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     Volume 4 Issue 61 | September 2, 2005 |

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The Hues of Expressions

Elita Karim

For someone who is not quite familiar with her ways around Uttara, you tend to take a wrong turn now and then, especially when you look for the Shanto Mariam University of Creative Technology. You swerve right, ask the person selling cigarettes for directions, then he asks you to go left. You do as he says, still no sight of the institution. You realise that you are moving in a circle, when suddenly you find the institution facing you. Your head starts to reel with joy and also because of the number of circles that you endured for the past 30 minutes. 'I have found my destiny!' you want to scream.

It was like a burst of colour and youth, upon entering the institution and feasting your eyes on the second annual exhibition of this institution. With an exhibition going on in each department of the university, one could simply stand on the threshold of the institution and experience an environment filled with art, creativity and expressions.

You pass the hums and the melodious harmonisations of the Music Room to get to the exhibition hall, where the students of the Department of Fine Arts have expressed themselves through their work. Mostly sketches by the students, the art pieces displayed were done simply in lead and colour pencil. The sketches are of goddesses, the ancient wars between the gods, animals with wings, they are of exquisite beauty -- unbriddled expression of and the human imagination.

"That is actually an enlarged version of an old bed post we found in the National Museum," helps out one student describing a sketch of a lady with long flowing hair, blowing in the wind. "We had several classes at the museum so that we could familiarise ourselves with the ancient artworks and designs."

You cannot take your eyes off of the detailed work and the spectacular representation of the intricacies that the students make in their works. In one of the sketches, you find a crack running down the middle of the work, and you realise that it's not a crack but the detailed representation of what the student saw in the artwork.

A sculpture of a tree bark was there for all to see in the middle of the room. As you move closer to it, you find that it's not a sculpture, rather a tree bark itself, with the face of a human carved into it. You are awed by the closed-eyed, torturous expression that the man reflects on the tree bark. "This is an expression of grief, frustration, torture and rebellion that the human mind suffers in the many courses of his life," explains a student. The human also seems to be screaming to someone, probably God himself, with all his woes and sorrow etched on his face, rather the bark of the tree. This piece of art-work managed to grab the attention of the spectators and hold a circle of admirers around for quite some time.

Moving on to the Department of Graphic Design and Manufacturing, you feel a shift in the surroundings, from ancient bed posts and expression of human grief to a more advanced version of human expressions in the form of

computer interface. These students seem to have captured the many elements of nature, the human mind and also the very idea of mixing colour with these elements. Taking up three classrooms to display their works, one of the students starts off with an explanation of how they simply experiment with colour and designs in their freshman year. "We then move on to typography and fonts and learn how to relate the two together," he explains. The display also includes representations of the great giant of the 20th century art, Piccasso's work, which the students worked on using the relevant software and came out with a new flavour.

This particular exhibition moves on to the student's expression of their minds which they worked on with various computer programs, like Illustrator, Photoshop and many more. A particular art-work titled 'Dream' was made on the basis of the absence of colour in one's own dreams. Even then, one could relate to the shades of white, black and blue as representations of the strength of love, hatred, darkness and light within one, explains a student. The students of this department also had a number of 'fun-stuff' for the onlookers, where they were selling T-shirts and masks designed by the students themselves. "We also design brochures and CD covers," informs one student.

The exhibition also had make-believe existence of companies which had brochures, spectacular marketing gimmicks and advertising strategies that the students worked on with a lot of colour and innovative ideas. One such project was building a visitor-friendly environment in Sonargaon, Foyez Lake and Shuvolong, three of the most beautiful natural sites of our country. The students made imaginary resorts and parks and also came up with ways to ensure the natural equilibrium as well as emphasising historical importance of these areas.

The Department of Fashion Design was yet another place where creativity was merged with youth and colour. The exhibition displayed the students' ability to mix and match accordingly with colour, cuts, patterns and the basic design that they could imagine. One such expression was of a student who came up with a design where a silver belt was holding up a top, while a tie was adorning the mini skirt. "We work on the simple basic stitches like running, hemming, loops, button holes, chain and many more in our freshman year," informs one student, "and work our way up to patterns and combination in our sophomore year."

The students also worked with a lot of themes which were apparent in their designs, for instance the Greek derived themes, abstract Egyptian ideas, Chinese designs swirling with dragons and fire, and of course the modern concepts of creating an appropriate fashion statement.

The Architecture Department had a different touch to its exhibition as compared to the displays of the other departments in the university. With miniature buildings and structures all around, the exhibition hall did look something out of the Dhaka streets. The students of this department started off with simple, yet many forms of representations of letters, numbers, heights and elevations. With these in mind, they go on to create the Isometric Views of bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms and also how to place the furniture to render it a more complete idea.

"As we move on," says a student, "we actually come up with our own designs and prefer to experiment, of course within certain basic rules of architecture." She also shows around 3-D representations of imaginary apartments, showing how they may look from various angles. In their sophomore year, the students learn how to work with certain materials to further improve on their imaginary house, for instance bathroom apparels, kitchen utensils, the tiles for the floor and so on.

The Shanto-Mariam University of Creative Technology is probably the first university to actually encourage young people to work on their creative ideas and also offer them the guidelines on how to actually go about it. Just having completed two years, it won't be long when this university will be building generations upholding culture and representing the nation in its true colours.

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