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     Volume 8 Issue 86 | September 10, 2009 |

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Of Water and Life

Ershad Kamol




As a sculptor M Atiqul Islam prefers to veer away from the contemporary trends of art. Using materials such as thermal cork, jute stick, stone, iron and aluminium he wants to create an eternal vibrancy of stationary objects. His statues feature the movement of dropping water, swinging motion, movement to represent the motion of life and others. And his towers are also not like huge monuments. Rather he uses the forms like pitcher, stove, cooking pot, lamp, plant and others for his towers.

M Atiqul Islam is a part time teacher of Department of Sculpture, Faculty of Fine Arts, Dhaka University. After completing a five-year advanced course under a scholarship programme offered by the Chinese government in sculpture in Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, he joined the sculpture department at Faculty of Fine Arts.

"In my five years study on sculpture in China, I came across different foreign artists and have acquired various techniques and use of materials. More that that the training programme has helped me to develop my ideas, concepts and approach to sculpture," says Atiq.

"These days I experiment on featuring the movements of natural objects like air, water, fire and others," he continues, "Like the contemporary sculptors of the world, I don't want to exhibit sculpture as a lifeless monument. Rather I enjoy dealing with natural elements just for entertainment. At the same time these sculptures can represent bitter experience of life. And my approach to the art form is very simple. "

In fact, Atiq uses the forms of pitchers and cooking materials for his towers and statues considering water and food as the two most important factors for human beings. "Water is the most influential natural element in the delta of Bengal. In many ways our life and culture are dependent on water. And of course food is another important factor of life. It gives me pain since over 40 crore people in the world sleep without having any meal. Which is why I make towers using the forms of pitchers and cooking materials, since I always try to feature the rhythm of life in my works."

Atiq has been doing his statue and tower series since his stay in China and has had his first solo exhibition in Beijing in 2004. The exhibition was a part of 'Bangladesh Week', a cultural function organised by the Bangladesh Embassy in China to observe the 30th anniversary of friendship between Bangladesh and China.

M Atiqul Islam

Atiq learnt carving snow, ice and sand in China. "I always love making sculpture with the natural elements. And carving ice and snow was really an exciting experience. I make sand sculptures in Bangladesh. And the art form has become quite popular amongst the younger artists in Bangladesh," says the artist who says he has taught young artists here the technique of making gigantic sand sculpture in Bangladesh.

In China Atiq also learnt the technique of giving a natural momentum of the sculptures like the toys. He has applied this technique in the sculptures displayed last week at an exhibition titled Water and Life at the Asiatic Society Gallery. A total of 15 art works from his tower and statue series were displayed at the exhibition. For Atiq who has participated in many group exhibitions here and abroad, this is his first solo.

One of the most exciting features of the exhibition was the display of moving drops. "Here, I've used some water drop forms, which moves with the gentle breeze. In the outdoors these forms make exciting visual rhythms with the various elements of the environment and natural sounds. Even without any air these drops make powerful visual effects similar to the living being."




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