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Twined with nature

Khan Rezaul Hoq Bulbul is a man of many talents. An engineer by profession, he is passionate about collecting antiques and does not shy away from taking up the paintbrush or clicking on his recent acquisition - an SLR Nikon.

Now permanently based in the USA, Bulbul has the distinction of claiming that he has actually lived with SM Sultan. He has first-hand information about the various recorded reportages based on Sultan. The photographer had been allowed in SM Sultan's kitchen, and the nooks and cranny of his home. The experience of living at Norail, S M Sultan's place of origin, where he chose to be a recluse decades ago was perhaps, something rare more so to him because he was then only a young lad.

This photographer, whose on-going exhibition at Bengal Gallery, called 'Symphony with Nature' may not have studied to be an artist or photographer, but he has the know-how about photography and painting- even though these may not be his profession.

"I wanted to pack my bits and pieces, and travel all over Bangladesh. There is no point in presenting pictures of the depletion of flora in just Gulshan and Dhanmondi. Trying to preserve the ecology has been my endeavour, since I was a 'kid' and travelled with my 'dad."

Touching on his source of inspiration he says it is SM Sultan, who was a complete bohemian. "He was an amazing 'guy' who had his exhibition with Picasso, Matisse and Dali in London at Leister Gallery in 1953. If he wanted money, he could have been next to Picasso, who knows? He surely had a big heart to abandon Europe, so to say, and carry on with his depiction of the Bangladeshi farmers and labourers. Almost everything about him was unbelievable - such as his dancing and his flute playing."

What caught one's fancy, with the parley on the black and white exhibition was the bold and dramatic manner of the "against the light " photographs. There was harmony and flamboyance, which held one's interest if one looked close among the tree trunks, branches, leaves, flowers and tendrils. The depiction of some of the details, the specific angle at which the light was caught on these magnificent trees that told a thousand stories, was worth waiting for. Drawn to beauty and detail that one finds in nature, in all its innocence, Bulbul finds forms and figures evolving from photographs he captures.

By Fayza Haq


Nature redefined

They say, 'a thing of beauty is a joy forever'. However, 'a thing of beauty' and perfection is not easy to procure, nor produce; which is what makes it so precious.

Colours is what defines diversity, and hence, all creations of Mother Nature. It is also what defines an artist's palette, making it possible to be creative through boundless imagination.

NS Chowdhury, more popularly known as 'Dancy', is an artist whose work is definitely worth mentioning when it comes to creativity and imagination. Her creations, which depict colourful variations of nature, are pieces that can be called as close to perfection as possible; artwork that will truly take your breath away.

What makes Dancy's work special is that she has had no professional training whatsoever, and her introduction to the world of art comes from a passion that she has had from a very early age, and it is this passion that guides her as she creates each individual work of art. However, realising the importance of an academic background in upholding any form of work, she has recently joined the Honours program in Fine Arts at UODA.

The artist has already had two exhibitions in London; the most recent one was held at Harrow Art Centre last April, where her work was greeted with tremendous response.

Currently working with a three dimensional variation in flower, her work carries a marvellous appearance of 'feel' and her beautiful use of colours gives it an appeal that soothes the senses. She works with a variation of oil paint and watercolours. Every piece is completely individual, and none can be reproduced.

Dancy hopes to hold exhibitions in Dhaka very soon, where she hopes to receive as much enthusiasm as she did abroad. She also intends to work with more variant subjects in the future, as she gets professional training, but currently its 'flower power' that's drawn the attention of the artist! When asked where she gets her inspiration from, Dancy replies, 'I've always had a passion for art, but what made me actually work upon that is the constant encouragement that I've had from every member of my family all along the way.”

Contact: # 01912118378; nasrindancy@hotmail.com
By Farina Noireet

The window of my life

The original kitchen of our old, two-storied house is downstairs, outside the main building and is hardly ever used. We have improvised the back veranda on the upper floor as a kitchen. There is a huge window below, where we have placed the deep freezer - the top of which is my makeshift table.

When I eat alone, I do it there; when I need to cook and write something or perhaps, check my students' copies, I stand and do it right there.

The plot next to ours was a slum a few years back with many houses and endless people. Then it was sold and we heard that the new owners were going to build a twenty-storied shopping mall and block of flats. The tenants of the shanties were evicted and the whole place became almost deserted.

The window of my back veranda is literally the window of my life. I spent hours watching the people go about their day. It was as entertaining as any Hindi movie!

The lives of the slum dwellers, their fights, their sorrow, their laughter, and the antics of the children became a vital part of my day. I was quite distressed when I saw the last family move out with its meagre worldly belongings and felt as if my life would come to a halt.

Soon they built a group of shanties on one side and a little one next to our house in which lives the plot's guard, Shajahan. Shajahan came with his family, which comprised of his wife, sons, Shohag and Ibrahim, and daughter, Nahida.

In one of the shanties, live a couple and five children. The next one houses a beggar and her daughter who works at the office of the owners of the plot.

Once again my daily leisure activity of watching these people began. The beggar never fails to amaze me. The girl goes to work every morning. When she dresses up, she looks like any other normal teenager and not a beggar's daughter.

The lady cooks and finishes her chores in the morning. When she goes out begging, she dons her working gear namely torn sari, no blouse, and a large plastic sack to bring her loot back! In fact when she stays home, her clothes are not tattered and faded and she looks pretty respectable.

My favourites are Nahida and Ibrahim. Ibrahim is about five months older than my granddaughter, Sarah, and is always compared to her as far as milestones are concerned. When Sarah started being fidgety and wouldn't stay in one place, Ibrahim would sit quietly on a plastic chair and look around. When she started walking, he would still sit on his chair.

He must have been about twenty months before he started walking and then there was no looking back. He wants to run through the gate and on to the main road. Nahida is a gem of a girl for her age of about five years.

She takes care of her baby brother and helps her mum in any way she can. Sometimes I shudder to see her wielding a knife (boti) to cut something. I scream my head off but her parents are least bothered. I guess danger is part of their lives and they take it in their stride.

Looking at these simple people, I get a different perspective of life and I spend hours at my window watching the world go by. I would be heartbroken when the monster of a building springs up and spoils the view.

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