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     Volume 4 Issue 62 | September 9, 2005 |

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Three Dimension and Beyond

Mustafa Zaman

The third exhibition of Bhashkar, a contemporary sculptors' society, at La Galerie, Alliance Francaise, Dhaka, is an occasion to celebrate the three-dimensional creation in its varied forms. The show has brought together an array of recently produced sculptures. Bhashkar is a group of artists that organised two previous shows in 2001 and 2002. Now they plan to develop Bhashkar into a society "an organisation of sorts" -- that will organise regular sculpture shows.

"There are little opportunity for the sculptors of Bangladesh to continue their work after passing out from the academy. We have this plan to turn Bhashkar that was launched as a group into an organisation that would organise exhibitions as well as workshops and art camps," says Imran Hossain Piplu, a member of Bhashkar and one of the organisers of the current exhibition.

The artists of Bhashkar also have plans to invite artists other than their members to participate in their shows. "Besides having the permanent members as participants we would like to invite two or three guest artists to join our shows in future," says Hossain.

The plan to turn Bhashkar into an organisation was mooted when the group failed to continue to organise shows after 2002. "Originally we had the plan to have one show each year," says Hossain.

Bhashkar started out with six members in 2001; membership now stands at 12. One of the founding members, Mahbubul Haque says that the goals of Bhashkar remain the same, one of which is to promote sculpture. "We are turning it into an organisation so that shows, workshops and art camps would be organised on a regular basis," adds Haque.

As for the present show, it has successfully showcased the works of all the members, among which there are Shakhawat Hossain and Anita Islam, the couple who failed to show their works for several years. For them the present show is a new beginning.

Among the works of the new members, Tejosh Halder Josh's expressionistic creation has lent weight to the show. His fiberglass work titled "Resist" shows a mother and her child in an unconventional posture. While the mother stands to guard against any attack from a presumed enemy, the child shows resilience that matches the posture of his mother. The black metallic patina has lent the sculpture a surface quality that only augments its visual appeal. Joshe's other entry is a dwarf-like man immersed in his own world. The work takes its cue from the brutish arts of ancient tribes, as did the early Picasso sculptures.

The flip side of this brutally expressionistic art is found in the work of Imran Hossain Piplu. His bird-man is colourful and calm, and it is titled, "Prince with Watermelon". The artist has made the prince look unfeeling. The piece of watermelon that it clutches in its claws almost escapes attention at the first gaze, the tightly held claws even accentuates the mood of severity.

There are more hybrids as well as severity in this show other than the slit-eyed bird-man -- the prince. Sagar Shahidullah's fish with a scull of a bull as the head is one that stands for a lot of unsavoury goings-on. The artist cleverly calls his creation, "It Never Eats" while its teeth are openly displayed, -- a sign of its power to bite and devour. The most sinister hybrid is the creation of Mahbubul Haque. His large snake unashamedly shows its teeth, revealing its prowess to digest.

Mahbubur Rahman, Nasima Haque Mitu, Farzana Islam Milky, Maynul Islam Paul and Kabir Ahmed Masum Chisti are predictably represented with their signature works. Mahbub, as usual, is inclined to experimentation with his medium. His "Untitled" with replicas of his own self-portrait and his wife's in clay bowls is a work done in ceramic.

Sculpture in Bangladesh has been a long neglected medium. The artists who are practicing it have seldom been able to sustain their work as there has been little patronage. Bhashkar wants to change that status quo. Their show bears the sign of their determination.

The show was inaugurated on September 1. It will run till September 15.

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