Art - Seeing life through Symbols
Seeing Life Through Symbols
Juggler, Acrylic on board.
Fariha Zeba whose ongoing exhibition maybe seen at Kaya Gallery, says that in her work she tries to express ideas and feelings in as few lines and colours as possible. "I try to hold up the mirror to what I see around me everyday" she says, "my paintings contain my daily experience and knowledge which I get from the news media and from what I see around me. I try to focus on socio-economic and political problems. I do not present decorative images to cover the living room walls -- for trained artists it is easy to create attractive visuals that will readily sell. I want the viewer to dwell on the images I present and find answers to problems facing the average person."
In one of the paintings in the series "Shadow" Zeba brings in a large splash that holds back an individual from within and outside him, and prevents him from doing what his conscious tells him to do. Zeba points out that often in our society, when a woman goes out to work, for instance, this is criticised and the shadows stand for criticism.
"Reminiscence", another collection of paintings depicts the pressures that a woman faces as an adolescent. The subject carries a mask that appears to be weeping. The idyllic past is something that envelopes her while the shadow of the reality of the present is a cruel one, and it is not what she is prepared to face. "I've depicted women more in my paintings because I believe that life for a woman, all over the world, is more problematic than her male counterpart," says Zeba.
"Nostalgia" is based on a newspaper story where a 15 year-old girl was forced into marriage, and where the girl avoided the ordeals of early marriage by reporting the matter to the police. This positive outlook in our society is elaborated with red in the backdrop that suggests a marriage sari. The girl is done in white to symbolise courage, while the paper boats in the foreground represent her childhood of innocence and harmony.
The life and work of the Mexican artists Frida Kahlo has influenced her greatly. She came across Frida's works when she was in Scandinavia in1993. Zeba dedicated an entire series of work to her which she exhibited in Gallery 21. Realising how she can base an exhibit on a single icon she had moved on to work on Sufia Kamal. This time, at Kaya, she has no such topic but rather the theme of random irregularities of society around us. "I want my work to be a little different from those commonly found. I feel the paintings should stir up the mind and emotions," says Zeba."I feel there is much more maturity in the composition and colour in the works of this exhibition than the ones before. The "Black rose" series, for instance, brings in dislike for the artificialities and hypocrisies in our society. I could have painted on a flower, but the garish plastic blossom, I feel, drives homes the point more effectively. Even when we are grieving, it is our own interest that we see first," she adds.
Dwelling on the standard of the work of women artists in Bangladesh, Zeba says," I feel that the women deal with more serious issues, as do the artists from Chittagong, like Dilara Begum Jolly, Nazlee Laila Mansoor and Nilufer Chaman. They search for much more than what is obviously pleasing to the eye. In Dhaka, artists like Tayyeba Begum Lipi and Sulekha Chowdhury also have mind-boggling works. There are some women artists, however, whose works are lapped up -- but who have not ventured into anything thought-provoking or even new themes or styles for the past ten years. “
The exhibition is on till April 3rd.
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