23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Sarnath Banerjee
© Mhd Roshan

Sarnath Banerjee

Sarnath Banerjee, born in 1972 in Kolkata, is and Indian comic author, illustrator and publisher. After studying visual communications at Goldsmith College at the University of London, he published his first graphic novel »Corridor« in 2004. Like his later works, this book deals with the fast-changing Indian society and also gained a great deal of attention in the West. »Corridor« is seen as one of the first Indian graphic novels and it brings together autobiographic elements with a fictitious storyline. The book is about the owner of a bookstore who philosophises with his customers over a cup of tea about the changing world. Banerjee’s drawing style is realistic with light caricaturing elements, and his tone is marked by a bizarre, melancholic humour. »Corridor« received praise for its examination of stereotypes, myths and morals in post-colonial India and for its criticism of mechanisms of rule. Banerjee’s second graphic novel »The Barn Owl’s Wonderous Capers« (2007) is about scandals and eccentric experiences in Kolkata of the 19th century and their influence on contemporary personalities in the city: Shalom Hakon is a trader who has contact to the business elite in a world full of scandals, which he records in a book in the style used by the tabloids. In 2011, Banerjee published »Harappa Files«, his third graphic novel, which picks up stylistically on historical illustrated storybooks. Using 41 short episodes, Banerjee provides »a kind of phenomenological stock-taking of present India« (»NZZ«). An extended stay in Berlin inspired Banerjee to create a subjective archaeology of the »material world« of the city. He combined longer texts with illustrations and photos to do so. The 17-episode series »The Hindu« was published in 2013. These works are »all about unspectacular observations and encounters in which past and present overlap« (»DB ArtMag«). Banerjee’s works »reflect the absurdity of everyday life in the big city just as the Euro crisis and use Berlin as the starting point for intelligent reflexions.«

In addition to his own work, Banerjee also publishes comic stories with other authors at Phantomville – the publishers he founded. He became internationally known with his art event which plays with the aesthetics of the comic – his »Gallery of Losers«, which was shown on large screens during the 2012 Olympic Games in London, he presents the stories of sportsmen and -women who were almost successful on a panel consisting of image and text combinations.




London, 2004

The Barn Owl’s Wondrous Capers


London, 2007

The Harappa Files

Harper Collins

London, 2011