The Graphic Works Of Sukumar Ray
Ray’s literature was dominantly inspired by the works of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll. His illustrations that accompanied his poems in books like Abol Tabol, Khai Khai or novella Ha Ja Ba Ra La is unique in their own right. Ray’s illustrations are mostly character oriented, that depicts a particular character, fantastic or real ones. He rarely drew scenes and even if he did, that rarely is edge to edge, except his comic fillers. Thus we see boxing or panels very rarely in his graphic art.
Sukumar Ray, like his father Upendrakishore was not a trained artist. One cannot detect that from Upendrakishore’s illustrations but Sukumar’s works is faulty in places. Yet, he has his own style of drawing that made his fantastical characters from his literature come alive.
In another poem ‘Khudor Kawl’ that ridicules Bengali’s love for food, Ray blended his passion for mechanics and science with humour. In his final poem, the title poem of the book ‘Abol Tabol’, where the lines signals Ray’s own consciousness about his upcoming death, the cartoon accompanying the poem resembles much of his father, laughing out pointing at some geometric calculation on paper. It seems a tribute to Upendrakishore and Sukumar’s own passion for science and mathematics before his own death. He was a very scientific man and in his illustrations, which is very action oriented and European/Victorian in mood(sometimes he incorporated even European character,e.g.-there is clearly an European lady in the illustration for the poem ‘Kandune’ in the book Abol Tabol. In most illustrations the male characters are sporting European blazers and dhotis or sometimes blazers and baggy trouser combinations while the females are wearing sarees) , is very mathematical too.