This cartoonist’s lines had the globe in a tizzy

A cartoon by Paresh Nath

Cartoonists always knew where to draw the line. But if you learnt those ropes as an informed Indian artist, graduating quickly to wit-wash global biggies, you would surf beyond desi lines. And that’s precisely what Paresh Nath did in style, proof of which is now in full show, right here in Bengaluru.

Nath’s arresting lines, matched by his deep-rooted understanding of global trends had earned him the coveted Ranan Lurie Political Cartoon Award for two years in a row, 2000 and 2001. That United Nations’ honour was clearly a first for an Indian cartoonist, an award presented by the late UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

The Indian Institute of Cartoonists launched his show on May 4, a day ahead of the International Cartoonists Day. The show will go on till May 18 at the Indian Cartoon Gallery, Midford House, off MG Road, Trinity Circle, from 10 am to 6 pm, barring Sundays.

To sample Nath’s take on global concerns, here’s one cartoon that calls the bluff of the waste management system: Oblivious to a monstrous hand of the growing global waste advancing menacingly towards a waste picker truck, the driver proclaims with much pride: To fight any environmental burden we’ve gained the upper hand.

Nath’s vivid illustrations with deft colouring and shading leave no scope for nuance. But this direct approach, coupled with a crisp, telling text is what makes his cartoons engaging. This comes through clearly in a cartoon that makes a whacky punch at Chinese claims on international waters.

China here is a boat packed with territorial nameboards, each of which is being planted on anything that floats. The punch lies in a mighty turtle’s lament that ‘the territorial claims are going too far!’ as the Chinese nameplate is firmly placed on its shell.

Such artistic licence, entrenched with well-established international context had Nath make waves globally. His editorial cartoons found a place in the likes of Washington Post, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, International Herald Tribune, TIME, Newsweek, The Guardian and The Observer.

A cartoonist at Khaleej Times, Dubai, since 2005, Nath is also a recipient of the prestigious French honour ‘Le Chevalier’ (Knighthood) of Brittany in Nantes, won at the International Editorial Cartoon Festival in 2004.

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