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      Volume 10 |Issue 18 | May 13, 2011 |


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When Colours and Music Mix and Mingle

Fayza Haq

Iffat Ara Dewan, Photos: courtesy

Iffat Ara Dewan, well known for being a Rabindrasangeet exponent has another side to her – that of a painter. Her 10th solo exhibition of mostly acrylic on canvas, depicting flowers and pathways, delineating Tagore songs, is being held at Bengal Gallery. It is called “Where shadow chases light” The exhibition ends on May 15 and includes 50 paintings and drawings. These paintings, in pastel shades, with a very feminine touch are a tribute to the poet- dramatist who is world-renowned. Her style is simple, straightforward with plenty of space between the images. One can almost feel the gentle breeze passing through. This is the singer's unique tribute to Tagore whose 150th birth anniversary is being celebrated with vigour by the entire nation. One can give certain colours to a song. Here, colours and words are mixed to add to the rhythm and sensation of the songs, which are included in calligraphy – like writings that accompany the paintings of flowers on vases, neat interior of homes containing flowers and pathways with trees bearing flowers.

The delineations of the inside of the houses are spic and span, scattered with

Bits and pieces of furniture, curtains, photographs and windows overlooking gardens of flowers. Normally, songs cannot be easily transferred to images. But Iffat has carried the happy and melancholic tunes of Rabindrasangeet to moonlit verandahs, and garden paths with purple clouds for backdrops.

Iffat's paintings mix happy with sorrowful notes to create a harmony of their own. The artist's colours and lines pulsate with emotion and memories. The pale, pulsating colours don't make a clutter before the eyes. Everything has a light, ethereal, feminine touch. Moreover, the paintings capture the mood of the song with an impact.

Tumi Robey Nirobey, Hridoye Momo-2; acrylic on canvas, 2011. Photos: courtesy

The painter's subjects like flowers, vases, gardens and portraits ply with lines, dots, curves and squiggles and usher in a rejuvenation of romance. The simple and innocent paintings delineate joy and tranquility. Her pastel shades speak of eternity while bringing in turmoil and passion. The colours and lines sing of the lilting, gentle touches of the French Impressionstist. The themes of waiting and longing are also included in the works.

Iffat loves our traditional flowers, such as “aparajita”, “agnishikha” and “dolonchanpa” Gypsy and lily blossoms are her other favorites. “The fragrance helps one forget disappointments and woes. Colours carry a definite message and they generate a sense of excitement that is endearing.” Landscape on days with clouds appeal to her too. There are projections of gardens in her work.

Ki Shobha, Ki Chaya Go, Ki Sneho, Ki Maya Go; acrylic on canvas, 2008. Photos: courtesy

One day in 1990, she got her child's crayons and pad, and thus began drawing. She says she always had the compulsion to draw but never really got started earlier. She felt excited with the results and continued. She was asked to make the record cover of her LP and this gave her further incentive to draw. After the selection for the cover, many drawings were left over , which were enough to make her exhibition in 1962. Fond of flowers, like most people, she believes that they signify beauty and innocence, as well as love and caring. She commenced with still life, and then moved on to landscapes and delineation of interiors of homes, with their cozy ambiance. The art works capture the seasons with an impact. Sometimes there is a long gap between her singing and her painting. She prefers to paint in the afternoons.

Her depiction of moonlit nights, with verandahs with light outdoor furniture, along with wit pathways lined by trees with emerald tops, with large, red flowers has more appeal than the others.

She studied music under Waheedul Haq and Sanjeeta Khatoon, at Chayanot, completing a five-year course. She was mostly encouraged by her mother.

Iffat has had had two solos in Paris, exhibited in groups in Brussels, New York and India. In Dhaka itself, she has had solos in places like the” Divine Art Gallery” and “Shilpangan,” both of which were enormously successful.


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