The Aminul Islam Award 2013 was an overflowing gathering of artists of all age. Art lovers had poured in too on Thursday evening at The Bengal Gallery premises. Artist Aminul Islam (1931-2011) is amongst the first generation artists and a leading member of the pioneering modern art movement in Bangladesh. His family has introduced the Aminul Islam Young Artist Award.
Abul Khair, chairman of Bengal Foundation said, “All the ten artists deserve prizes. They are so good. Even the ones not selected were superb. We did not know what to leave and what to take.”
Veteran artist Rafiqun Nabi said, “Aminul Islam Sir always had great weakness for those who experiment and try to find a new way, as doing woodcuts back in those days. Earlier too, he gave awards for drawings, for Art College students. After his death, his family donated the money, one lakh each, that being a handsome amount for each two artists. They are for artists up to the age of 40. This is encouraging for young artists.”
Monirul Islam, who lives in Spain and who helped judge the paintings said, “There has been entrance of the works of many artists. For the show, ten of the best were selected. On the second anniversary of Prof. Aminul Islam, it is a very good move from his family to promote younger artists. There is a variety of styles and subjects. All the paintings have a different outlook. In the art world it is difficult to decide which piece is better than the other. The jury agreed also on the prizes. This definitely brought in new ideas and ways.
The young artists can send their work through the internet for international acclaim. The internet also widens their knowledge. The universal tendency can communicate with other parts of the world.”
Anisuzzaman Sohel, who won one of the first prizes, says he uses flowers and doves at times to camouflage the negative images of the butcher’s knife. “This is to reduce the ugliness of what I am presenting. I am trying to show that man is never at peace. He is haunted in his dreams, and hunted down like an animal, with sharp traps, while he goes about the business of making a living in this world. I try to make the paintings attractive. When the audience stands in front of the picture, there is a self-reflection with the glass, in front. It was in Japan, where I learnt the use of the importance of black dramatic colour. There is the fear element created by images, like the armoured fighter of the Middle Ages, the vulture’s skeleton, the animal trap and the sharp, ugly knives. From such feelings and ideas the works are done. They were shown before at my solo at the Dhaka Art Centre, not long ago, and the paintings, on the fourth floor, occupied many rooms. The six pieces are framed together as in one. They are called “Neutral Correlators.”
Md. Alamgir Hassan, one of the participants said, “The Savar Tragedy is what I wish the viewers to keep in mind by this video, which is of five minutes. Many events take place by which we forget the past ones. The news media rushes on to the next carnage and burning. There is irregularity in our activities. There is not much sense in what propaganda leads us to do. The hartals for instance are a hindrance to the nation–when education and business suffer”. Incidentally, video art is getting popular and common in Dhaka.
“Portraits of Ambiguity” mixed media on paper, by Ruhul Karim Rumi bring in portraits of the older generation with stripes of red on them. They bring in the aging and withered men with white beards and moustaches. There are pinched dried lips. These people are from the “chor’ area and have constant fear in their minds. There is agony in the eyes of all the old people.
Farzana Ahmed Urmi has painted her husband and a close friend of hers, who came to visit from USA. Urmi has also sketched her “bua” (house-help) and a natural scene of her surrounding. The paints are thick, dark and impressionistic.