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

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 139 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

January 23, 2004

<%-- Navigation Bar--%>
<%-- Navigation Bar--%>

Buddhism Celebrated
Mustafa Zaman

It was a stroke of luck that a Bangladeshi and a Bhutanese met, which later opened up an opportunity to act in convergence. The Buddhist country is attracting adulatory eyes from its neighbours, and a couple of Bangladeshi artists have added an artistic touch to it. The show of four artists--one from Bhutan, another from Belgium and another two from Bangladesh--has brought into salience the idea of Buddhism through paintings and installations. Kama Wangdi, the Butanese, Yanninck Jooris, the Belgian, and the two other artists from Bangladesh, -- Deepa Islam and Jasim Uddin Xecon make up the metaphysically-inclined contingent that had a show at Alliance Francais, Dhaka.

Xecon had these levitated black spheres in the middle of the gallery space, which created an ethereal atmosphere. Though his piece used a paper chorthen, a structure that usually treasures relics of Buddha or his birthplace, in the centre, looks more like a work by a person born and brought up in the culture of Buddhism. The positive aspect was that it had all the ingredients to excite the retinal. In short it had tremendous visual impact.

Kama Wangdi, the artist from Bhutan, who has been exposed to the Bangladeshi audience for the first time, displayed a batch of longish paintings. In his works, the symbol of horse figures prominantly. "I tried to mesh the spiritual element with that of the corporeal, I don't know whether I have succeeded or not," says the artist. His horses are set against uncontained wave, and tend to become part of the natural entity. He dramatised few of his pieces by setting back-light that illuminates the surface of the work in a particular area. He also gathered prayer-flags and presented two collages made out of them to address the belief that drives his people, a section that to these days remains untouched by modernist material pursuit.

The show titled Bhutan: An Act of Offering is full of elements used in public prayer and meditations. The Bhutanese and the Belgian even collaborated on an installation that used the prayer-wheels as the element. "Bhutan is a land of wonder, it is an undisturbed heaven of a traditional way of life. It's a pity that this peaceful land is not being left alone, Western influence slowly permeating their lifestyle," laments Jooris.

The show of the quartet kicked off on January 4 and lasted till the 15th.


From the retina to imageries in painting, the journey, if undisturbed by abstract ideas or subjective factors, results in a kind of representation that Azad has tried. The works that were on display at Chitrak, seemed to have been derived from landscape, yet had a kind of vigour that comes from working spontaneously with paint and brush. Colour and its application that results in texture and contours that reminds one of natural beauty are the two things that Azad's world is made up of. This time he hovered between spontaneity and austerity, and the result was a pictorial solution that sidesteps the Eoropian and American abstraction of the last century. In fact, Azad's work goes down to the basic, which is looking at nature and then trying to interpret it. The brush and its effect, Azad did avoid in his art. Though in his oil-on-canvas works, he failed to match this success. "The signs or the gestures born out of wielding of the brushes are absent in my work, and the formation of wash and contour takes their place" says Azad, whose works brings down natural elements into bare minimum. Azad's show titled 'Mind of Nature' ran from December 26 to January 4.



(C) Copyright The Daily Star. The Daily Star Internet Edition, is published by The Daily Star