All art lovers are well aware that Bengal Gallery began its journey with an exhibit of Ferdousy Priabhashini. On May 24 she decided to link arms with her son Karu Titas, to include his oil paintings. This served as a backdrop for her driftwood sculpture. This makes the 12 day-exhibit all the more interesting. The exhibit is called “Light and Shadow”.
Ferdousy, as we know, was encouraged by the maestro S M Sultan. As she went along her walks in the city she picked up rejected wood, which reminded her of elements in everyday life. Her ‘Soul Mate’ appears to be a caressing couple. It brings to mind Rodin’s immortal ‘Kiss’. The intertwining figures are locked in passion and admiration for each other. Her ‘Time Incongruous’ (2012) is a dainty woman, sitting pretty and doing her hair, at leisure. “Utopia” done the same year has two wild birds, with long beaks, perched on a tree branch.
In “Mother”, which was also done last year, like many of her driftwood pieces has a lamenting woman—its pathos is touching –and brings to mind the Freedom and Language Movements. These are two subjects on which Ferdousy has worked profusely, and won much admiration. Her “Quest” has a hungry bird, with a song neck and beak, apparently hunting for its nest meal. “Light and dark” is a piece of a trunk of a tree which has its top shaved off—so that it catches the light. It stands on a pale piece of wood. As Moinuddin Khaled puts it’ One can imagine the expanse of the tree and how it grows. Her work speaks of the roots spread, the depth of the earth.” It is as if she wishes to capture the soul of the tree. Her message, like many artists, is contentment in returning to Nature.
‘Adorned Within’ within has large fleshy leaves growing against a trellised house and ‘The Scarecrow Garden’ where the scarecrow is reading in the garden a news paper in front of a house made of sticks, straw and mud. ‘Naturescape’ is an arrangement of leaves , some rowing upwards and others at a slant. The leaves are contained in a long bamboo, carved out container. This is placed against a brick and clay backdrop. All her pieces show the painstaking detail that is characteristic of this artist and her determination to bring out the mysterious peace that nature can bring.
Complementing Ferdousy’s remarkable work are the landscape paintings of her son Karu Titas—who has a formal training at the Department of Fine Arts, DU. As a free-lance painter, his work is included in the Henrik Ibsen Gallery in Oslo, Norway. Like his mother, he too dabbles in working with light and shadow. Abstraction is what he craves after—yet once he explains his work they appear easy to follow. Each piece tells a story.
His ‘Nature’(acrylic on canvas) has shades of emerald green,
jade and snow white. We notice a depiction of houses, walls and windows as we also do in ‘Nature-3′ again an acrylic on canvas. This has shades of bluish purple, ochre, red and white. One finds rectangles and squares to build up the story in paints.
His five boats, done in gray and black, bring to mind the boats done by the senior artist, Syed Jehangir, (who recently had a show at “Shilpangan”). The sky, water and horizon is done in white sketches –geometrical in shape—to bring in the distant high-rise. The beach in front is in pale gray to bring in the mud that gathers on Bangladeshi river banks.
‘Still Life’, an acrylic on canvas, depicts an old door with its creaky divisions, latches and other details in beige, pale gray, light blue with fine lines of jet –black, a hint of amber and streaks of sunflower yellow. His “Nature-2”, acrylic on canvas, another abstract piece brings a tin-shed covered with red polythene and stones to keep it supported. Sticks and stones are added for effect.
Ferdousi’s subtlety and balance of tones bring peace and contentment. She indulges in nostalgia, like most artists. The ghostly appearances of her work have sometimes brought to mind the colonial days, with the Sepoy Mutiny. She can make one think of moonbeams, clouds and trees from broken bricks and stones—along with leaves and tree trunks. Despite lack of academic training, she has created a niche of her own. Her vision remains that gentle and feminine. She is here to soothe the weary world. Her panorama remains enormous and overwhelming.
The works of mother and son brings about an unusual harmony in a world seen as a place of calm, subtle beauty.