<%-- Page Title--%> Art <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 108 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

June 6 , 2003

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The Duo

A married couple explores the marriage of sculpture and painting in an art show

Mustafa Zaman

The duo: Fahmida Akhter Kakoli and Hasanur Rahman Reaz are married to each other in real life, but their artworks are characteristically different. Two artists, Kakoli with her colourful canvases and Reaz with his wood-metal sculpture, stand apart in respect of the media and expression. Yet there is an underlying similarity in their art. Both have the willingness to address present socio-political realites of the world. While Kakoli uses fragments of human form to address the mayhem of our time, Reaz devices different contraptions to deal with the national and international politics and human condition.
Both the artists put a lot of emphasis on media manipulation. Kakoli exploits tactile factors in all of her paintings, she builds her images putting broad, haphazard brush strokes and bold lines. Reaz puts cuts and grooves in straight lines in his wood planks and uses a lot of large spikes to augment the visual impact of his work. He also arranges several components to build each work.
It is the expressionist stance that Kakoli has chosen. She, in her paintings, realises a colourful nightmarish look through agglomeration of brushworks, lines and suggestion of human bodies. But in her world the formal beauty of expression seem to want to steal the show. Though, like the expressionists of European origin, she too tries to discover a new kind of beauty. Her tendency to abstract herself from the subject matter has made her canvases done in acrylic look more like colour compositions than works exploring individual subject matter.


In paintings like Nightmare-36 and Nightmare-37 this tendency subsides to make way for her subjects to gain control of the composition. In both the works she tries out different methods of composition. Her works are bathing in colours, as such she needs to minimize her application of painterly brushworks. In Nightmare-35 she develops her images of three figures vaguely looking like soldiers in their high-ankle boots with minimum effort. This effortlessness she needs to cultivate.
In a few works she shows a tendency to emulate childlike simplicity. But, her work, with their overt display of artistic prowess, grounds her firmly in the mature concept of painting. It is this truth that Kakoli will have to accept fully, and by avoiding so called spontaneous expression she will have to try to put her concepts as clearly as her subject merits.
Reaz, with his different contraptions made out of wood and metal spikes, tackles each idea in an individual manner. His subjects are ambitious. “American Toys", “Eternal Victim", “Infected Terrorism”--these are the titles that the artist came up with. But he employs symbolism, and weaker ones at that, enthusiastically, as in “Infected Terrorism”, where big metal spikes swarm the two horizontal wooden forms of dissimilar height. This work, without its reference to the title, looks like a mere composition with the elements. It is about this aspect of his work that Reaz needs to do a lot of rethinking.
His big presentation, the “Eternal Victim” is a work where he has successfully accomplished his goal. He wanted to present man afflicted by affairs of the society, state or the world order. “I wanted to convey that ordinary man has always been in a helpless condition, and their destiny has always been in the hands of others. Since the time immemorial men has been victims,” asserts Reaz.

Enternal Victim

This work that depicts the victim and its condition is Reaz's most ambitious piece. This has four sides; it is a box-like contrivance. Two massive planks are held together by wooden structures. The planks are etched with images, a human on one side and a tapering form on the other. The figure is embellished with heads of big nails, the nails are hammered through the plank all the way and their tails are visible from the side.
Reaz's works often want to veer towards an expressionist mode, should he abandon his forced symbolism, his works would find a proper vehicle in expressionism alone. He should also give his process of building contraption-like pieces a second thought. It seems obvious that it would suit his intention if planks are hung on the wall. In Bangladesh, sculpture follows an age-old European tradition; no one ever explored the possibility of putting it on the wall.
These two artists are standing at the threshold of their career. Both of them are eager to explore hitherto uncharted areas. But this eagerness alone cannot make their dream come true, what these young couple need to invest in their work is the play with newer associations and ideas.


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