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     Volume 4 Issue 4 | July 16, 2004 |

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Young at Art

Mustafa Zaman

Mahmudur Rahmanís installation

Burn-8 by Ashraful Hasan


Every alternate year, the Young Artists' Art Exhibition provides a chance to survey the art of the young. The amassing of the latest crop of works by artists below 35 years of age is an occasion for many an artist to emerge into the art scene. Although the main stakeholders usually either belong to the contingent that have passed out of the two biggest art institutions in Dhaka and Chittagong and the ones who are still studying there, many other artists participate from places far and wide.

It is a threshold to enter the art world, where giants rule. New trends usually surface in this show. Though newer turf developed over the years as many private galleries have sprang up and groups of young artists are also trying to make headway on their own, the Shilpakala Academy organised exhibition still remains a main attraction and provide a chance for the young artists to show their art works on the national level.

15th Young Artists' Art Exhibition may seem a bit dull compared to the ones that preceded it. This biannual show has the long tradition of bringing to the forth artists that later would gain national fame. In the present show what is lacking is the absence of entries that strive to redefine art. Not that we had many artists showing original talent in the preceding shows, yet there were some like GS kabir, Alok Roy, Monsurul Karim, Shahid Kabir and the likes first emerged with their signature art works. This show certainly lack the presence of artists whose works carry such signs for uniqueness, the element of newness and surprise certainly is nowhere to found. The entries are predictable, in fact the relay of paintings -- the imagery on two dimensional surfaces -- may produce the strumming of the eyes, as many works simply seem like exercises in colour and lines.

The other mediums like graphic and sculpture may provide the breather one needs standing among works on canvas. However, one exceptional work that is sure to draw many a pair of eyes to its stark, but poetic realism is an acrylic on canvas by Ashraful Hasan. The work titled "Dhahan" (Burn-8) is a realist rendition of a tree trunk with entwined roots suggestive of human body parts. Compared to the black painting with blue patterns in it, by Uttam Kumar Roy, which grabbed the Young Artists' Award this year, this work seems like a feast for the eyes. The work felched the Best Award in Painting.

Nurul Islamís tapestry

Sadrul Hasan Rafiís Cosmic Life and Itís Past Dream-3


The Best Award in graphics was an exercise in black and white. A lithograph showing two bicycles on stand explores the beauty of line and chiaroscuro.

As for the three Honourable Mention awards, the brightness of colour seems to have won over the jury. The amassing of faces of world leaders and the appropriation of the last supper by Vinci in the works by Shahjahan Ahmed Bikash is the only painting that got the Honourable Mention award that explores a contemporary theme by juxtaposing it against history -- both of painting and the world.

The sculptors take the back seat in this show. Although few of the works takes up a lot of space, as their size and concept is overbearing, the creative energy seems to have hit the lowest ebb. Nurul Amin's ceramic structure that got the Best Award in sculpture builds on familiar methods.

The show that took three months of hard work on the part of the people involved in it, showcases the art world's newer denizens, who fails to deliver anything fresh in terms of concept and artistic language. Though, there are works belonging to the newer trends that thrived in shows organised by young exponents of the new-guard, but in the Shilpakala Show that trend in featured only with inferior entries.






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