Two days full of stories, discussions and comics! The two day grassroots comics workshop last week was sure a success. While at first, the artistically inclined participants were majorly interested in drawing their comics, they gradually learnt what grassroots comics is all about, and how it’s less about the drawing skills and more about the story. Once the stories were ready, each participant was asked to read his/her story aloud. The stories and issues that came up ranged from bullying and feminism to caste and superstitions. Every story evoked an intense discussion which not only helped them refine their stories, but also opened their eyes to different aspects of the issue. After this was done, the participants prepared their visual scrips and day one was concluded.
On day two, the participants began working on their final comics. Drawing, writing and inking, there seemed to be a different kind of energy in the air. As the participants saw their comics come to life, the two days of hard work seemed worth the result. The workshop was concluded with all participants displaying their comics and getting feedback from the readers.
The Delhi Comic Arts Festival had a panel discussion on the Use of Comics for Social Change. The panelists were artists from Norway, Brazil, Switzerland and India. They discussed the importance of comics in the society and all of them were of the opinion that comics can act as a very powerful tool for social change.Emphasis was given on the fact that multiple narratives are necessary and more and more people need to generate content so that censorship becomes futile.
The Delhi Comic Arts Festival this week was an experience worth having! Sharad Sharma was among some of the great comic artists that presented their work at the festival. He began by talking about his early days in the mainstream media and how it’s failure to cover the dire conditions in the North Eastern region of the country prompted him to find an alternate medium that brings out people’s voices and issues, which he did in Grassroots Comics. He then proceeded to briefly tell the audience about how it works and how they too can create comics. After which he talked about World Comics Network and ran everyone through all that it has done over the years, since its foundation.
Word Comics Network was one of the exhibitors whose work was displayed at the Delhi Comic Arts Festival this week. The exhibition showed some comics made by people who have been trained by the World Comics Network over the years. These comics throw light on some issues that the people feel close to or consider worth being highlighted. Something that was worth noticing was how different the theme of each comic was, which shows that every person making them has a different story, issue and experience to share, making these comics very unique.
Shiv Kumar, an artist who attended a comic workshop by WCI years ago found the idea of comics in education interesting and started conducting workshops at various schools with teachers in Karnataka recently, proving that the art of creating comics, once learnt, never goes in vain.
When we entered the classroom at MCD Primary School, Turkman Road in Delhi, on the first day of a three day workshop, the students looked scared yet excited to know what was about to happen. As the workshop progressed, the kids started to lose their inhibition and began sharing their own stories on the topic of food, nutrition and hygiene. They later created comics based on these stories. At the end of the workshop, all students had a comic to show, which they were extremely proud of!
There is a small village called Janwar in the middle of a forest in Panna district of Madhya Pradesh. You will be surprised to know that there is a world level skateboard park in this village! World Comics India conducted a workshop in collaboration with Janwar Castle for the students of Primary and Middle school in the village, where the students created comics on the issues that they face in their day-to-day life. These comics were also exhibited at other schools and later in Delhi and Meerut as well.