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     Volume 8 Issue 60 | March 6, 2009 |

  Cover Story
  A Roman Column
  Special Feature
  Art -Maze of   Monochromatic   Work
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Art-Maze of Monochromatic Work

Maze of Monochromatic Work

Fayza Haq

Wakilur Rahman, in his ongoing exhibition at Gallery Kaya, "Addition and Omission" has used collage in his layer upon layer of whitish images on white. Line, colour, form and tone have all gone into the images, says Wakil. For the last few years Wakil has been working on texts and collection of written documentaries of memories. Minimalism plays an important role in Wakil's work.

Wakilur Rahman and Dhali al Mamun

"I do what I enjoy," says Wakil. There is a philosophic aspect to his work which has its roots in eastern tradition.

Art work by Dhali al Mamun

Earlier on, on a backdrop of white, he had used pencil and pastel to present forms. In his present works, Wakil has tried to erase and reduce his earlier works. He believes that from the historical and geographical aspect the colour white is important. "White has various contradictory meanings and stands for mourning in the east, while in Europe, white is worn for weddings. Every art is a visual experience. When a viewer feels that a painting is something new, the exhibition has then been a success. When the viewer contemplates on the colours and forms, the artwork has then not been in vain. My work is abstract but it has an atmosphere. The white itself has many variations. Icelanders say that they have 12 types of white in their culture."

There are many variations of white in Wakil's work and they are different types of colours which have been muted. To enjoy the beauty and gravity of this type of work, the viewer has to give some time for this new visual experience.

Wakil's exhibit is a combined effort with Dhali al Mamun. The two were contemporaries although Wakil studied at Dhaka and Dhali at Chittagong. In '81and'82, the two of them belonged to the "Shomay" group, which included Shishir Bhattacharya, Nissar Hossain, Saidul Haque Juiss, Tawfiqur Rahman , Lalarukh Selim, Dilara Begum Jolly and a few others. Their aim was to work towards the socio-political and economic improvement of the country. They had exhibitions outside Dhaka as in Khulna, Rajshahi and Bogra. Later, Wakil went to China, while most of the others went to India.

The way of thinking and the style of work of Wakil and Dhali are different but these fast friends have had a successful dialogue in their coming together at Kaya Gallery. They hope to have another combined exhibition in March at the National Museum.

Although they may share the same space their styles will vary. At Kaya, Dhali has worked on paper with pencil, while Wakil has reduced his forms by adding white to them.

When studying at Dhaka, it was Shahid Kabir, who encouraged Wakil to experiment and find new paths for himself. Outside the Institute of Fine Arts there were others in the cultural field, who inspired him. This included Mohammed Khusru, of the Bangladesh Alternative Film Society movement. Meanwhile, in China, he was introduced to the Chinese and Japanese aesthetics. He studied Chinese calligraphy, done on paper with ink. This was influenced by the teachings of Confucius and Tao, and has a culture quite different from that of India and Europe, says Wakil. This opened new horizons for him. As for Europe it opened up even a bigger world for him, and introduced him to minimal art, to go with the times. Of course, says Wakil, minimalism was there in the east, even before.

Dwelling on his monochromic work of reddish white, bluish white, and other variations of white, Wakil again stresses on his penchant for the subtle ambiance.

As for Dhali, after a long time, he has reverted to the two-dimensional. His drawings have been done over two months. On one massive piece of paper one finds endless depiction of army boots. The next work introduces us to a heap of files, and depicting the power of bureaucracy. Another of Dhali's creations introduces to a floor scattered with innumerable files. Ugly and frightening heads of fishes are seen in yet another piece.

Wakil and Dhali open up our minds to more routes in the journey of modern existence, and make us ponder over elements like death, superfluity and futility. They combine memory and experience and deal with various aspects of life that deal with the cultural, religious and political. Wakil's work, in particular, brings together the communion of man and nature, and the coming together of the dead with the living.

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