Cartoonist and illustrator R. K. Laxman is celebrated as a national treasure in India. He began his career illustrating the life of his famous elder brother, writer R. K. Narayan, for local papers. In the 1940s, Laxman moved to Mumbai, where he briefly worked for The Free Press Journal, before establishing his long-term vocation at The Times of India from 1947, the year of Independence. It was at the Times that Laxman’s iconic ‘Common Man’ was born, a cartoon figure celebrated by millions for being just that, an ordinary man who faced the same daily trials and tribulations as his readers. Through cartoons like the ‘Common Man’, Laxman was able to provide a humorous visual commentary on the social, economic and political turmoil of his nation. The charged topics he pursued were consistently portrayed through Laxman’s self-proclaimed “mood of mischievous abandon.” (R. K. Laxman quoted in ‘RK Laxman: The old man of Bori Bunder’, DailyO, 28 January 2015 https://www.dailyo.in/politics/rk-laxman-the-old-man-of-bori-bunder-you-said-it-common-man/story/1/1715.html)
The current works are two charming ink studies by Laxman, which both exhibit the distinctive and effortless line of the cartoonist’s hand. Drawn in his typical playful style, Untitled (Man Lying in the Verandah) and Untitled (The Parsi Girl) capture the same “mood of mischievous abandon” which Laxman ascribed to his famous cartoons.
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