Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 28, Tuesday, July 13, 2010



Special Feature

Art Hub @ Gulshan-2

The art of business
Recently, a 1932 Picasso painting, Nude, Green Leaves and Bust was sold at an auction for a staggering $106.5 million. It shows the lust and obsession for art, the invincible power held by paintings.

If you are an art lover, you don't always need to attend an auction and spend millions, though. Bangladesh, rich and vibrant, is home to many breathtaking works of art.

And if you are planning to buy one of them, paying a visit to North DCC Supermarket, Gulshan-2 (opposite to Hotel Westin) will definitely be worthwhile.

Picture this
As you reach the upper floor of the shopping mall, your frame of mind immediately shifts to an arty, thrilling and curious one. Beside the clean corridors are some shops offering paintings and arts, while others display antics, unique artefacts and interesting devices such as a marine chronograph. The picturesque and the environment bring you in a mood to spend some time appreciating art, and buying one.

A closer look…
The market has a wide range of collectibles for you, making notice of your unique mindset, intention and usage, choice, taste, personality and budget. Many stores sell paintings made by students and graduates of Charukala Institute who are yet to complete their journey to fame and acknowledgment. You can get paintings of different sizes and lengths, and of different genres, with an abundance of abstract, figurative and landscape art. The subjects of painting are ample in number too.

When buying from these stores, make sure you bargain with the price enough. Seeing your fascination for a particular work, a shop may charge an unreasonable price. Negotiate tight, and you'll be surprised how low prices of some paintings may get.

But what ultimately strikes in a customer to decide which painting to buy? What's actually in? “It entirely depends on one's taste. You like a painting, you have the money- you buy it”, says a store manager. It's as simple as that.

Overall, business is good. Another seller observes, “People are now more interested in art than ever. With a positive change in tastes and preferences, a steady rise in the standard of living, and with so many families moving to their own apartments, the need for having a piece of art is growing”.

Among all the stores, Saju Art Gallery stands out of the crowd. It has been in the scene for decades and boasts its rich collection of paintings of renowned artists such as Quamrul Islam, S. M. Sultan, etc. The walls of the huge store space showcases mesmerizing art pieces, and while the paintings are relatively more expensive, they just deserve it.

Saju Art Gallery is also organizing an exhibition of paintings of reputed Bangladeshi artists from 7th May to 6th June; most of the paintings are for sale.

Faking it
So, you spend a lot of time searching the market for a particular piece of art made by a renowned artist and then you pay a hefty sum to purchase it. But afterwards, you discover it's actually a fake! That's like a stab in the chest!

Indeed, there are many fake copies out there claiming to be original. But keep your cool. There is a way out. When you are suspicious whether the painting is original, first check if the maker is available or not. Try to pay him/her a visit. The creator will be more than happy to verify whether something is his/her creation or some cheap replica. But if you cannot meet the artist, still no worries. Get hold of an expert (such as a faculty member of Charukala) to assure the art's authenticity.

Frame it up
The stores will also frame pictures for you. So, if you happen to be an amateur artist yourself, or, you want to encourage your child by framing one of his drawings, then it's is a good place to try. You will have a huge variety of frames to choose from, with a vast price range: from about Tk 100 to Tk 3000 per running foot. You may want to buy a glass covering for your art; that's going to cost you at least about Tk 75 per square foot.

Whether you want to frame a picture or buy an art, or just simply have an urge to check out some paintings, Gulshan-2 Market is a suitable place for you. Although the number of stores may not be very high, the few stores that are in there have a lot of spectacular arts to show off. Thus do take some time-off and wonder on those corridors of the first floor of the market to be lost in an amazing world of arts.

By M H Haider

99 cents

99 cents. Yup that's what I paid per piece for those little guavas, the ones with the reddish/pinkish centres. They didn't taste very good actually, probably off-season, wrong American fertilizer, not the right kind of kisses from the bees. But I couldn't walk away from the fruit section of Dean & Deluca without picking up at least two of those little round greens that made me go “I guess I do miss Dhaka more than I realize.” What does a girl know! Sometimes the answers are in overpriced bitter tasting guavas…

I walked out to the familiar brick path making my sundress give an extra swing, spring air fondled under it, the sun blessed my dark brown hair. “I belong here,” I told myself. Shop windows flaunted summer colours, the abundance of products and the availability of just about everything around me made me feel lucky, I felt free. Yet I performed that freedom not for the ones around me but projected it towards a land far, far away.

I am irrational and impulsive. I don't think of the future or the past and sometimes not even the present. I only depend on the feeling that balls up inside and then follow it. I make prolonged trips to Bangladesh and move back, tie myself to people and things to make me understand what I want. And then I think I discovered something, joining in this performance for Bangladesh with the rest. And if/when recognition comes and maybe even respect one wonders "is that what you really wanted?" To be defined by the invisible but very existent audience?

I move away, back to the states. And I feel great! I go for runs and go to bed early, not see anyone for days, turn off my phone and drown with content. When I resurface I put on clothes that I never thought I would get to wear again.

That is until I bump into those little guavas and a rush of feelings flood my inside. I think of the last monsoon, the last traffic jam, last laughter. I think of the load shedding, the mosquitoes and the everyday banter with the bua. And I am not even sure if I miss any of it, but I keep thinking of them all, just like that, on repeat.

With my past on repeat, I bite into the 99 cent guava and I feel cheated. Why wasn't it a full dollar, a round number, a 100%? And I wonder if my life will also be stuck somewhere between some decimal like .99 that Americans seem to love so much that they must add it after all things for sale. I have filled my closet with things that ended in .99s and my fridge and my house. I try to find something that was even, just big zeros even. But no, I find nothing, even the water I drink pouring out of a filter system off the faucet was bought with something .99.

I resign and realize nothing is entirely whole including my memory and my feelings, the performers and the performance for Bangladesh, nothing I own, nothing I sold, nothing I remember… And decimals, I figure out, decimals, that is the root of all my problems.

Art under Microscope

If you are totally obsessed with paintings, and you want to get deeper into this ingenious world, then an art appreciation course might just be the thing for you.

There is also a possibility that it might not be the thing for you, though. Just because you are fascinated by the mysteries Mona Lisa hold and bewildered by the controversies surrounding The Last Supper, doesn't mean that you are actually going to enjoy an art appreciation course.

This course might not always be fun for everyone. Some of it, for example, might involve learning the approaches and methods of various artists from various eras, which might get boring to many.

Hence, browse before you leap! Have a feel about art appreciation courses by surfing the web. There are many videos, even full online art appreciation courses that you can first try.

If the WWW doesn't satisfy your thirst, or it's not just the way you want to learn about art, then the best thing is to get enrolled in an art appreciation course.

Get the course outline. Read through the course contents so that you can judge whether you like it or not. Bishwa Sahitya Kendra frequently conducts such programs. One of its courses held not too long ago, included topics such as methodologies and grammar of art, art in various civilizations, art in our Indian sub-continent and art in Bangladesh. There were 36 classes in that course, for which the payment was Tk 2000. Alliance Francaise is another place to take this course, though the fee is higher: Tk 4000, according to the last art appreciation course they held.

By M H Haider

Check it out

Hansan hand sanitizer

PURNAVA Ltd. has taken an initiative to keep hands clean, even without soap and water. Hansan hand sanitizer is a great means to keep the hands hygienic and healthy. It kills 99.9% of germs without any water. Its germicidal formula eliminates a spectrum of bacteria that people come in contact with everyday. It evaporates from hands leaving no odour or residue. Available at pharmacies near you, the Hansan hand sanitizer comes in two sizes, 60ml and 200ml, priced at Tk110 and Tk160 respectively.

Irresistible Monsoon offer by Kaya Skin Clinic

It’s monsoon and you can play a lot with your look this season because Kaya Skin Clinic has a lot to offer! Kaya brings you the most irresistible summer offer ever! It is offering a complete head to toe combo this July with a package of the four most suitable products for your skin and hair to use in this season along with the Everyday radiance service for a radiant and healthy looking skin all day long. Head to toe combo will cost Tk4800. Check out the Kaya Skin Clinic and explore your look for the monsoon!

Pepsodent Germicheck Plus
PEPSODENT Germicheck Plus, one of the leading brands of Unilver, is being relaunched in the market, with Shahrukh Khan as the brand ambassador. Regular brushing with the new improved Pepsodent Germicheck Plus gives the assurance of making teeth upto 95% germ free. In this series of Pepsodent ads Shahrukh Khan plays the role of a father making his son conscious about the various germs that are present in the teeth and teaching him to brush daily with Pepsodent Germicheck Plus. Shahrukh Khan had previously acted for other Unilever brands but this is for the first time that he is promoting Pepsodent Germicheck Plus.


Taking Control of PMS

It is important for a woman to take charge of understanding her PMS patterns and learning about what's happening within her body. Only then can she realistically evaluate their effects on her life and make informed decisions about management. Most women find that PMS responses occur in varying degrees during the last 3-14 days before their periods begin and although responses tend to follow patterns, certain months may be better or worse than others.

Although the causes of PMS are not totally clear, medical research points to the changes that occur in hormone levels before menstruation begins. A working definition of the cause of PMS is simply that PMS is the result of "a less than perfect ovulation", which usually stems from a hormone imbalance. Research substantiates this definition with findings that show PMS responses may well be caused by the way oestrogen and progesterone (the menstrual hormones) interacts with other chemicals generated in the brain.

There is new evidence showing that low levels of serotonin, an important chemical produced by the brain, may in fact be the major cause of PMS responses. Serotonin helps regulate sleep cycles and carbohydrate metabolism and influences the regulation of oestrogen and progesterone. Women with PMS tend to have low and varying levels of serotonin - a condition that can cause early or delayed ovulation and trigger an imbalance of oestrogen and progesterone.

PMS and Appetite Surges
There is a theory that the common PMS response of increased appetite with cravings for carbohydrates may be caused by low serotonin levels. The theory is that when serotonin levels are low, the brain signals the body to eat carbohydrates, which in turn stimulates the production of serotonin from its naturally occurring amino acid.

Although there is scientific substantiation for appetite increases and food cravings associated with PMS, there is value in following special, individually prescribed diets for PMS patients. Restricting sugar, salt and fat content generally helps decrease bloating and swelling, while avoiding caffeine, sugar, nicotine, and alcohol eases irritability and improves sleep patterns. Dietary recommendations for PMS sufferers vary from woman to woman, and because women with PMS can have other underlying conditions such as hypoglycemia and high blood pressure, special assessment and management are necessary prior to making dietary recommendations.

What Works In Managing PMS?
Since both menstrual cycles and PMS responses are variable, caution must be exercised before pronouncing a "cure." The reason for caution is that even the most positive effects can be short lived, and management variation may be required for successful results to continue.

Regular aerobic exercise (1 hour sessions 3 - 5 times per week) is beneficial and may reduce PMS responses because it increases production of endorphins (the body's natural painkiller), which in turn may raise the serotonin level. Vitamin and mineral supplements - especially vitamins B-6 and E and calcium and magnesium - are often effective in lessening PMS responses such as breast tenderness and bloating. Certain relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises or visualization and biofeedback have also proven therapeutic in reducing PMS responses. In certain cases, birth control therapy in the form of oral contraceptives is used to suppress and regulate ovulation and lessen PMS responses overall. Since synthetic progesterone used in certain birth control pills has actually been shown to cause PMS, great care and experience are necessary in managing this therapy. Other management involves antidepressants, which raise levels of serotonin. These medications have proven to be very effective in managing PMS responses because they block the break down of serotonin in the brain and increase the amount of serotonin present. In rare situations where PMS responses are severe, conditions are not sufficiently improved by any medications or other therapies and when pregnancy is not the objective, a surgical procedure involving a partial hysterectomy can be considered. In certain well qualified cases, this surgery has enabled women to lead PMS-free lives.

Each woman is unique - just like the delicate balance of hormones within her body. PMS assessment and management should be done by a qualified physician who is experienced and specialized in this area. PMS doesn't disappear instantly. There will always be good, better and best days, but by taking control of PMS and learning how to live life out from under the PMS black cloud, it is very possible to learn how to feel better all month long.

By Dr. Reaz Feda



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