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     Volume 7 Issue 32 | August 8, 2008 |

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Exploring the Mysteries of Colour

Samya Kullab

The first thing that strikes the eye when gazing at a painting by Maksuda Iqbal Nipa is the vibrancy of her colour palette, the second is her manner of arranging them on the canvas. These two factors contribute to the harmony underlying her work which at first sight seems to encapsulate a subtle and almost seditious quality. Subtle in the way it suggests chaos but in reality is quite ordered, seditious because it is a break away from more traditional forms of painting. It is rather appropriate then, that her ten-day solo art exhibition at the Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts is titled “Mystery of Colour”.

Maksuda Iqbal Nipa

“A mixture of the colours of Japan and the colours of Bangladesh I find in the work of Nipa” said a beaming Arturo Perez Martinez, Ambassador of Spain in Bangladesh who attended the gallery opening as Chief Guest.

Indeed Bangladesh, the artist's home country, and Japan where she continued her training at Aichi University of Education have served as her influences for this particular collection. One can readily see the change of seasons in Japan, the famous Sakura trees and endless green fields with trees and rocks interspersed in the unruly interplay of colours in Nipa's work.

Preparing this work required Nipa to spend much time studying the nature of colours; how they interact and create new shades. The end result combines many techniques, some of them very untraditional. Using tools ranging from a hard brush to a spatula to tissue, Nipa's paintings are also immensely textured. Specifically she drew inspiration from beaches, marine objects, even illustrations in children's books. Amusingly, Nipa made trips to insect museums to visit firsthand how insects change color and took on the ambitious task of

Surface 5 oil on canvas by Maksuda Iqbal Nipa

emulating nature itself.

“When I paint, I work with my feelings,” said the artist herself. So, its really my feeling coming out in my work.”

This process emphasising stream of consciousness is very apparent in her work, but art critic and a close associate of hers, S. Manzoorul Islam takes the impact of her process further when he says, “ [After she went to Japan] the abstraction she saw not just as rejection of figure or semblance of reality; for her it was a search for the essence and the inner composition of the object. She discovered another surface behind the surface that meets the eye.”

Nipa's collection of 20 or so oil paintings is open for the public from August 1-10 at the Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts.



Subconscious Coincidence

Seven Young Artists Introduce their Work

Seven artists: in order from top right, Mehreen Zaman Khaled, Farjana Ahmed Santa, Shimu Roy, Silvia Nazneen, Naznine Zobaida, Farhana Ferdousi and Rudaba Mohsin

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect about the art exhibit titled “Subconscious Coincidence” recently opened at the Drik Gallery is that it was envisaged and brought to fruition not by established artists but by art students eager to showcase their work.

“It was completely coincidental,” says Rudaba Mohsin, one of the seven featured artists, “all of us were in the same class, and we just decided 'let's do an exhibition!'”

Five months after this rather timely understanding amongst the young artists, all of whom are women, the gallery held its opening on August 1st with the sponsorship of the Asian Business Network.

One would normally expect the young to produce work of ambitious proportions that only after many disappointments can finally take the shape of something meaningful. It is possible that some of the people attending the gallery had held these assumptions before appraising the work in reality. But the young artists allayed such suspicions with their most unpretentious yet mesmeric exhibition.

Each artist demonstrated an emerging unique style very different from one another. Silvia Nazneen's work suggests a mystical and ephemeral quality accented by her choice of colours. Farjana Ahmed Santa, on the other hand depicts her world in a very quirky manner, with her innovative uses of both oil and watercolour.

Remarkably, each artist demonstrated an emerging unique style very different from each other

Naznine Zobaida has come up with an interesting cat motif in addition to her romantic still life paintings. Rudaba Mohsin has drawn her inspiration from nature and recurring motifs in her work are tree branches composed in a very simplistic yet suggestive manner. Shimu Roy's almost cartoon like pastel depictions of waiting and longing are one of the most inventive of the batch. Farhana Ferdausi brought a back a sense of Bangladesh's folk history in with her batik work and finally Mehreen Zaman Khaled has used an interesting combination of both tapestry designs and etching aquatint in her works revealing her skill in both techniques.

The exhibition will remain open for the public until August 10th.

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