While lines bring colour to personalities in cartoonist Ranga's extensive collection, colours bring life to lines at an exhibition of works by S. Nagaraj and S.N. Purohit

At the Indian Cartoon Gallery, 70 out of over 2,000 autographed caricatures from cartoonist Ranga's extensive collection are currently on display. The collection opens with a sketch of Gandhiji whose robes appear as the Indian map. The caricature at that time, found itself on one of the Indian stamps featuring the Mahatma.

Ranga, or N.K.Ranganathan, reportedly holds a Limca record for the highest collection of autographed caricatures of national and world personalities. The collection in this exhibition largely features political personalities from across India and the world, including Indira Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Morarji Desai, N.T. Rama Rao, K. Kamaraj, M.G. Ramachandran, Bill Clinton, Yasser Arafat, Benazir Bhutto and Margaret Thatcher.

Some of these leaders have even written charming messages for the artist.“Am I not a handsome man?,” asks a crookedly smiling C. Rajagopalachari, leaning on his cane. “As always, wonderful to be seen through your eyes and your pen,” writes K.R. Narayananan. Margaret Thatcher comments: “It is good to see you again”.

“Ten years have passed since the demise of Ranga. We wanted to rejuvenate his name in the minds of viewers who wanted to recollect his message. He was known for his simple and quick caricatures which somehow capture the essence of the personality,” says V.G. Narendra, Managing Trustee of the Indian Institute of Cartoonists.

N.K. Ranganathan started his career with “Shankar's Weekly”. His cartoons have appeared in publications such as The Statesman, The Indian Express and The Tribune. He has also published books, featuring his cartoons, on Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Indira Gandhi.

Ranga's autographed caricatures will be on display until April 21 at the Indian Cartoon Gallery, No.1, Midford House, Midford Garden,Off M.G. Road, near Big Kids Kemp. For details, contact 41758540.

From lines to colours

Even as lines bring colour into personalities, colours bring life to lines in the latest exhibition featuring works by S. Nagaraj and S.N. Purohit at the Renaissance Gallerie.

Nagaraj's works are intense, almost fierce with the dominating female figure sitting up over the lifeless form of the male. The female figure is often seated under the tree, over a snake, whose coils are wrapped around the male figure.

His background is ambiguously darker than his characters who are painted in bright, almost fluorescent shades.

“My works are collectively titled ‘Mahasati' representing the lives of the Indian women who have sacrificed their husbands to battle. I want to educate people about their sacrifices,” explains Nagaraj, who says his works are “tradition-based modern art”. Some of 76-year old Purohit's works are as abstract as Nagraj's works are character-based. But his abstractions sometimes take shape to resemble forces like “Hope” or the “Elements in Nature”.

Sometimes he adds lines to form a shape through colours like in “Hope” and many times, the colours themselves form shapes, like in “Sea Dream”.

“I believe that modern art is a culmination of many different aspects of art, where people experiment and find their own style. I have also found my own style to communicate my thoughts and emotions — I throw colours on the canvas and balance them out. These colours intermix to form patterns and I draw over what remains on the canvas,” describes Purohit, who has been painting for over 50 years.

His works are forceful as they are colourful and seem to express the depth of his life experiences.

The exhibition also features works by Yashwant Shirwadkar and Nitin Utge. The collection will be on display until April 20 at the Renaissance Gallerie, off Cunningham Road. For details, call 22202232.