His caricatures hold a deeper meaning

Atanu Roy is being honest when he says it is his illustrations that give him creative and monetary satisfaction.

In the business for more than four decades now, Atanu is one of the popular illustrators of the country known for his unique style of creating a ‘wow’ factor as well as injecting humour in his artwork which is a mix of caricatures and illustrations.

“Illustration is not an art. It is a visual message,” says Atanu, who is showcasing some of his best works at the exhibition ‘The Maverick’s Palette’, India International Centre.

Displaying his work for the first time in an exhibition, the illustrator excitedly points towards his latest work ‘Five Villains’- which presents former US President George Walker Bush, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, terrorist group al-Qaeda mastermind Osama Bin Laden and former President of Uganda, Idi Amin, also known as  ‘Butcher of Uganda’, in a funny manner.

“What if these people had music in their mind? They wouldn’t have created an army of soldiers who claimed innocent lives,” says Atanu. He has filled and coloured the head portion of these personalities with the images of the popular musicians of their country.

“If music had been in the mind then there would have been no point in having a large army. So, in the image you can see them coming out from the ears,” he explains.

Besides, a major portion of the exhibition comprises work which appeared in the book Magical Indian Myths.

From Samudra Manthan as mentioned in the Puranas between gods and demons to Matsaya Avatar of the God Vishnu in the form of fish, each illustration speaks a thousand words.

Look at them carefully and you will see enough detailing in every stroke. “More so, I deal with my subject in a slightly different manner.

In the picture of Karthikeya who is a South Indian God, you will see him donning a Rajasthani kurta,” says Atanu.

Likewise, while portraying the birth of Kauravas, he focuses on Indian architecture. His extensive detailing can be seen in those illustrations where he has used colourful fountain pen ink.

For the children’s book Demon on the Hill, Atanu has done intricate work with the pen to represent the two main characters of the story Gijigaddu and the firefly. Similarly, in the collected stories by Ruskin Bond.

Apparently, intricacies add an element of certainty in all his work. Like the painting of an orangutan holding a slashed throat with blood dripping from Ten Great Mysteries by Edgar Allan Poe, looks more like a well-morphed photograph.

It also adds depth to his editorial illustrations which he has designed for various magazines.

Atanu has been working for corporate companies too in designing unique posters.

A collage of five metropolitan cities – Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata, represent each of these cities in a very unique manner.

There is chaos around, roads packed with traffic jams and historical monuments hidden somewhere between all of these. Each collage narrates a different story.

The exhibition is on view at India International Centre, Annexe Building till May 23 from 11 am to 7 pm.

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