Witty political cartoons and satirical sketches by Abu Abraham

Indian Institute of Cartoonists is organizing an exhibition of original cartoons and drawings of noted cartoonist Late Abu Abraham named ‘Private View’ on 26th February 2011 at 4.00PM at Cartoon Gallery.

Abu Abraham is probably the only
Indian cartoonist who worked with British newspapers for almost 16 years, and certainly the only one in the world who changed his name and signature half way into his career! That was Abu Abraham. A principled political cartoonist who “walked tall while others crawled”, Abu was born on June 11, 1924, in Mavelikara near the Malabar Coast. He was a child prodigy. He began his professional career in 1946 with The Bombay Chronicle as reporter, and also drew cartoons for Blitz as a freelancer.

His big break came when he joined Shankar's Weekly, as staff cartoonist in 1951. In 1953, British cartoonist Fred Joss who had seen his work sent him a brief letter. “When are you coming?” it said. Abu packed his bags and left for Britain. He worked with The Observer for 10 years (1956-66) and then with The Guardian for three years (1966-69).

Till April 1956, Abu was plain ‘Abraham', and signed his name as such. On April 6, 1956, when he drew his first cartoon for the paper, David Astor, the editor, after approving it, asked him if he couldn't use a pseudonym. Abu recalls in his reminiscences: “He explained, saying that any Abraham in Europe would be taken as a Jew and all my cartoons would take on a slant for no reason, and I wasn't even Jewish. What was more, the Middle-East was beginning to boil at that time... I thought up the pseudonym, Abu. ‘Perfect,' Astor said, suitably mysterious. Thus was I re-christened...”

In 1969, he returned to India, and joined The Indian Express. From 1972 to 1978, came a stint in the Rajya Sabha. The Emergency brought out the best in him, and he drew scathing cartoons. His work during his period was later published as a book, Games of Emergency. (His other two books are Abu On Bangladesh and Arrivals And Departures. His animated film called No Arks, won a British Film Institute special award in 1970.) After leaving the Express in 1981, he began to syndicate his work to several newspapers. His philosophical strip, Salt and Pepper, ran for almost 20 years in several publications. Abu passed away on Dec 1, 2002, after complications following duodenum surgery.
Event: Private View by Abu Abraham
Date: 26th February 2011, 4.00PM

Indian Institute of Cartoonists

No.1, Midford House, Midford Garden,
Off M.G. Road
M.G Road, Bangalore -560001 Map

Tags: abu abraham, private view, duodenum surgery, no arks, british film institute, jewish, david astor, the observer, the guardian, cartoonist fred

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