To celebrate World Environment Day on June 5, 14 Indian comic artists participated in Ecomixer, an initiative of Brainded India, a network of independent artists working to subvert mainstream agenda and satirise material culture using comics and art. Curated by George Mathen aka Appupen and Madhav Nair aka deadtheduck, the 14 collaborators shared environmental comics every hour from 12 noon to midnight.
Using humour and creativity as a means of protesting and commenting on the current state of affairs, this collaborative effort and powerful use of art for public discourse made for a celebratory day for Indian comics that shed light in subtle ways about man’s relationship with Mother Nature.
Here are some of our personal favorites from the collaboration.
“I'd recently taken a trip to Wayanad and a naturalist I met there on a bird watching trail told me about this recent true life story about a pair of Malabar grey hornbills that got separated. When he narrated the incident, I couldn't help thinking about this story was almost human-like. I decided to do a fictionalised take on it. As always, it started with sketches while I was in Wayanad. I guess I was subconsciously mulling over this idea for a bit, and when the people at Brainded asked me for a contribution, I thought it would be a good opportunity to work on it. Comics are a great way to trigger thought that's contrary to our default setting of being oblivious to the world around you. I just wanted to tell this little story about how humans are the biggest disrupters of biodiversity and ecosystems and the world around us.”
Pages from Priya Kuriyan's comic that explores how humans disrupt biodiversity and ecosystems
“This comic is an appreciation of India's wonderful and unparalleled wildlife, while taking a subtle potshot at communal politics that has been flourishing under the current regime. It was made to launch a column for my comic strip Green Humour.
I want discussions around environmental issues to be the main headline in any kind of media, and to occupy the front pages of newspapers because these issues affect our lives more than what Priyanka Chopra wore at the royal wedding, or who Sonam Kapoor got married to or who got auctioned for the highest bid in the IPL or the Karnataka elections. Ecomixer is a great step in that direction, so I'm in!”
Rohan Chakravarty's comic brings out India's wonderful wildlife while taking subtle digs at communal politics
“I was thinking of the micro ecosystems that exist within our larger ecosystems. Nothing exists in isolation and changes that happen to our ecosystems that we constantly adapting to our changing ecosystems. We have the power to effect change, and control our environment to a certain extent. I was trying to draw parallels to our mental environments too.”
Appupen's comic reflects how nothing exists in isolation in any ecosystem
“Where will all this shit go? The need for intelligent design, better living and thinking practices is more apparent than ever. Change starts small and starts with you.”
“Only recently have I realised how my extreme dependence on a mobile device is harmful. In my personal ecosystem, it is as if my phone is on top of the food chain instead of the human(me). My comic is an absurd exaggeration of this thought. It’s great that comics are encouraging people to have productive conversations about what is around us and sensitising them to their surroundings by creating comics!”
Tanya Singh's comic looks at the over-dependence on mobile phones and its impact on human beings
“I made the comic as simple as possible. My graphics tablet gave up on me recently, so I wanted to do 90% of the work with pencil on paper. Then I scanned it and and added final touches."
Pages from Aniruddh Menon's comic
The other artists who are a part of Ecomixer are deadtheduck, Orijit Sen, Debangshu Moulik, Kaviya Ilango, Sajid Wajid Shaikh, Prabha Mallya, Pardafash and Antra.
Read the rest of the comics at Brainded.