What is the use of Books Without Pictures?

Ragin Maria John covers the second session of Who Shall I say is Calling?

The second session of “Who Shall I Say Is Calling?” by Dr. Cheriyan Alexander, was about the disparities between visual art and text, and also between classical paintings and illustrations. This session was held in the Staff Seminar Hall, on the 14 February, 2017. Dr Cheriyan Alexander, the HOD of the Department of English started the session by quoting Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, “What is the use of books without pictures?”

He described the joy that he felt while looking through Phantom and Mandrake comics. He later went on to talk about his passion for comic books, illustrations and photography. In the first part of the session, he discussed the differences between artists and illustrators by showing paintings of a Spanish artist Francisco Goya and the illustrations of Norman Rockwell, an American illustrator.

Professor Cheriyan Alexander speaking at the event.

A documentary called ‘Norman Rockwell from the collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg’ was played. Lucas and Spielberg spoke about how Rockwell’s illustrations influenced them. Rockwell illustrated the cover page of the magazine, “The Saturday Evening Post”, where one of his illustrations was of a boy and his dad sweeping the leaves off the streets, their dog is lying down in the bottom, and the sea gulls flying to the west.

Right at this moment, the projector went off, which meant that the audience didn’t get to watch the complete documentary. The technical glitch called for Dr. Cheriyan to take the stage once again. “Human beings were imaginative, and the example for this is cave paintings and hieroglyphics. Drawing is a connection between the text and images”, he said.

He also added that in the present day, graphic novels narrow the gap between text and image.

“It was a really interesting session. I wanted to know more about Norman Rockwell”, said Midhun Hari, a PMC student. The session was concluded with a request from the audience to screen the documentary sometime soon, and with a quote from Dr. Cheriyan, “Pleasure of art, whether it is text or paintings, makes the life worth living.”

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