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

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 128 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

October 31, 2003

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Pleasing Forms and Textured Grounds

Mustafa Zaman

Alone, mixed media on paper.

Most of the works of Artist Iftikhar Ahmed thrive in textures and vivid colours. He also reveals a tendency to build his images around structures that often take their cue from architectural parts. There seems to be a tug between the two tendencies. One enforces the artist to give into the texture and colour-laden pictorial solutions and the other inspires him to bring the structures in sharp focus.

There is also the traditional rift in the history of Modern art between a colourist and a structure-prone artist. Iftekhar stands in between the two.
The artist who is currently residing in Paris on a scholarship, came back to enjoy a break and to have his 11th solo at Shilpangan.

This exhibition has caught the imagination of many architects of Dhaka. Aminul Ehsan, a working architect, even penned a review on the artist in the Daily Prothom Alo, where he wrote that the artist strives to find a space beyond the physical dimension. Although any image that is referred to as art takes us beyond reality. In Bangladesh it is most apparent in Iftekhar's work claim the young architect.

He puts the physical elements that almost look like slabs, pillars, walls along with meandering brush strokes, in the vein of Monirul Islam, to set off his composition. Textures come in to bail him out of the problem of flatness. The ripples that form as he applies his colours in one particular area or on the background using a roller are the tactile effects that seem something akin to what G.S. Kabir invented in the late 80s.

Life in a cage, oil on paper.

Whatever the responses of the viewers to the cannily composed works on paper by this forty plus artist (that are mostly done with oil) are, Bablu, a former student of the Institute of the Fine Arts is frank about the fact that his works produce a sense of déjà vu.

Though reminiscent of many other artists, Iftekhar seems to want to break free of what bounds him, and the elements of his art pieces seem to want to disjoint themselves from the harmonious coexistance that is his composition.

The boldness is visible, so is the resolve to make his signature mark. Perhaps the realisation that his is the generation that is trying to rid itself of the burden of Kibria's legacy.

Nostalgia, mixed media on paper.

The artist puts a spin on abstraction in many a work. Often they seem like a cosmetic job. In a few works, the artist renounces the ideas abstraction is based on. These works, where horses and humans figure, are testimony to the artist's effort to invent his own language, yet they are also indicators of his duel tendency.

The exhibition titled Searching Space was held from 10 to 25 October at the Gallery Shilpangan. It will travel to Paris.



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