Vol. 4 Num 76 Mon. August 11, 2003  

Delectable though derivative
Sixteen painters' exhibit at Russian Cultural Centre

The recent exhibition of 16 young artists' works at Russian Cultural Centre was interesting as far as experimentation went, although it was apparent to connoisseurs and critiques that a lot of the work was derivative. What was admirable about the compositions was the fact that they lent interest and spoke of romantic imaginations where colours and lines were not blasť. "What is laudable about the artists in this exhibition is that they are endeavouring and will surely mature with time," commented a critique.

One of Zahid Hasan Rony's works reminded one of Da Vinci well-known sketch of the near perfect male nude figure although the presentation had more details and had other figures of humans and other forms included in the aquatint sketch. The print was in beige, dull green, burnt sienna and white marble colours with delicate lines running through it. Black and white dominated the colour scheme. Zahid said that he went into printing as it was included initially in his subjects as he had requested for this medium to be included in his syllabus. He said that he did not face problems with finding a machine for his work, as many print makers do, as one was easily accessible at the Institute of Fine Arts where he studied. He said, "I like etching aquatint best and that is why I have included them in the show. This is although it is not easy using the acid on the zinc plate from which we get the print from the machine. The problems I face in print making is that one has to work very hard at it and I require an assistant to complete my work. It is necessary for an artist to have a clean print included in his/her premiere show." Talking about the artists who had inspired him Zahid said they included Mahmudul Haque, Abul Barak Alvi.

Talking about his sketch on oil paper entry, Khairul Huda Khan said, "It is neither a traditional painting nor a nouveau one. It is something that has been executed quickly. I have been influenced by the French Impressionist as is obvious." Khairul said that he had chosen the muted browns and beige to bring in minimization. He said that here in Bangladesh he admired the works Shishir Bhattacharya, and Jamal Ahmed although he tried his level best not imitate them although he was under the spell of Shishir Bhattacharya in particular and tended to play with details like him as regards the technicalities. Sheikh Afzal, Rafiqun Nabi, Nesar Hussain were also his teachers apart from the other two artists that he spoke of.

Speaking about his works, Kamrul Islam Nadim, one of the relatively senior painters in the exhibition, "I use oil and prefer dark colours in which I keep in mind that I must improvise and transfer on to the canvas what I'm seeing before me. I don't preplan my work. I can't say from the outset what colours I'll choose for my canvas." Nadim said that he was out to experiment and carry on his own brand of research as the subjects appear before the eye of his mind. He added that he did not hanker after getting quick results nor was he overly concerned about the easy appreciation of his viewers. About his work included in the exhibition, he said, "When I was doing this work of still life, presenting a heating cauldron, I kept the subject before me and tried to create an effect in my own way. I've thus tried to capture the nature of a boiling pot of rich food along with its environment. In this manner, I've tried to present the entire scenario of the cooks at work at a feast, with its heat, hustle bustle and rich aroma of delicious food. Even the last detail of the tiles under the pot have been included. The colour treatment contains my memory of witnessing a scene for cooking for a feast. " Asked which artists had influenced him, Nadim said that they included his teachers in his art department, at the time when the painting had been executed, Jamal Ahmed, who had inspired him to do that painting in particular.

What quite a few viewers admired were the works of Gupu Trivedi although one easily recalled their origins in the paintings of Quamrul Hassan and Rokeya Sultana. Trivedi's paintings were figurative and done in mixed media. In one of his works he had brought in female figures, and elements from nature such as flowers and leaves in warm buoyant cascading colours that sang with the tune of summer in Bangladesh. Trivedi had used acrylic, oil and the use of emulsion colours for texture and volume with oil giving it the effect of tempera of the Bengal School. The elements were modern, while the treatment was an old one.

The exhibitions included the works of Gupu Trivedi, Zahid Hasan, Karmul Islam Nadim, Anwar Hussain, Apurba Ranjan Biswas, Biplob Shaha, Tanvir Faisal, Salma Begum Sheema, Sardar Arif Kamal, Jalaluddin Ahmed, Mostafa Kamal, Fahmida Khatun, Tarana Halim, Neon, Khairul Huda Khanand Ferdous Khan Shaon.