Since last 3 years Grassroots Comics has become a regular feature in one of the most popular and 2nd oldest comics festival known as Fumetto. Over 50 youth, women and men from different walks of life participated in grassroots comics workshops organised during the Fumetto Comix festival at Lucerne, Switzerland. It is interesting to see how an idea of community media that was developed in India being recognised in different parts of the world.
More than 500 children from different part of Delhi participated in a day long event to focus on cleanliness and hygiene issue. A special session on the grassroots comics was organised for them. Children enjoyed learning few quick drawing tips and communicates through comics. Also an exhibition of previously developed comics in MCD schools was showcases at the venue. The event was organised in collaboration with organisation Child Survival India.
Many school teachers in Uttar Pradesh are using grassroots comics as teaching learning tool. One such workshop was organised by one of the school teacher Ms Suman Chandra at her classroom teaching. She is one of the trainers of WCI.
Trilokpuri is a small locality in East Delhi, with a history of communal clashes. A group of student volunteers from DSSW working in the community were looking for a participatory medium when they came across grassroots comics. Hence, a three day Grassroots comics workshop was conducted at Basti Vikas Kendra with the people of the community.
Largely young kids and adolescents were engaged in the workshop. They understood the power of the medium and realised that they could use it to talk about even personal issues and problems that need to be discussed. Their age did not affect the nature of their stories, whichwere hard hitting and spoke of the major issues faced in the community.
A young girl made a comic about how a farmer’s family had to commit suicide because they were under heavy debt which they were unable to pay. A teenager also made a comic about her friend who was married off to an older man, a father of two. It showed that she was probably worried about the possibility of the same happening to her, or someone of her age. Their comics brought to light some important issues that the people living in the area face on a regular basis.
(Report filed by Stuti Rai who was one of the trainers along with Rahul Chaudhary, Neha Raghav and Dimple Prakash)
Kids at MCD Primary School, Lal Kuan had many stories to share. They talked about these stories and learned how to develop comics around them. Being quick learners, it did not take them long to create their own comics which were later displayed and read by everyone present.
Our workshop at MCD Primary Girls’ School, Kucha Chelan turned out to be a power packed one. It began with some drawing exercises, where kids drew different facial expressions, and then each other’s faces. They read some comics made by students at another workshop and got to know about their topic, food, nutrition and hygiene. While initially, they seemed to be confused about the kind of stories they had to write, after some discussion and examples, they quickly understood and started talking about instances from their own life. Once they had a story, they began working on a visual script that would act as a framework for their final comic. The next day, they worked on the final comic, inked it and made it into a wall poster.
After 3 days of hard work, every student was ready with a comic that had been made by them from the scratch. These comics talked about the kind of food that they had and the kind that they should have, a balanced diet, clean and healthy food and personal hygiene as well. Reading each other’s comics, they could learn about various aspects of a healthy, nutritious diet, which was the goal of the workshop.
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 audienceabout 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.
Our workshop at Hansraj College, Delhi was short but no less on energy or enthusiasm. After a few drawing exercises, everybody, including all teachers and students wrote, shared and discussed their own personal stories and experiences that they would later want to make into a comic. Various different stories emerged, like the story about a boy who decided to stand up against a man who broke the queue at the metro station, the story of a Godman whose remedy to poverty was itself so expensive that no poor man could afford it, and the story about a boy’s cook who took care of him like his own mother. After a long, intense discussion on every story, the students started working on creating visual frames for these stories.
The workshop was organized in collaboration with The Igniters in association with Kalakriti- The fine arts society, Hansraj College.
Amit Sengupta opening grassroots comics workshop with his lecture covering development journalism, knowledge sharing, social justice and many more issues.
The workshop was an interactive session and then the discussion followed the story sharing and comic designing. All the stories came from real life experiences and issues bothering the youngsters who attended the workshop. A lesson of ‘learning and unlearning’ was learnt and the session proved to be the communication of hope.