular camps and workshops for students have brought in rich dividends. It was after years of KCA's persuasion that the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi began to include cartoons in their annual awards. Much of the legendary names in cartooning in India have also been part of the camps from time to time.

GETTING IN TOUCH: To know more about Kerala Cartoon Academy or to be a part of it call 9447659841/8547001001/09968996870 Email:

cartoonacademy@gmail.com or log onto www.keralacartoonacademy.

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