Books Banter

Sketch in Time

Meenakshi Bhaskar, Artistic Director, Bhaskar’s Arts Academy, Singapore, talks to us about their new comic book, designed specifically as a tribute to their Founders, KP Bhaskar and Santha Bhaskar.

How did the idea of this book come up?

Various ideas were explored to commemorate Bhaskar’s Arts Academy’s (BAA) 70th anniversary in 2022. One of them was to create a book that would celebrate and tell the story of our founders, KP Bhaskar and Santha Bhaskar. The BAA team wanted an easy-to-read book that would appeal to all age groups and therefore the Amar Chitra Katha style was chosen. BAA then reached out to local children’s author Abhirami Krishnasamy to take on the project, who by chance was already planning to write a book on Mr & Mrs Bhaskar, her teachers. Things quickly fell into place after that. Abhirami introduced us to illustrator Sayan Mukherjee and publisher World Scientific Publishing.  

Why did you choose to go the illustration way?

Children of Indian descent have learnt about mythology, fables and even Indian historical figures from a comic series called Amar Chitra Katha. These books conveyed the story in an easy-to-read manner and were a popular way to introduce children to the stories from their culture. We wanted a book that would be accessible to as many people as possible. The actual story of how Mr Bhaskar had his start in the arts is dramatic, as is the story of how he chose and married Mrs Bhaskar. This is the story of a pioneer of dance in Singapore, and of a South Asian migrant, which is still relevant in so many ways. The vibrant and colorful depictions convey the story in a novel way, and allows readers to finish it in one sitting.

Who is the book meant for? 

The book was written so that even young children could be engaged by the story. We wanted to reach all demographics. The extraordinary life of Mr & Mrs Bhaskar is inspiring, considering their humble beginnings. They never gave up even during tough times. We believe it is a story that needs to be captured and preserved for future generations, and hope it can serve to inspire the many emerging artists around the globe.  

What can we expect from the book? Is it a biography on the lives of KP Bhaskar and Santha Bhaskar through the lens of dance? 

This is a story of KP Bhaskar and Santha Bhaskar, pioneers of dance in Singapore. It is also the story of South Indian migrants to Singapore, and how they started up. It is a story of the beginnings of a couple who strove hard to keep arts alive in Singapore through all the odds they faced.

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Supported by

Devata: Guardians of Dance

BLK D Goodman Arts Centre

#01-24 90 Goodman Road Singapore 439053