Vol. 5 Num 558 Wed. December 21, 2005  

Images that ignite passion

The cornucopia of paintings, prints and photographs, on display at Zainul Gallery-2, since December17, is a veritable feast of art pieces. Organised by Laila Sharmeen, the display is called The Taruntula. It harks back to the medieval legend of the spiders, and their dangerous mating game, and ensuing death. Sharmeen, in her opening speech, wished to drive home the point that at times the present generation is heading for disaster and destruction.

The soft and lyrical collection of images in Laila Sharmeen's works bring in her recurrent theme of a pristine past. Her subjects are entrancing women, boats, birds, cows, and blossoms. These are done in delicate, tiny shapes on a dream-like backdrop of romantic hyacinth hues. Laila's mastery in romantic prints has been admired before, in the recent past.

Sadrul Hassan Rafi's Emotional forms.. genetic code (Heart and cell) is brush and drawing, ink on paper work. This depicts blood cells seen though magnifying glasses, enmeshed on fine, torn blood vessels. It depicts the heart by a bright red, ovular spot on the left of the composition. It is in vermilion, black and pale chrome-yellow. The work pulsates with passion and mystery. It reflects dreams and angst.

Apurbo Roy, in his Shako, a dramatic woodcut, presents a bridge and its environment. This is in variations of black, grey, blue and flecks of muted white highlighted by more flecks of pristine blanche. The sweep of the bridge includes fish that have jumped on the subject from the river below it and is included in the remarkable composition. Around are poles, an integral part of the bridge, while the sky's horizon and the swishing waves below have all been included in the print with minute precision. The cubist creation is worth viewing and admiring. The bridge is a symbol of hope, progress and friendship, despite the deep shades used in the presentation.

In Denise Scheudent's Metamorphosis (mixed media) one gets a mind-sweeping entry from an Australian artist. Thick white and gray hand made papers, with tiny gold and silver flecks have gone into the composition. The three rectangles, based on a horizontal gray one, are enveloped by the base of soft white one. The central rectangles hold up the embossed images. One of the main images is a shell held by suggestive shapes of birds and butterflies. In the centre we find the circle of life, while below are more patterns of fish.

Shatu Shaha's Love-2, in digital graphics, brings in the awe-inspiring figures of Ajanta and Ellora in the unquestionable seductive pose of the god holding on to the seductive, bejewelled goddess, resting on his lap. This is juxtaposed on to a figure of a stark skeleton.

Resting goddess by Uttam Ghosh -- just back from Shantiniketan has the mysterious deity with "the third eye". On her bindya is a gliding, sinuous and tiny greenish snake: seen disappearing into the enveloping twilight behind her. Compelling was also the photograph by the visiting US photographer, Donnaa M Guenther, who has used her lens to delineate the devastating impact of AIDS in places like India and Africa. The photograph depicts a male child presenting a slate with basic Hindi alphabets.

One came away from the exhibit moved by the powerful works on display.

Woman with a Pitcher by Md Jalal Uddin