|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 82, Tuesday, August 25, 2009|
Blending memories with desire
MONICA Bose and Nazir- who very recently had their mind-whirling exhibitions at La Galerie, Zoom Gallery and Cafe La Veranda of Alliance Francaise, are certainly artists to reckon with.
Monica, has a law degree from the U.S. along with an enviable training in Fine Arts from the same place. In contrast Nazir is a younger self-taught artist. Nazir has won acclaim despite his comparatively humbler origin, that is, if one goes by foreign experience, influences and acclaims.
Monica Bose lives in a chamber de bonne in Paris. From there she executes her mixed media work, blending memories and historical facts of Bangladesh- where her parents have eventually retired after having worked in the U.S. On the eye-catching canvases, Bose has combined her eastern roots - based on the socio-economic and political scenarios of the past and the present.
She dwells on events such as the Language Movement and women's liberation, taking into recognition the custom of eastern arranged marriages and dowry hang-ups. Acid burning of women that sometimes ensues with excuses of unsatisfactory dowry is aptly portrayed.
These violent and gory scenes have been blended with peace-loving images of blood-red lotus and emerald, fleshy leaves that hold the blossoms up above the scintillating cobalt blue water. Smiling, toiling, working women, with their happy families in the vicinity, have also been delineated with care and careful consideration. These have been juxtaposed with flamboyant Bangla alphabets, which often frame and balance the compositions of Bose's homeland. As a consequence, the paintings - with their bright, contrasting colours - appear like rectangular and square presentations.
One is even reminded of European flags, with their oblong shapes and bold, crisscrossing lines- that divide but simultaneously hold together the canvas.
Bose uses a riot of colours. Her images too are innumerable. They have been done with swift and passionate strokes- driving home the artist's overwhelming emotions and rapid flow of thoughts.
Humans, rivers, birds, trees, flowers, elements of contemporary and historical scenes have been presented with buoyant and confident effects. She has included small installations of simple yet bright saris, along with rose and synthetic black heart-shaped images. Thus life, living and love have been summed up.
The warm, emotional, bright and breezy Nazir, with his green-red and black "badge of courage " on his forehead, overwhelms one. This he does with his innumerable paintings pulsating with dancing images, colours and lines. His work too is symbolic and bubbling with joie de vivre. The golden and black tigers with their cute, cuddly "cabbage patch doll"- like presentations, stand for both man and nature in his optimistic "Pot-chitra"- based creations. Hence his paintings are both forward and burst with proud recollections of the past glories of Bangladesh.
Planes, trains, rickshaws and "scooters" have been included in the paintings and so have been stars and moons, with smiling faces of their own. Flowing rivers, with endless waves, crocodiles, elephants, many-headed amiable cobras and unforgettable feathered friends, of all shapes and sizes, have been combined with mechanical elements such as gliding trains and whizzing aeroplanes.
Nazir takes you soaring up to the heavens and then brings you down to the plains- with details of Bangladeshi farmers, fishermen, cowherds, boatmen and the extravaganzas of their constantly working but radiant wives.
The radiant Bangladeshi couples, with their bright eyes and curvaceous bodies, apart from the rippling male muscles, are seen with borders of birds, animals and reptiles. The details of the borders and accompanying delineations lend interest to the flamboyant, dramatic presentations of the constantly labouring masses of everyman in Bangladesh, with her rich historical past - that goes back literally to centuries past - beyond the heydays of the Moghuls, the Sultans, the Hindus and the Buddhists of yesteryears.
Nazir may not be the mighty SM Sultan- but this successful upcoming artist too has envisioned the average individuals of Bangladesh as people to "write home about". Combating floods, famines and other recurring pestilences, the often-ignored people from the villages have been championed with admirable success by Nazir's paintbrushes.
Meanwhile, more senior artists like Hashem Khan, Rafiqun Nabi, Abul Barq Alvi, Alok Roy, Chandra Shekhar Day, Jamal Ahmed and Nisar Hossain have presented inimitable and triumphant proofs of their mastery in the "Shomokal-2" exhibition at Gallery Kaya, Uttara.
Hashem Khan's "Songs of trees" in shades of emeralds, jades and contrasting blacks and browns have swirls, lines and squiggles which present the heart of the dense trees and foliages of Bangladesh. Rafiqun Nabis' "Evening trains" in chalk pastel displays vehicles gliding through the cobalt blue and black, enveloping the surrounding sky. The simplicity of the colours and the lines present a master artist with an impact.
Likewise, "From nature" in gouache, by Abul Barq Alvi, proves beyond doubt the evergreen mind of a genius, who plays with abstraction to our untold delight. Alvi captures our fancy and imagination with simple, geometrical blues and greens, touched with dots of blood-red vermilion and pristine white.
In the same extraordinary manner, pleasing art lovers with the taste for the nouveau, Chandr Shekhar Dey's mixed-medium "Compostion-1" and Jamal Ahmed's "Buffalos", watercolour on paper, are serene in their silent command of shapes and hues.
The artists, with their unparalleled repertoire, surely present feasts for the mind and heart.
By Fayza Haq
On The Cover
With Ramadan starting up, get ready for double doses of fun throughout the shopping season as Lifestyle goes 16 pages all through this month. Flip through our pages for more
…for that special one
THIS is our effort to help you please that special one, or maybe just plain simply yourself. This week and in the weeks that will follow we shall suggest ONE special gift that you can make yourself. Week One: Napkins. Give it a try…
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