Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 51, Tuesday January 27, 2008




Extravaganza of motifs

Nilufer Ahmed, who had her solo exhibition at Drik recently, combines her knowledge of designs and fabrics with finesse. She has studied at Ecole de Beaux Art, Paris, and at New South Wales, Australia. In Japan, furthermore, she learned the Japanese method of painting on fabrics like silk, where, instead of colours, they use rice, which is tinted with natural dye.

Combining her perception of fabrics at Dhaka with what she has gleaned overseas in places in America, Europe and Japan, she has now come forward to present them with perception of the crème de la crème of the east and west. Kangaroos, reptiles, large bugs, butterflies and exotic flowers plus their leaves, stems and tendrils present the nonpareil flavour of a designer with a flavour for selection -- aimed at the upper echelons plus the haut bourgeois of society.

Starling emeralds, saffron, maroons were combined with other earthy colours and contrasting hues worked well on her fabrics. Kimonos, neckties to be flaunted by both the sexes for European styled attire, sophisticated skirts and blouses -- to be matched either by chic pants or trendy shalwars were there, with the background of the swirling and billowy jamdanis and Rajshahi silks, that trailed the Drik exhibition walls like sweeping brilliant, giant skirts.

Whether on silks or jamdani, the colours and designs caught one's attention, as they vibrated with joie de vivre. Like many successful artists and designers, Nilufer has had the constant support of her family, friends and acquaintances.

In the saris Nilufer had stuck to the eastern motifs and designs. There was khari (gold colours) in the centre of the flowers-- their edges plus the intertwining leaves plus tendrils, the paisley motifs on the anchals, borders and edges. The selected colours were mostly earthy ones combined with scintillating turquoise, subtle saffron, mesmerizing maroons -- along with green and dramatic jet-black. At times stark egret white was combined with the jamdani's traditional geometrical patterns.

Nilufer's special entrées were the large kimonos with earthy and turquoise motifs. The designs on the Far East items were like waves, floral bursts and fans. Asked to comment on her neckties -- which were exceptional -- Nilufer said that they sold like hot cakes in Tokyo by people like the royal family female members, to flaunt with white suits. They contained motifs of cranes, bugs, and butterflies in particular. Some had brown and black scenes from Australia. "When creating the motifs for the ties, Nilufer was keeping conservation of the environment. This preoccupation with nature and its elements was continued on to the cool, casual tops -- which sometimes had the conservation of Sundarbans in mind.

Nilufer's exhibition was a roaring success and she has been happy to settle now in Bangladesh for quite some time -- where she hopes to experiment further, with her knowledge and skill gleaned from far flung countries with their treasure-troves of wealth.

By Fayza Haq



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