The adage that a picture is worth a 1,000 words probably may not matter anymore. Benjamin Dix, a news photographer who covered the civil war in Sri Lanka, says even photos that go with articles leave out much from a story. Cartoons, however, offer freedom to express the pain, suffering and glimpses of joy a person in the thick of war experiences.
He has been using cartoons and comic books to bring the story of civil war survivors in Serbia, Syria and Sri Lanka; and the journey of sex slave Abike from Eritrea to Europe and finally to liberation, to name a few. Mr. Dix says his speciality is human rights issues and Abike’s story brought about legal reforms in the United Kingdom in 2015.
Unlike him, Dan Goldman, a writer and an artist, continues to set store by the written word though he has used the comic book method to describe the U.S. elections and believes that “our responsibility as artists and storytellers” would continue with the new President too.
He recalls that initially “newspapers were slow to take up his comic strips unlike television producers who were excited.” Now he is working in creating Priya’s Shakthi, comic books on the social role of women in India. He has already done comic strips about sex workers in West Bengal and the acid attack survivors in India. The next project is on rape survivors.
Both the cartoonists, along with comic book creator Ram Devineni, conducted a workshop on Friday for students of MOP Vaishnav College for Women.
The programme was organised by the U.S. Consulate General of Chennai.
Alexis Wolff, acting public affairs officer, told the students that they had the advantage of cartoonist R.K. Laxman who had set standards in cartooning already. With new technology, the job of an aspiring cartoonist was much easier, she said.