With its staff back at work, London’s Cartoon Museum, which aims to re-open on Tuesday 18th May 2021, has revealed its dedicated team are now busy working on two hugely exciting upcoming exhibitions. One remains top secret for now, but the Museum’s director, Joe Sullivan, has revealed the next significant In-Focus exhibition will explore the work of Natasha Natarajan, a British-Indian web cartoonist and animator, “who draws honest, thought-provoking cartoons about her place in the world.”
Operating under the name Chikaboo Designs, Natasha Natarajan is a London based Freelance Creative, working as a Visual Artist, Cartoonist, Publisher and Web Designer. As a cartoonist, she’s the creator of projects such as FML Comics, an autobiographical comic strip following her lived experiences as a British-Indian woman currently living in the UK, which aim to explore personal and political issues through humour and honesty.
Good Comics has published a collection of 60-plus comic strips as FML Comics Collected 2016-2020, including most of the comics from Issues #1-#4 of Natasha’s zine, as well as never before printed strips and written chapters documenting the behind the scenes of her life during this time.
Her other comics projects include Dear Tita – a commission Natasha worked on last year from the human rights organisation Front Line Defenders as part of their Cypher Comics project, to work with Tongan activist Ofa-ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki and illustrate one of her stories.
“Ofa is the Director and Founder of the Women & Children Crisis Centre in Tonga,” Natasha notes on her web site, “and chose a grave story about child abuse for me to illustrate. The full zine can be read online or subscribed to here.
“The museum has never featured web cartoons before, and we are delighted to be working with Natasha to introduce her unique worldview to our visitors,” says Joe in a blog post for the Museum. “The exhibit will incorporate original artwork alongside animation, all designed in partnership with Natasha.”
As well as developing new exhibitions and working on its physical re-opening, the Museum team have also revamped their web shop with a more user-friendly experience – and have continued to run virtual events, including online workshops for the first time during the Easter half-term. Learning Officer Steve Marchant taught children how to draw Beano characters, create their own superheroes, and learn to draw Manga-style artwork.
“With the success of the workshop we will be running them again during the June half-term,” Joe announces. “Children can also keep their pen-hand active with the free cartooning resources on our website.”
The Cartoon Museum is located at 63 Wells Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 3PT. The nearest tube station is Oxford Circus (exit 1)
FML Comics is the collected autobiographical works of Natasha Natarajan, spanning from 2016-2020. An opportunity to be inside the mind of a 20-something British-Indian woman, we see Natasha navigating the 21st century in both heartbreaking and hilarious ways. As Natasha puts it, “I hope it lets you connect to the experience of being human – completely flawed, fucking confused, overwhelmed but still mostly laughing.”
In July 2020, Front Line Defenders launched Cypher (@cypher_comics on Instagram), a digital comics magazine available as a PDF, that advances the organisation’s storytelling and narrative framing work in collaboration with and in support of Human Rights Defenders.
Working with artists from around the world, including the award-winning visual storyteller, Beldan Sezen, as creative director, the ’zine is a monthly publication featuring stories of HRDs, their work and the challenges they face.