Wonderful world of Tayabuzzaman Topu
“If placed perfectly, a terracotta work can transform the ambience of a household", says artist Tayabuzzaman Topu. "Many people buy terracotta works these days. It has become a trend and symbol of lavishness and style too", he added.
Although Topu completed his Diploma in Ceramic from Dhaka University in 1982, he did not start working professionally until the year 1995. At his Mirpur residence, Topu set up his own gallery named Shilpo Chorcha where he regularly arranges exhibitions creating a platform for ceramic artists and giving them a chance to exhibit their work. Later in the year 2003, Topu introduced his work commercially by setting up Burnt Clay, an exclusive outlet for terracotta items situated at house no 2, road no 2, Block-B, Mirpur-10.
While musing over the theme of his work Topu showed us around his little gallery and private studio where all his work is prepared. He has even set up a furnace beside the studio. Processed clay lay on the floor beside the furnace. This motivated artist explained how natural items like terracotta can easily replace any synthetic item in the household and enhance beauty at the same time. Starting from dining table, bedroom to kitchen, terracotta has a place in every corner.
Topu also explained, how increased production of terracotta items can play a role in reviving the traditional work of the Paal community of Bangladesh. "Our Paal community is almost in the verge of extinction. The trend of terracotta art that we see today can create work for them. People belonging to the Paal community are born with the skills they just need to modify their work, as the need for conventional pottery is no more." Topu thinks these people should receive training to step out of their condition. Not a man of mere talk, Topu has been training them too.
Also in the gallery premise Topu runs a training centre with the same name Shilpo Chorcha. Three-month courses are available at the charge of tk3000. Schedules are very lenient as most of his students are jobholders. Students can set their timing in accordance with their spare time. Topu takes theory and practical classes on terracotta, pottery, ceramic paintings and sculpture.
We also visited the outlet Burnt Clay set up in walking distance from the gallery. An assortment of items was on display at the outlet. Table lamps are definitely eye catching and a must buy. They cost tk250 to tk6000. Fruit bowls are priced at tk150 to tk500. Wall hanging mirrors cost tk200 to tk1000. A smart candle pot displayed at Burnt Clay is sure to make the environment more pleasant. Their prices range in between tk30 to tk1000. Terracotta ornaments are also available priced at tk70 to tk200. To create character and transform the dull space of your household, try one of the eccentric decorative pieces. Their prices range in between tk100 to tk500.
Tucked in a corner, away from the hub of the city Shilpo Chorcha or Burnt Clay did not quiet get the limelight it deserves. Simple yet stylish with a fusion of modern and traditional feature, Tayabuzzaman's work is unique both for household and office décor.
By Shahnaz Parveen