Master Practice Studios with Orijit Sen

A Non-Fiction Comics Workshop
July-August 2018

Eleven artists spent a month visually researching, documenting and narrating stories from Mattancherry. Their attempt was to foreground individual protagonists, even as they told documentary stories about community and collective struggles. Their approach was also about ways in which visual narration can highlight unrecognised skills and different kinds of non- textual knowledge that keep a city like Kochi socially and culturally alive and evolving.

“We chose to eschew the traditional lenses of History and Sociology – in order to understand the idea of ‘place’ as a dynamic entity being continuously shaped afresh by its inhabitants.”

Gafoor Iceman Posterman by Anjora Noronha
Anjora followed Gafoor, a man with many occupations, as he speedily delivered ice in the morning, and pasted over a 100 movie posters on walls all night long.

Darvin by Anupam Arunachalam
Anupam delved into the story of Darvin, a boat captain-for-hire, learning of fish trawling and the tragedy that characterized his life.

Munna’s Manzil by Gaurav Sharma
Gaurav tells us the story of Munna, a tea-factory worker and avid lover of animals. Having raised pigeons as a teenager, Munna gave the artist insight into the state-wide and intense pigeon flying competitions that take place in the area.

Dhobi Khana by Ishita Sharma
Ishita explored the Tamil-speaking Vannan community in Fort Kochi that carry out laundry works. The tale is one of choice, dignity and cultural shifts within traditions.

Love on a Prayer by Kshiraja Krishnan
Kshiraja made a comic on Jijo Kuriakose (founder of Queerala, an activist organisation) and Maya Joseph (trans-rights activist, yoga teacher and model), giving us a glimpse into the complex relationship between the church and queer communities.

Riyaz Ikka by Mohith O and Rai
Through a series of vignettes, Mohit and Rai tell us about Riyaz, a bit of a “misfit” figure that spends all his money on goats. The story is told by the community that surrounds Riyaz, and narratives become a way to know a person.

Pappadam Story by Shaunak Samvatsar
In his story, Shaunak follows the “humble orid” pappadam – the manner in which it came to Kerala, how it became a staple part of the cuisine, and the families that are involved in making it.

Uppupah’s Tale by Shivangi Singh
Shivangi draws the story of Arifa, the care-taker of Uppupah Dargah, and history and official narratives blend with personal anecdotes and fantastical imaginations.

Speaking in Spices by Shromona Das
Shromona brings us the story of Hussain, who makes the famous Cawah tea of Mattancherry. She tells us about spices and herbs, the migration of recipes, and the micro-history of the cross section of the Puthiya Palli junction.

Stories from the Docks by Sudarsha Subbiah
Sudarsha channeled her architectural training to express a fascination for the fishing docks at Kochangadi, telling us of many stories and characters she encountered there.