Arif Ayaz Parrey on Mir Suhail’s oeuvre
Mir Suhail Qadri’s ever improving oeuvre has been one of the rare happy things happening in, and to, Kashmir in these particularly dark times. When he started off a few years ago, both the themes and the strokes were a little tentative. Kashmir’s cartoonist cartography has been dominated by the stark and minimalist art of Bashir Ahmed Bashir (BAB), the humour in whose drawings is instantly local, preoccupied with the development of shorthand for Koshur semantemes. The prodigious Malik Sajad rose to prominence around the time Suhail’s first drawings started to appear in public. Sajad’s forte is a mastery over the shape of things, particularly geometrical objects, and the interplay of light and shadow. His flavour is distinctly outward looking and, like much of the Kashmiri writing in English, in conversation with an external audience.
Suhail had to draw a new course for himself, even if subconsciously. Along with his namesake Suhail Naqshbandi, his labour has been a study in evolution. While Naqshbandi’s drawings keep seeking the grand metaphor, Suhail Qadri’s attempt to make the ordinary extraordinary. A cursory look at his work reveals how his drawings have become more full-bodied, the curves more definitive and the lines more imperial over the years. This is amply mirrored in his themes. What makes his work even more beautiful is the fact that it is a product of banter among friends and one can notice several people speaking through any series of cartoons. He is a people’s cartoonist.