Indian Institute of Cartoonists

IIC welcomes you to cartoonistsindia, the first of its kind!!!

Indian Institute of Cartoonists is an organization, first of its kind in India, established with the aim of promoting the art of cartooning in the country. The Institute, based in Bangalore, aims to recognize talents in the field of cartooning and reward them, showcase and preserve their art for future generations, guide young and budding cartoonists and above all, popularize the art among the masses.

Perhaps IIC is the only organization in the field of cartooning worldwide having so many activities under one umbrella.

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  Brief History of Cartoons:

It is said that even dictators, leave alone democratic governments, fear the political cartoonist and his strokes. You can thus judge the freedom in a country by judging the freedom its cartoonist enjoys. But what is it about this apparently small sketch that makes it so adored by the public and abhorred by the powers that fail?

First of all, a cartoon is that rare creation that wraps art, portraiture and comment in the same picture. It appears funny but the message it delivers is hardly that.

When satire and wit blend with comic strokes, what emerges is a potent combination, a deadly potion, a cartoon that can hit governments harder than a thousand word editorial can. This is speaking for the political cartoonist. But even other cartoonists, no matter what genre they belong to, enjoy the same power and popularity. Under the guise of tickling the funny bone of the reader, what a cartoonist does is to mould public opinion, drawing his attention gently to the follies of our leaders, of the people around us, in short, of ourselves.

It is hard to imagine that it took mankind and evolution 16 whole centuries to arrive at this exalted art form. But then cartoon being a highly sophisticated, symbolic and subtle creation would surely have required an evolved mind to create and appreciate it. However, opinions differ. The ancient Greek caveman who drew pictorial representations on caves may be thought of as the world's first cartoonist, but the first ever documented evidence seems to point to the Italian brothers Annibale and Agostini Carrcci, who in 1590, produced a series of drawings called ritratini carichi (which mean loaded portraits). It is from this term that the word ‘caricature' was born. Then on, there was no looking back for these pictorial delights

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Cartooning flourished in Europe in the next hundred years and traveled to neighbouring continents too. So whether it was the royal family of France or Spain or later the New York political group in the late nineteenth century, cartoonist flourished but at the same time faced the ire of the rulers. But one thing was clear. Cartoons were here to stay a highly popular form of artistic expression and an indelible part of the media, print or otherwise

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The popularity, though, came at a high price: Curbs, threat and arrests. As recent as 1944, a group of Polish cartoonists were actually executed for drawing against Nazi Fascism. In 1970, Turkish cartoonist Turhan Selcuk was tortured by the military junta there. Well, the cold fact is that even today, violence against these truly non-violent artists continue across the globe in Palestine Israel, the US, UK and even India. Cartoonists and their editors all over the world face torture and even death for merely doing their jobs

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In the Indian context, the cartoon entered the scene with the British, but over the years, came into its own in a stylized and independent version that is hugely popular. However, the Late K Shankar Pillai can be considered the Father of Indian Cartooning, just as the legendary David Low is of World Cartooning. Today ever region in India has its own breed of cartoonists who have become cult figures among their readers. Newspapers just can't do without these witty warriors who use the weapon of humour to tackle grim problems

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In fact, not just the newspapers, not merely the print media, cartoons have cut across all media barriers to emerge as a powerful communication tool. Audio-visual media, internet, films, multimedia, advertisements, hoardings for public messages all use cartoons to the maximum advantage. For, a cartoon with the bare minimum of exaggerated strokes comes loaded with wit, satire and punch. It is this exaggeration that prevents it from being a mere illustration, sketch or painting. A cartoon is thus documentary evidence, a political and social commentary on the time during which it is drawn. By holding a mirror to the society of the times, it becomes a benchmark which can be referred to any time. It is these traits that make a cartoon a historian's delight. And again, it is these very traits that have lead cartoon journalism to evolve as a branch of study in its own right today.

Every region, every state of India has many glorious flag-bearers who have become cartooning legends in themselves and spawned an entire generation of artists to carry forward their art. A noteworthy mention of such talent attracting global attention is that of R.K. Laxman, who one the Roman Magsaysay Award in 1984 for his accomplishment.

Yet, despite all the popularity and accolades, there is no organization to represent this class of citizen who brighten a day and sharpen our opinion. There is no single body in India to recognize budding talent in toon world, to reward them, to showcase their art for the future and to popularize the art among the masses. This is where the Indian Institute of Cartooning (IIC) aims to fill the niche.

Among the many plans that the IIC has in it's basket in foremost to institute a Life Time Achievement Award for excellence in the field of cartooning in India. The awardees will be selected by an eminent jury. IIC also aims to organize cartoon contest at National and International Levels. Besides, to bridge the language gap and foster a sense of national integrity, it plans to organize exhibitions of Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Marathi and Malayalam cartoons in Bangalore with captions in English. (For details see IIC's Aims and objectives)

In short, IIC plans to be the one-stop info point for anything that has to do with cartoons. It aims to make Bangalore, which is already the cyber capital, also the cartoon capital of India. IIC will add yet another plume to it's cap of prestigious landmarks, IISc., IIM, IIS etc.,

 

All this requires enormous funds, perseverance and above all the goodwill and co-operation of the masses. It is no mean task to garner resources, in the form of people and money, to work towards this goal. We request Philanthropists, Corporates, Bankers, Industrialists, Businessman and Media Magnates to open their hearts and purses to further this cause. Spread the word around, the noble cause would surely do with large dose of media publicity. Be a part of movement. Any donation, sponsorship or membership in whatever measure is outmost welcome. We assure you that it is no mere charity; it is an involvement and investment that will stand in good stead for our children, their future and their freedom of expression. It is small tribute to the people who with their pen pepper the paper daily in an indomitable spirit of humour. A tribute to the people who put thought into our minds even as they put a smile onto our faces.

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