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     Volume 7 Issue 35 | August 29, 2008 |

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A Show of Twelve Talents

Samya Kullab

To the delight of many ardent art lovers the revered Dhaka Arts Circle (DAC)unveiled their tenth group exposition titled, “A Pageant of Forms and Figures” this past week in the Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts. As attendees of the gallery opening surveyed the work, one could hear a collective “ooh!” and “aah!” as evidence of their awe.

Abdus Shakoor: Ballad and Faces, Acrylic on canvas.

One of the art lovers present at the event, Nazrul Kibria extolled, “I was just standing and staring at that one for ten minutes,” he gestured toward Swapan Chowdhury's eerie phosphorescent work titled Life and Time, “I was so bewildered, as though I was face to face with an unsolvable problem. It really takes you somewhere else.”

Collectively the gallery instills a sense of wistfulness for the observer. Inspiration for the gallery was largely drawn from the interplay between man and nature. Using a range of methods ranging from oil, acrylic, ink and mixed media the artists conveyed their impressions of the relationship between man, society and nature in a semi-abstract and expressionist manner. Every piece of art displayed in the gallery does not fail to draw the eye.

The artists have capitalised the indistinct and undefined nature of man's relationship with the world. As it is a subject which philosophers and novelists alike have probed for centuries, the artists of DAC seem to have an advantage, as their reflections escape the limiting factor of the written word.

The DAC was founded in 1993 and has continued to hold exhibitions, workshops and seminars for the past fifteen years. Comprised of a small troupe of painters who find inspiration from similar sources, they have remained a dynamic force in Dhaka's art community. Lead by veteran artists, the DAC also serves as a bridge between young up and comers and older established artists. In the past, DAC has also provided a platform for artists of the past to rejoin art circles again.

Anwarul Huq: Passion and Quest for Peace, Mixed media.

“Our activities are humble. Our effort is directed towards continuous and steady progress.” wrote Samarjit Roy Chowdhury, President of the Dhaka Arts Circle and a prominent artist himself.

One significant feature of DAC's exhibitions is their underlying altruistic mission. Often, revenues generated from exhibitions are donated to various humanitarian causes demonstrating how art can directly service people and society. Last year, income from DAC events was directed to victims of natural disasters.

DAC has also refused to remain Dhaka centric. Holding large exhibitions in Chittagong and Jahangirnagar universities, the group has managed to spread their art and their philanthropic philosophy throughout the country.

The group also goes to great lengths to make sure the memory of deceased DAC members are kept alive. This year the memory of Golam Sarwar and Shamsul Islam Nizami was evoked as they were described as “two of our most resourceful members.” DAC also goes as far as dedicating exhibitions to influential artists like Rashid Chowdhury for whom they dedicated a large exhibition titled, “Paintings 2002”. It is clear that DAC strives forth into the future by recalling the artists of the past, from whom legacies for present artists of Bangladesh have been inherited.

The current exhibition includes 60 pieces by the following 12 artists: Abu Taher, Samarjit Roy Chowdhury, Mohammed Mohsin, Syed Enayet Hossain, Anwarul Huq, Rejaul Karim, Biren Shome, Matlub Ali, Swapan Chowdhury, Abdus Shakoor, Chandra Shekar Dey and Rafi Haque.

The gallery will remain open to the public until 31 August 2008, daily from 12 PM to 8 PM.

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