An exhibition of over 100 of R.K. Laxman's sketches created over a period of 16 years see light of day.

Anyone could argue he is a journalist except that he uses his pen to create pictures. R.K. Laxman’s work reflects his carefree spirit but is also a commentary on life as it happened. The Indian Cartoon Gallery is now offering Laxman loyalists a rare opportunity. “Doodu’s Doodles” is a three-week long exhibition of drawings that have never been showcased before. They are nonchalant scribbles that manage to communicate while not really thinking about doing so.

The show features just under a hundred sketches created over a period of 16 years. His themes are taken directly from his environment. In this body of work, R. K. Laxman explores the “similarity of all religions of India” as well as his favourite subject matter “Poverty” and “People”. His subjects are usually ordinary, as he himself admits in his autobiography The Tunnel of Time. He manages, however, to always unleash some of his trademark humour into his sketches no matter how ordinary the subjects.

He never courted controversy but spared no one especially in his political satire. Laxman is adept at being controlled and unrestrained at the same time. His illustrations were vital in lifting works like his brother R.K. Narayan’s Malgudi Days to cult status. Best known, of course, for “The Common Man”, the now 90-year old Laxman holds some of the highest national and media accolades for his work. In all the years he has been cartooning, he has never been known to be stale. His creations are still replete with passion and ingenuity.

The cartoonist’s nephew R. S. Krishnaswamy has helped bring these pieces to light at the Indian Cartoon Gallery to bring these works to the public. The gallery is an initiative of the Indian Institute of Cartoonists and seeks to promote cartooning in India as well as interaction between cartoon lovers and the artists themselves.

Doodu’s Doodles, Indian Cartoon Gallery, 1 Midford House, Midford Garden, Off M.G. Road, Bangalore 560001. Contact: 080-41758540, 9980091428. February 18 to March 10.

Bottomline: A treasure trove of unique unpublished work for cartoonists and cartoon lovers alike