Argha Manna
Artist-in-residence, HSS-IITGN
Email: argha.manna -AT-

Curators of Exhibition & Cultural evening

Argha Manna & Avani Varia

Date: January 21 and 22, 2023
Venue: Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India

Despite being an old method of storytelling, comics/graphic novels have recently emerged as new media. For the last few decades, in parallel to the world of superheroes by Marvel and DC, alternative comics have become one of the favourite tools to express and narrate personal stories, family history, pain, gender issues, environment, history and many other subjects matters that used to come under the umbrella of academic research. Alongside being an entertaining medium, comics have been emerging as a tool for teaching and critical thinking. But, a gap between academia and the world of storytelling through comics still exists. The idea of organising a comics conclave at IIT Gandhinagar is to bridge the gap by bringing the country's leading comics artists, comics scholars and academicians on the same platform. Our agenda is to engage them in making dialogues, exchanging knowledge and exploring possibilities and raising questions like: Can comics be used to bring social changes? As a tool, how can comics complement other visual and textual media to address environmental destruction, economic policies and sustainable developments? If Indian indigenous storytelling in sequence can be a useful storytelling tool for exchanging knowledge with the marginalized?

Invited Speakers

Orijit Sen, Graphic novelist, artist and designer
Talk: The Story behind River of Stories

Orijit Sen is a graphic artist, muralist, cartoonist and designer based in Goa, India. In 1990, he co-founded People Tree—a collaborative studio and store for artists, designers and craftspeople. Along with his wife and fellow designer Gurpreet Sidhu, he continues to lead People Tree's design studio—developing projects in-house as well as in partnership with organisations working in the arts and the social sectors.

River Of Stories is his first full length comic. Originally published in 1994, it is widely regarded as India's first graphic novel in English. Orijit is also co-founder of the Pao Collective of graphic artists, and chief editor of Comixense—a comic quarterly for young readers.

Orijit has served as Mario Miranda Chair visiting professor at Goa University, where he initiated an experimental arts and research project entitled Mapping Mapusa Market, involving students, educationists, and artists. He was also visiting professor at the Visual Arts Department of Ashoka University in 2021-22.

His work has been extensively published, exhibited and installed in India as well as internationally. 

Amruta Patil: Graphic Novelist and artist
Talk: Graphic Movement

Amruta Patil, writer and painter, is India's first female graphic novelist. She is the author of graphic novels Kari, the Mahabharata-based Parva Duology (Adi Parva: Churning of the Ocean and Sauptik: Blood and Flowers) and Aranyaka: Book of the Forest. In 2017, Patil received a Nari Shakti Puraskar from the President of India for “unusual work that breaks boundaries” in art and literature. She has recently co-founded a company that does non-fiction graphic narratives.

Sarnath Banerjee: Graphic novelist, artist and filmmaker
Talk: Water wars in Delhi, Addressing economic problems through comics

Sarnath Banerjee is a graphic novelist, artist and filmmaker from India and Berlin. He has published numerous graphic non-fiction from leading publishing houses from India. Sarnath’s published book titles are Corridor, The Barn Owl’s Wondrous Capers, The Harappa Files, All Quiet in Vikashpuri and Doab Dil. Sarnath is an internally acclaimed artist. His works has been exhibited at Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Sharjah Art Foundation and others. During the London Olympic 2012 he produced an art series called “Gallery of Losers” which narrated the shared history of competitive sport from a different perspective gained applause from art critics from all over the world. For the last couple of years, he has been working with Prof. Abhijit Banerjee (Nobel Prize in Economics Science, 2019) at MIT on a project titled ‘Water Wars’ to develop theatrical lectures on economic problems.

Nikhil Gulati: Graphic novelist
Talk: Time travel through comics: Exploring India’s past

Nikhil Gulati loves stories that evoke wonder and inspire compassion. He has written and illustrated graphic works for Puffin and Pratham Books, in addition to writing and illustrating several short comics on various themes. His most recent work “The People of the Indus” is a graphic novel on the history of the Indus Valley Civilization and has been published by Penguin India. He is a graduate of the University of Texas, Austin, and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. His work can be found at

Pinaki De: Comics scholar, educator and designer
Talk: The Sketchbook of Satyajit Ray and a missed encounter with Comics

Pinaki De is a graphic illustrator-designer who regularly works for renowned publishers like Penguin Random House, Harper Collins, Hachette, Routledge, Primus, Oxford University Press, Singapore University Press (NUS), Bloomsbury, Orient Blackswan, Worldview, Pan Picador, Simon and Schuster, Permanent Black, Alchemy, Sage, Roli, Sahitya Academy, Rupa, and many others. He has designed almost 500 book covers to date. He is the winner of the PublishingNext prize for the best book cover design in India twice in 2017 and 2019. He won the prestigious Oxford Bookstore prize for the best cover design in India at Jaipur Literary Fest 2017 and finished runners-up in 2021. His layout design on Satyajit Ray's archival manuscripts has drawn accolades from all across the globe. A Charles Wallace Trust Fellow, his Ph.D. is on comic’s theory. Pinaki is one of the editors of the prestigious annual magazine "Longform" (Volume 1 and Volume 2, published by Harper Collins and Penguin respectively). He is the Indian comics advisor of Mangasia, the biggest-ever exhibition on Asian Comics curated by Paul Gravett for the Barbican, London. Pinaki juggles his creative work with academics as he has a day job as an Associate Professor at Raja Peary Mohan College, Uttarpara. Presently he is working on his book-length work on Partition.

Debkumar Mitra: Founder and editor of Longform Collective, educator and painter
Talk: Longform – the long and short of it

Debkumar Mitra is a comics editor, a founder of Longform Comics Collective and an editor of Longform Comics Anthologies 2018 and 2022. A mathematics major from Jadavpur University he did his research on mathematical biology and dynamical systems. He is a Gordon N. Fisher Fellow from University of Toronto. A visiting faculty, National Institutes of Design, Debkumar teaches graphic narrative. His current interests include, graphic narrative styles, visual techniques, global comics movement and recreational mathematics.

Gayatri Menon: Design educator, researcher and artist
Talk: Traditional Indian storytelling

Gayatri Menon is a senior faculty at the National Institute of Design, NID with more than 20 years of experience in design education, research and practice. Currently, she heads the Design foundation program at NID. She did her two‐and‐a half‐ year postgraduate course in Product Design at NID after completing her graduation in engineering and a short stint in the industry. She conducts courses in the areas of Design methods, Design thinking, Systems thinking and approach, Creativity, Play and learning, Research methods, Visual fundamentals, Design for social concerns, Design for special needs etc. and guides students on design projects.

Event Highlights

  • Book Launch: 'River of Stories (25th anniversary edition)' by Orijit Sen
  • Talk & Interaction Dialogues between artists & scholars
  • Comics Exhibition & cultural evening
  • Book sale & signing event

Exhibition & Cultural evening at Art Studio

  • Exhibition: 21 - 22 Jan 2023, 4 to 8 pm
  • Cultural evening & light refreshment: 21 Jan 2023. 6 pm onwards.
OPEN to All - Walk-in


Registration is free

Registration for comics presentation in poster form

Registration cost: 2000 INR
Registration includes presentation space, attending talks, discussions, exhibition, bookselling event, and lunch.
Registration deadline: 19th January 2023 (12 AM)


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