Khaleej Times scores high at World Press Cartoon Awards

Khaleej Times' illustrators Santhosh Kumar and Rajendran bring laurels to the publication with a great showing at the World Press Cartoon 2019 competition.

By Bikram Vohra

Published: Wed 8 May 2019, 10:22 AM

Last updated: Thu 9 Feb 2023, 2:53 PM

Go on then get up there on the stage and bask in the limelight. Khaleej Times' illustrators Santhosh Kumar and Rajendran won three awards at the World Press Cartoon 2019 competition in Lisbon on Monday.

Call it caricatures, sketches, cartoons, the fact is the art form is a tribute to great talent and a proud moment for the UAE media and this publication.

There are three categories in the World Press Cartoon (WPC) competition - Caricature, Editorial Cartoon, and Gag. Three prizes are for each category and a grand prize too. Santhosh Kumar and Rajendran won recognition in the Caricature and Editorial Cartoon categories.

A brooding Vladimir Putin by Santhosh catches the mood of the man so perfectly, for in the art of caricature, it is the capturing of the frozen moment that is so vital. Santhosh also took on Donald Trump and the same face can be caricatured in multiple ways to go with the storyline's demands. Grumpy, grim, angry, haughty, arrogant, the artist makes it work.

Donald Trump's face can be caricatured in multiple ways to go with the demands of the storyline

Rajendran's cleverly exaggerated sketch of Indian boxer Mary Kom stunningly freezes the hope in the eye and the gravel in the gut of this exceptional athlete.

Truly blessed are those that have this great talent and use it well. As a young journalist, I would watch the world famous R.K. Laxman create magic on an easel, the same sort of magic that Mort Drucker and Sergio Arogones and Al Jaffe brought to the iconic Mad magazine. Recall the wonderment of the Asterix and Obelix and Getafix series and how these characters came alive in caricature and took the world by unstoppable storm thanks to the magical prowess of Frédéric Mébarki and Astérix creator Albert Uderzo.

It was Charlie Schultz, the creator of Charlie Brown and Snoopy who said, "Cartooning and caricaturing is preaching. And I think we have a right to do some preaching. I hate shallow humour. I hate shallow religious humour, I hate shallow sports humour, I hate shallowness of any kind."

Indian boxer Mary Kom's caricature reflects the hope in the eye and the gravel in the gut

And this art form is truly grand and lofty and tells its story so vividly without the use of words.

To have UAE-based artists compete and win accolades at the global level where genius is rife and the power and the glory of the brush and the sketch pen is at its finest.

Caricature history

There is a huge history to the caricature per se. It all began in the 16th century in France when artists took to visual pamphleteering and used their skills to mock and lampoon the rich and the powerful with sketches that were drenched in liquid ridicule and provoked laughter, not always of the kind sort.

History tells us that the famed painter Leonardo da Vinci was the most prolific caricaturist of his time and often got into hot water for his efforts that were bitingly honest.

The word caricature, according to its genesis, comes from the Italian words carico and caricare, meaning 'to load' or to 'exaggerate'. In the 1590s, the Italian Annibale Carracci (and his brother Agostino) applied these words to some exaggerated portrait sketches they created.

And were wanted men. more hot water.

Time to applaud

Much has changed since those rebellious times and our heroes get recognition and applause now.

Speaking about how he turned to illustration, Santhosh, who won the WPC honour for the fifth time, said: "In my school days, my parents would take me to the movies. They have been my passion and I started to study how actors transform themselves into characters. I would then practise drawing these characters and their expressions. It helped me a lot in creating character expressions when I took up my career as an artist."

This is the seventh time Rajendran has brought the World Press Cartoon honours to Khaleej Times. "As an illustrator, it's my commitment to leave a lasting impression in the minds of the readers, no matter what the subject is," he said.

"Caricaturing is not just about imitating a photograph. It's an emotional interpretation of the subject and the situation. It's a signpost to the soul of the story," he added.

And so it is. Think about it. It is people like this who gave us the world of Disney, Tom and Jerry and set the pace for the formidable and awe inspiring full length animated films today like Finding Nemo and Ratatouille and Dumbo.

Well done gentlemen, enjoy the applause.

KT Illustrator Rajendran
KT Illustrator Rajendran
KT Illustrator Santosh Kumar
KT Illustrator Santosh Kumar

More news from City Times