Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |   Volume 7, Issue 28, Tuesday, July 10, 2012



Office paints: touch of glamour

For years, art has been used to make the mundane appear more meaningful. A good art has the tendency to make even the dullest of spaces, look vibrant, drawing attention towards itself and lulling one into forgetting the blemishes in the foreground. Recently, art has left the halls and bed rooms of our homes and taken place in our offices. However, done wrong and it can send a wrong message and that's where the experts come in.

The painting in your office, says less about you and more about the company you represent. Clients will always look for clues to understand the company they are working with and wall paintings go some way into providing just that. Therefore, this is literally a round about way of painting your company a good impression.

For strict professionals, like bankers, the use of neutral colours provides a sense of security to the observer. Creative thinkers and workers, on the other hand, stand to make a better impression by use of vibrant, flashy colours. Such colours actually bring about a feeling of energy and can charge both you and your client up to move on towards the next space.

Abstract art, hence, does better than portraits. Unless the portrait is a familiar face to all, opt to keep it stored in your house only. Abstract art allows different perspectives to come forward and your own view of it may give people around you a better idea of you. Abstract art can also be used as a topic of discussion at times and go a way in building relationships.

Motivational posters have also gained prominence as office hang-ups in recent years. But posters lack the class and pizzaz of actual paintings. Although, paintings tend to be expensive, one can always opt to offer local painters their office as sort of a display area, thus ensuring continuous supply of new art, at no cost. This incentive helps the painters as well, as they too may gain a name and actually help sell their works.

To really put a painting in the spotlight, literally put it underneath a spotlight. When it comes to glorifying one's latest acquisition from the art world, lightning is a crucial factor. Without ample light, the painting may seem to have lost its lustre and its impact will be reduced. This is true especially for oil paintings, which look better in light, given all the protective layers. Without proper light, a painting will look dull. A nice spotlight glare will complement paintings and draw attention towards them quicker.

The painting of your choice can be behind the wall, in the waiting area or just about anywhere. Just remember that different locations appeal to different people. The waiting area is for clients, your room is for your personality and the staff room is for your employees. So choose a painting accordingly instead of randomly picking whichever one likes. Secondly, the wall which becomes the background of your painting should not contrast it directly, in terms of shapes and colours. Neither will a frazzled wall work. Remember those two factors as well.

Paintings provide your office with a touch of sophistication and beauty. Don't ever pass up an opportunity to impress!

By Osama Rahman
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Location: Winner's Creations Ltd


Athena- a platform for young artists

In economics, there is something called “barriers to entry” in a market. It can be very difficult for a newcomer to enter and settle down in a market. Artists, no matter how out-of-the-world they are, cannot escape from this hard truth.

It is indeed a struggle for new artists to make his/her works known and to make a name. It takes time and money and other resources. And, many of the young, aspiring artists may not have that.

This is where Athena, a new art gallery, comes in.

Athena Gallery's ultimate aim is to create a platform for talented, young artists who are yet to build a strong presence among the art lovers of Bangladesh. Athena Gallery is the platform where these artists can showcase their works, so that they have a fair chance of winning the hearts of art lovers.

But that doesn't mean Athena does not host artworks of the masters. It sure does. In fact, the gallery is home to paintings done by legends such as Shahabuddin Ahmed and Zainul Abedin.

Then, isn't there a conflict between Athena's aims of promoting young talents versus featuring the already established masters?

Actually, no. Nilu Rowshon Murshed, the chairperson of the organisation, explains, “We will promote new talents. That's the dream where our heart and soul lies. But since we are new, we want people to know about the gallery and first establish ourselves. That is why, alongside the young artists, we will also showcase arts of legendary artists to draw attraction and also gain a strong foothold.”

Murshed already has a definite plan how she can achieve Athena's goal.

“We will build a group of established artists -- the masters -- who will be a panel of judges to select those artists who have great talent and potential in this area. Then, we will hold workshops, train them, give them resources and hold exhibitions to highlight their works. All throughout, the panel of senior artists will coach and mentor and mould the new minds,” she informed.

Athena Gallery also have a small library. It is not a “library” as you might think; rather a small collection of books. But it sure is a good deal for the visitors -- after seeing the artworks; you can simply sit on a couch and flip through pages.

Athena Gallery is currently holding an exhibition that has started from 9 June. It will go on till 20 July. The exhibition does not only host paintings, but other forms of arts such as sculptures and art installations.

The exhibition is featuring more than 70 works; around 70 artists have taken part. Among them are legendary maestros such as Murtaza Bashir, Qayyum Chowdhury, Abu Taher, Monirul Islam, Shahabuddin Ahmed, Rafiqun Nabi, Sahid Kabir, Farida Zaman, Nasreen Begum, Kanak Chanpa Chakma and many more. But if you think this list is all, then a few amusing surprising are waiting for you at the exhibition.

Athena Gallery is a non-profit organisation that sprang out of an obsession towards art and compassion towards to new artists, given the hardships they face.

Athena is located at AJ Heights (2nd floor), Progoti Shorani, Uttar Badda.

By M H Haider



Just as plants turn their leaves to face the nearest window, humans crave natural light. Sunshine offers a healthy good feeling that is hard to beat, so it's no wonder that many of us dream of escaping for a few days to our village homes. While builders of modern homes are increasingly addressing our desire for natural light, this has not always been a priority.

It is important to note that there are also advantages to dark rooms. In spaces that receive little or no direct sunlight, there is no chance of sun damage, making them appropriate for beautiful furnishing fabrics and displaying treasured photographs and artwork. Dark rooms make good bedrooms. Waking up to bright light can feel uncomfortable, especially if you are not a morning person. A dim dining area can develop an enchanting evening retreat when painted in rich colours and bathed in candlelight. Dark rooms can be intimate and cosseting, so dress them in pools of warm, sculptural light and celebrate their moodiness.

The amount and quality of natural light a room receivers depend on the size of its windows and its orientation with regard to the sun. South- facing windows get the lion's share of direct sunlight for most of the day. East-facing rooms benefit from early mornings, while rooms that face west are sunny in the afternoon. Because it has its back to the sun, a northfacing room receives only indirect natural light and tends to be cool and dim.

This week we take a look at a different form of lighting which is not common in urban towns and cities but widely popular in rural areas. Oil lamps, also known as hajak or harican, are used for different lighting requirements in villages. Our photographer Sujan travelled through rural Bangladesh to catalogue their different uses.

In addition to children using oil lamps to study, women use them to cook their evening meals. The different local materials used are mashal, kupibati,prodip and bottle lamps. Village markets also use oil lamps to light their shops. Regionally, summer is the best time for fruits. Villagers use many techniques to protect fruits, vegetable and others crops from insects, birds, bats etc and it is not uncommon to hang oil lights on trees to protect their fruits. Oil lamps are also used in temples.

The advent of electricity has made our lives much easier than that of our forefathers. In using electrical lighting, it is important that we choose lighting plans that are practical and energy-conserving. Lowenergy lighting products are being developed at a phenomenal rate, so gone are the days when we had to compromise our lighting plans to reduce energy usage. LED lights are available in the market and refitting halogen lights with CFL or LED replacements leads to significant energy and cost savings.

I hope one day all our villages will be lighted with modern technology. The upcoming solar energy & electricity plants will hopefully give them access to national gridlines. But at present, the majority of rural Bangladesh still retains the romanticism associated with using oil lamps.

Interior Consultant
E-mail: journeyman.interiors@gmail.com
Photo Credit: B A SujaN / Map
Email: sujanmap@gmail.com


Don't let the rain kill you

By Ehsanur Raza Ronny

Rain is a blessing when it is in short doses accompanied with background music and preferably a small group of attractive female dancers. On the other hand, rain can be a pain during driving considering how almost everyone else on the road probably can't drive, let alone drive well. So how do you live to drive another day?

Light up
During rain your car is another blurry grey fast moving blimp. Even in light rain in the daytime, turn on your lights no matter how stupid you feel because in Bangladesh, lights in the daytime are considered stupid. In this case, it's smarter to be this stupid. The lights are more to make you visible to other drivers and pedestrians who like to jump into the middle of the road to test your braking skills.

Stay far behind others
In wet weather, your brakes will be less effective, the tires will grip less. So you will stop further than you would normally, a lot further. Wet weather braking increases distance by about 10-20 feet at 60kmph compared to dry weather. That's enough to hit that truck in front.

Cars are not for surfing
So you need to slow down because driving fast over a road covered with even an inch of water will cause hydroplaning. While it sounds cool, it is not. Hydroplaning is what happens when at speed the tyres cannot expel the water quickly enough and start to surf over it. No traction, no grip. Hello lamp post.

Driving through water
In most cars, especially new ones, you can safely drive through water that even reaches up to the bottom of your door. That's about ten inches of water. As long as you're going slow, it's all good. Some say to keep revs a little high to prevent water getting in through the exhaust. Usually the exhaust gases are forceful enough to prevent water going back up but in deep water, it can sometimes counter the exhaust force and cause the engine to stall. What you really need to be careful about is going slow. Don't make waves. Might look cool going fast and make you feel like a kid splashing through puddles, but you risk getting water over the engine, into the air intake and then the water gets sucked into the engine. The engine promptly dies in an expensive manner.

So basically, be seen, be far away from others and be slow.



The resting Buddha by the crashing waves

Location: Misri Para, Kuakata, Patuakhali.

Notes: Our site is positioned at the southern tip of our country, approximately 70 km from Patuakhali and 320 km from Dhaka. The renowned 27 feet Buddha's statue located at Misri Para, Kuakata approximately a 20 minute ride by motorbikes from the beach. The temple was built by a wealthy Rakhine by the name of Misri Talukdar and is the largest statue of Buddha in Bangladesh.

The statue was built from lime bricks and a combination of several other stones. Locals say that the statue was constructed roughly 100-150 years ago. Right beside the temple is one of the earliest wells of Kuakata, dug in 1784 when the Rakhine people first came here. Apparently, the place was named “Kuakata” after this well was dug.

Getting there:
From Dhaka to Kuakata: Getting to Kuakata from Dhaka is the biggest hassle. The journey takes about 12 hours if you go by bus and some parts of the road are quite the jumpy type. One has to cross four more ridiculously small ferries (after the big one at Aricha) between Barisal and Kuakata to get there, which significantly delays the journey. But once you get there it's brilliant. Bus fare from Dhaka to Kuakata is roughly Tk.650/person and the best bus probably is Sakura.

Alternatively one can break down the journey by first going to Barisal (Bus tickets are Tk. 400/person), take rest there for a day and continue the journey the next day till Kuakata (Bus tickets are Tk.220/person). Beware though; the buses travelling from Barisal are not that good and take about 4-5 hours.

From Kuakata to Misri Para: Once you reach Kuakata you will see a lot of biker boys around. They carry your ticket to get to the temple. Talk to them and fix a rate for a journey to and back from the Misri Para Temple. They should ask for about Tk.150 for both ways per bike. The bike ride takes around 40 minutes so be sure to be mentally ready for a bumpy ride, especially if you are not used to two wheelers.

Best time to visit: Avoid the rainy season. The road to the temple is mud laid and it can get very difficult to get there when it rains.

What to expect: Expect a very neat and traditional atmosphere. Be sure to behave your best inside of the temple!

In your backpack: Water bottle, dry food, sanitiser, umbrella, glucose/saline and torchlight.

Nearby places to stay: There are many places to stay in Kuakata. The place we thought was best to our budget was Hotel Shoikot. Not your 3 star deluxe but you can get a double AC room here along with a commode toilet (not a pan is great news for many) for Tk. 300-400 a night. A good bargain if you ask me!

Money matters: If you plan on staying at Kuakata for a single night, Tk. 2,200 should get you through the trip.

For photographers: The statue of Buddha is relatively huge! Be sure to take your wide angle or you might not get the entire structure in one shot.

Adventure rating: The ideal scouting experience. 3.0 out of 5.0.

By Adnan M S Fakir
Photos courtesy of Finding Bangladesh
Check them out at www.facebook. com/findingbangladesh


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