K.N. Balraj’s 40 cartoons, on display at the Cartoon Gallery, are not about politics or social issues, but about animals and birds. They are no less satirical than political cartoons, though.
The cartoons depict the foibles of human nature through English proverbs with animal references. Balraj, in his works, has given a new meaning to sayings such as “a leopard doesn’t change its spots”, “crocodile tears” and the like.
The sketches are simple, but it is evident that Balraj thought deeply over each cartoon. One cartoon shows one dog scolding another: “Face it, we are into Public Relations. You just can’t bark because they are strangers.” Another cartoon has a mother horse explain to her foal: “We are actually horses. But our ancestors made an ass of themselves.” As for why did the chicken cross the road, a cartoon chicken has a most interesting answer to that: “Because it was 3 a.m. in Bangalore and there was no traffic.”
A spider gives excellent career advice to a spider friend “Trust me you should try something other than web designing.” Even the most hardened cynic will not be able to contain his or her laughter on seeing these works. There are some political and social cartoons too.
One caricature of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stands out. In it, Singh’s turban is pulled over his eyes, with the accompanying blurb: “What corruption?” Balraj was awarded the 2011 Maya Kamath Memorial for this work.
“My style has evolved over the years, but I prefer to sketch simple lines. The collection for this exhibition is colourful, unlike my previous exhibition in which there were primarily black-and-white sketches,” says Balraj, a freelance cartoonist, sculptor and copywriter, whose works have been displayed in about 11 solo/group exhibitions.
For Balraj, whose cartoons have been published in various newspapers and magazines such as Caravan and the German magazine Entwicklungspolitik, the cartoons that appear in The New Yorker are the best in the industry.
The exhibition will be on display till August 5 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Sundays, at The Indian Cartoon Gallery, No. 1 Midford Gardens, behind Big Kids Kemp.