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     Volume 8 Issue 93 | November 6, 2009 |

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Prints of Life

Fayza Haq

Gulshan Hossain's latest collection of 60 pieces at her solo at the Bengal Gallery includes prints and this makes the display interesting with the black and white creations. This is what Gulshan did in addition when she went to study in the UK. This includes silk screen, collograph and photo-etching. In the paintings too she has brought in collage. Her technique, strokes, choice of colours and manner of application of tints have been influenced by her latest teacher Dr Beth Harland. Gulshan's study in the various London galleries too have their impact on her work. The works of Peter Doig, settled in Canada, also have their influence in her work. At the same time, the colour palette of the Impressionist painters still fascinate her.

Never quite satisfied with her work, Gulshan continues with her study of man and nature. Using abstract and semi abstract forms she continues with her contemplation of ecology. There is nothing disturbing or depressing in Gulshan's work with nature. According to her vision: A man may die; but men, never. As she sees life, despite its vicissitudes, humanity continues to survive. She is totally confident of her mastery over oil and acrylic after her continuous struggle since 1992. "However, I admit that I'm still learning and there's no end to one's learning," says Gulshan.

In "Reminiscence -1" she recalls her childhood days. "Nostalgia has a strong influence in some of my works. In this I bring in a broken wall. The coloured buntings speak of a celebration that has taken place. The broken wall recalls happy days, with young people running about. Another work brings in my memories of a house in Mymensingh, where I'd stayed," says Gulshan. Layers of orange, yellow, green and black usher in the artist's buoyant feelings for spring. She has often brought in rain filled landscapes

While Gulshan brings in elements of celebrations, she is not oblivious to pain and suffering. Her sepia tones bring in elements such as the pain of the Liberation War. In "Pechoner jalana" we see how women are used. The men in the rooms are brought in, while the faces of the women are only suggested. Her colours are never loud or clashing: They remain muted. Her play with textures adds depth to her paintings -- whether she recalls the days in Winchester, Anuradhapura or Rajasthan.

Gulshan has gone beyond her memories of reality and has even dealt with the world beyond humans. "When I was in England, there were stories, reported even in BBC, that there were suggestions of spirits in the countryside. The painting with the outer world creature with wings is a reflection of those stories,” says Gulshan.

It is her new fascination with prints that delights her heart at present, as when she brings in tales from 1971 and depicts movements of the wind in forests and along with other depiction of nature, brings in the artist's preoccupation with mankind's destruction of our surroundings. Gulshan, who has always been aware of the difficult days in our history says, "There was a time when the Pakistani army destroyed their fellow creatures. Today we ourselves are being destructive in the senseless cutting down of trees,” says Gulshan.


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