Published: 18th November 2020
This artist just illustrated in vivid detail what's awesome about every district in Kerala. Here's why it rocks
Noufal S has recreated the map of Kerala with the important landmarks in each and every district. Here's why it's an artistic experience you must not miss
This Keralapiravi, Noufal S, had a special gift in store for his fellow Malayalis. The 20-year-old artist mapped every district in the state with an illustrated representation of what makes all 14 of them special. Take a close look and you can find the legendary race boats of Alappuzha, Kochi’s metro line and the secretariat standing proud on what he has labelled ‘Nammale Thironthatam’ (Our Trivandrum in the local slang).
What made Noufal create this masterpiece of statehood and pride? “I myself am from Poovar in Thiruvananthapuram. I started with a single canvas where I doodled everything that people loved about the capital. This went viral on my social media and people responded with a lot of love. So it was pretty clear to me the rest of Kerala would appreciate this on a larger canvas. Especially since the state’s founding day was approaching, I wanted to create something that would remind each of us why our birthplaces are special.”
Noufal S, Artist
It took Noufal almost 2 months of drawing — spread across long nights — after his freelance work to complete the work. His focus was on landmarks and what stands out the most in each district. Although he consulted a few good friends in Kochi and Thrissur, most of his work was based on his own trips to various districts during college excursions and trips with his friends. Even the internet didn’t have all the answers he needed, so he took care to really put the research in.
“A lot of work went into creating this, I spent every free second in perfecting it, so it brought me a lot of joy when people responded to it so quickly and with so much love online,” he says. The moment the illustration was posted online, Noufal received an onslaught of phone calls and messages from Malayalis all over the world including celebrities in Malayalam cinema like Joju George.
EARTH CRY: Noufal likes to make people think with his work
Noufal explains that he got into the world of art to, essentially, prove a point. “Where I come from, many people hold this opinion that you won't earn any money if you work in art. There is this opinion that artists have no future. One major reason why I got into the industry is that I wanted to prove to the world that art can help you get ahead in the world and make an impression on people. So I worked really hard with the intention of showing people what design is. And slowly, people started to see the importance of art through my work, and I consider this my biggest achievement.”
Using his Instagram handle Kuttipencil (little pencil), the artist likes to focus on themes that are funny and makes people think at the same time. Since he was a kid, he was inspired by Malayali comedians like Harisri Asokan and Salim Kumar. When the lockdown was first declared, he used caricatures of them to create illustrations that carried thoughtful messages in an attempt to make social media users chuckle in addition to helping them learn about the pandemic and how to stay safe during it.
“I think laughter can drive a point across much more strongly than anything else, so I have always been drawn to a comedic angle. I’m inspired by cinema and people’s stories, and try to bring that across in my work to try and touch people where it matters.” he says. Noufal’s mapping days are not over yet. When the dangers of the pandemic have passed, he hopes to meet COVID warriors across the state and country in person and map out their efforts to celebrate the brave front people have put up against the virus.