COWS So Far!!

Unlike our already matured literature, music, art and film industry, both regional and national, Indian graphic storytelling largely remain infantile or under the shallow influence of alien invasion, due many misleading factors-from economic and socio political divides, complex burden of feudal morality, lack of enough serious animation academic, culture and appreciation, funding support, ethical practices and uneven distribution of resources and access. All these have weighed down on the growth of Indian Animation’s healthy eco system so far.

On the other hand, the uniqueness of NID’s animation film design curriculum has largely remained invisible and underrated due to the lack of wider awareness and absence of academic culture from the national agenda of Indian Animation!!!

Thus the birth of Chitrakatha, as a platform to build a slow and steady awareness across the nation amongst the students, academia, stakeholders and policymakers about the power of design education, with NID’s 50 years legacy of process-driven unlearning culture since 1961 as the backdrop.

In 2003, the immediate plan that came to some of our minds was to host an artistic student animation festival from National Institute of Design to celebrate its multidisciplinary nature and the power of design process. Assurance came from our like-minded alumni, international friends and some wise industry folks.

After 4 years of warm up, in 2007 with a very small budget, the 1st edition of Chitrakatha took off. Chitrakatha means Picture Stories in some Indian languages. The 1st edition surprisingly gathered different kinds of storytellers- from cartoonists, comic book artists, writers, folk singers, scroll painters, musicians, dancers to many master animators and designers from India and beyond under the theme ‘Everything Original’.

In 2009, the theme revolved around the heritage city of Ahmedabad and in 2011, the theme was ‘Back to Basic’. In Chitrakatha’13 we went back to the times of ‘Ancient Civilizations’. Then once again with aging warhorses we had to celebrate comrade McLaren’s birth centenary. So the 5th edition of Chitrakatha sang the happy birthday song for Norman McLaren, with ‘Love Your Neighbour’ as the theme.

Today Chitrakatha remains a confluence of thought provoking activities initiated by creative minds from the field of animation and storytelling with India and the sub-continent as its main focus/spotlight.

For Chitrakatha, sustainability is the challenge, multidisciplinary approach is the key and digital affordability is the horsepower! So this is another special year as our COW is still going strong even after a decade. This 6th edition will celebrate connecting two amazing yet under explored continents with the theme of ‘Afro-Asia’ from October 22 to 28, 2017.

The COW-show must go on…

The COW Force’2017