Sajjive Balakrishnan, who figures in the Limca Book of Records, drew 270 sketches of visibly amused patients and bystanders at an arts and medicine programme organised by the Kochi Biennale Foundation at Government Hospital.

The therapeutic effect of self-deprecating humour was on display at the General Hospital here on Wednesday when ‘heavy-weight’ cartoonist Sajjive Balakrishnan, who pokes fun at his own oversized build, made sketches of visibly amused patients and bystanders at an arts and medicine programme organised by the Kochi Biennale Foundation.

Mr. Balakrishnan, who figures in the Limca Book of Records for making maximum number of minute-long full-body caricatures with lightning speed and finesse in a 12-hour cartoon odyssey in 2010, drew 270 sketches as the Mehboob Memorial Orchestra held a concert of old Malayalam melodies in parallel.

An avid blogger who takes a dig at himself for his size, mannerisms and insatiable liking for food, Mr. Balakrishnan is an ‘affable’ income tax officer, who describes himself as a ‘caricature evangelist’ caricaturing at least 20 people he comes across daily. “The arts and medicine project is a wonderful initiative,” said Mr. Balakrishnan, who takes on various styles with ease. “I am not an artist who sits inside his room and work on his imagination. I would rather take a walk and sketch people with stunning features then and there.”

During the programme, he interacted with patients, bystanders and hospital staff through the day, making their quick sketches. The former secretary of Kerala Cartoon Academy began doodling during his school days and had his first work published in 1976, when he was in class-VI.

“I am overwhelmed by the response we are getting for this programme,” said Dr. Iva Fattorini, Chair of Global Arts and Medicine Institute, Cleveland Clinic, who is the guiding light behind the arts and medicine project.

“It would be admirable if we can expand this project to more hospitals in the State as this idea has the potential to transform patients’ hospital experience.”

“Today’s programme is part of KBF’s plan to include more art forms in the arts and medicine project,” said Bonny Thomas, biennale research coordinator. “The KBF will come up with more such novel programmes in future,” he said.

In a separate event, Thane-based artist Sudhir Patwardhan, a radiologist by profession, spoke on his art practices at an ‘art talk programme. Mr. Patwardhan, a self-taught artist, was born in Maharashtra in 1949. He has several solo shows to his credit and has been part of several group exhibitions in India and abroad.

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