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     Volume 7 Issue 15 | April 11, 2008 |

  Cover Story
  Writing the Wrong
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Exhibiting Greatness

Nader Rahman
Photos: Zahedul I. Khan

SM Sultan's 'Jute Processing'
Sheikh Afzal's 'Thinking'

haju Art Gallery has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1977 and it seems only fitting that possibly the best known gallery in Dhaka would host a mega exhibition for its 35th birthday. From the moment one steps into the wood panelled gallery there is a feast for the eyes as the walls are beautifully laid out with a representative sample of work of the most reputed artists to come out of Bangladesh. Immediately Zainul Abedin's River Side catches one eye, with a blur of bamboo poles supported by exquisitely crafted boats, the bluish grey tint of the sky contrasts well with the rest of the fine watercolour. If one is to talk of reputed Bangladeshi artists then this exhibition fits the bill superbly, with work from Zainul Abedin, Qamrul Hasan, SM Sultan, Mohammad Kibria, Aminul Islam, Qayyum Chowdhury, Murtaja Basheer, Abdur Razzak and Debdas Chakraborty to name a few. While the exhibition was arranged to coincide with the gallery's 35th birthday it is also dedicated to Debdas Chakraborty and Nitun Kundu, two stalwarts of Bangladeshi art who recently passed away. While the piece from Chakraborty is simple and elegant without being prosaic, Kundu's work is vibrant and stands out as one of his last completed pieces before his death. 'Dance of Colour' is possibly the most self-explanatory work there and with Kundu's touch even seemingly empty geometric shapes are filled with the colour of life.

(From top to bottom) Murtaja Basheer's 'In Bloom' and Qayyum Chowdhury's 'Spring'
Abdus Sattar's 'Rest'

Samarajit Ray Chowdhury has a piece titled 'Beginning of a Story' which sends one's sensory organs into a tail spin, its fractured yet tight kaleidoscopic images piece together what one can only assume is the beginning of a story. Even with all the colour used, there seems to be a darker side to the image of birds, a man and a kite. Qayyum Chowdhury's 'Spring' and Murtaja Basheer's 'In Bloom' compliment each other as more than merely on a thematic level as they hang on the same wall. With two different colour schemes they blend well on the same wall. Abdus Sattar's 'Rest' is classy and calm with fine strokes repeated over and over again to give a sublime look of neatness to the women at the centre of the painting. Her bright bangles are tempered with the blandness of her clothes and both are beautifully worked into a canvas which also displays a vibrant foliage in the background. Shamsudduah is also prominently displayed with an oil on canvas entitled 'Civilization'. The surrealist scene is beautifully worked as the emptiness of half the canvas is more than made up with the intense images of a flower and dead potted plant. It is a grim scene with just a ripple of hope stemming from the flower that is either losing colour or gaining it. Sheikh Afzal's 'Thinking' is an introspective piece, which needs time to grow but eventually leaves one satisfied with its exquisite shift of colour from light reddish orange to pale yellow. All in all the exhibition is a treat for anyone interested in Bangladeshi art and is a true representative sample of what this country has to offer, from the all time greats to the new brigade of artists.

Shamsudduah's 'Civilization'

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