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    Volume 11 |Issue 33| August 17, 2012 |


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An Avant Garde Experience

Anika Hossain

The city has been buzzing with excitement since the celebrated new talent in the art scene, Robin Tagore, announced his first formal exhibition to be held at the Bengali Art Gallery. When the much awaited inauguration day finally arrived, a mile-long line of people could be seen, waiting to buy the coveted tickets and eagerly anticipating the moment they would feast their eyes on the artwork, the likes of which have rarely been seen in this part of the world.

The crowd coming out of the gallery was absolutely mesmerised. “I have never seen anything so awe inspiring,” comments Golap Khan, art collector and one of the leading industrialists of the country. “His work is minimalist, yet poignant, each brush stroke has depth and meaning.”

“I have purchased five paintings today,” says Malika Lakhani, socialite and self-proclaimed art connoisseur. “His work touched the depths of my soul, there is a feeling of loneliness in his use of colour and hues, yet there is also a sense of hope and belonging lurking in the corners.”

The vast, brightly lit gallery was teeming with fawning admirers who could not get enough. The curator Abdul Kader walked the crowd through the exhibition imparting his knowledge as he passed each painting, “The use of white is a common theme in his paintings, the starkness you see in most of them is meant to represent the poverty ever present in our country and the red dots are meant to be the blood of the have-nots.”

The large canvases on display were sparkling white, with a few drops of paint on some. A crowd of people surrounded what looked like a casually discarded sponge sandal from Bata in one corner of the gallery. “An amazing installation,” said one ardent admirer, Sadak Halder, art critic, who has never missed a social function held in the city. “It looks like it is waiting for someone.” As he spoke, a man, dressed like a cleaner pushed his way into the crowd, and shooting a surprised look at them, wore the sandal and walked away. After a startled pause, Sadak began to lead the dumbfounded crowd in a round of applause, praising the artist's creativity in using a live medium to complete his exhibit.

Art critic Lara Jalil praised a flower arrangement on a glass stand placed at the centre of the room, pointing out the artist's unique way of showing there is still a little joy left in this empty world. The piece was promptly purchased by Raihan Kalimullah for Tk 50,000, to add to his extensive, carefully chosen collection.

A lamp was also purchased by politician Sarwar Chowdhury, lover of all things artistic for Tk 80,000. “Look at how it is deliberately bent on one side and the beads on the shade are hanging artistically from the other,” he smiles enthusiastically, “My wife will love it. She has excellent taste. It will be her birthday present.”

By the end of the first day, when almost every piece of art had been sold for a hefty sum of money, the artist himself finally made his grand, somewhat dramatic entrance. As he rushed through the door, with his slightly and deliberately disheveled hair, carefree and mismatched outfit, with a large canvas under his arm for effect, the women sighed collectively at the sight of the handsome new talent.

Stunned by his own success, or so the crowd assumed, the artist was momentarily left speechless as he stared at the crowd. Everyone held their breath waiting for him to speak. After almost a minute, Robin Tagore sputtered in a slightly choked voice :“What's going on? I tried to get here as soon as I could when I heard they didn't cancel this exhibition! I accidentally burned down my studio last night and all my paintings were destroyed. When I finally got home this morning I thought that someone had stolen all my blank canvases and a few that my three year-old nephew ruined with his finger prints. But they're all here? I'm really sorry to have wasted your time, but what are you people doing here?”


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