Drawing (on) Politics: Aubrey Collette in Sri Lanka

Samarth Singhal[1]

 Volume 6, Number 2, 2016 I Full Text PDF

Article DOI:  10.21659/chitro.v6n2.06

Received on July 14, 2016.
Accepted on August 1, 2016.
Published on August 4, 2016.


Political Cartooning or Graphic Satire does not have a long history and its unique position between art history and newsprint allows it advantages and forces compromises. The use of caricature and the comic makes it more difficult to read such a genre. Moreover, it involves a clear tussle between the ‘text’ and the ‘image’ and its ‘popularity’ can at best be suspect. In such a scenario analysing Collette’s work in Sri Lanka as a socio-political critique is both urgent and worthwhile. Sri Lanka’s history of continuing conflict has prompted many responses, Collette’s being one such response. The question then becomes: Is graphic satire a viable means of critique? Is it always already contained? Why/not? What if the cartoonist himself belongs to a community that is ‘marginalized’ in national discourses? Does this impact the production and reception of his work? It is possible to answer these questions locating Collette in a lineage of theoretical interventions on the comic and the visual, followed by a close reading of his cartoons. Cartoons have only recently acquired attention in the academia as popular visual culture or culture studies and it will repay to ask where the genre can go under the scrutiny of these critical terms.

 Keywords: Cartoon, Visuality, South Asia, Cultural Studies, Caricature

[1] Samarth Singhal is currently pursuing an M Phil at the Department of English, University of Delhi. Email: samarth864@gmail.com