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|Volume 11 |Issue 37| September 21, 2012 ||
Nature and Man, as Maestros See their Environment
Murtaja Baseer's watercolour Chawkb-azar at night (1954), depicts Old Dhaka inhabitants by night, many decades ago, when the area was still alive with joie de vivre, but not as crowded as it is today. Women with long hair and vibrant red saris look on steadily, while men rotate sheekh kebabs on an open fire. The viewer can feel the buzz of the small eateries all about the place, with welcoming open carts, covered sheds, and the bonhomie of evenings spent at the Chawk market.
Kamaluddin's realist painting entitled Old Dhaka City shows a man carrying lungis, kurtas, and singlets going about the job of buying and selling, with open baskets - busy as a bee. Trees, cloth awnings, tin sheds, brick pillars of houses and covered panniers are included in the watercolour, characterised by hues of grey, black, some touches of golden yellow, and jade green. The creation is certainly not dull.
Golden Bengal a watercolour from 2012 by Qayyum Chowdhury, is full of colour and design, bringing in the pale moon, flora and fauna, the farm of exotic leafy branches, and going about their daily activity. River boats glide past in the back of the painting in peaceful co-existence with the rest of the composition. The midnight blue sky merges with emerald green, while waves and sprigs of grass are seen in the foreground.
Hashem Khan's watercolour depicts an imagined scene on the bank of the Jamuna River. White birds in flight, rendered in a very modern manner, go with suggestions of the five boats, and singing of the beauty of Bengal, go hand in hand with a waterfall on the rocks—depicted in shades of gold and green, matching with the rainbow colours suggested in the sky.
Rafiqun Nabi's Djung in Thimpu and Hamiduzzaman Khan's Bhutan , both examples of watercolour painting at its best, depict exotic places that the two artists had occasion to visit. Done in shades of turquoise, midnight blue, pale green and baby blue, birds in flight are seen against twigs of delicate tree branches. Against this backdrop, these two renowned artists have, with endless patience and experience, painted homes, houses, and enormous places of worship which dot the background.
Chandra Shekhar Dey and Torun Ghosh, with their mastery over colours, lines and forms, brought in a woman's figure, with enormous doll --like eyes, pouting and painted lips with carefully folded limbs, and coifed and curled hair. Seated on a mat, Chandra Shekhar Dey's woman is beautiful, despite the economical use of lines and colours. Brown washes mingle with blue and ochre ones, making the work look like an uncut gem.
Full Moon by Torun Ghosh, is another full moon creation, with the suggestion of a woman's eye, which goes along with faces of insects on long stems of plants. Blue, brown and white mingle and mix to give the impression of magic and mystery.
Kazi Rakib and Masuda Kazi's creations remain deft, subtle and full of life. Although simple in delineation, the overhead sky, the pedestrians on the rainy road, with their umbrellas and the superb twist of “Krishnachuras” seen against building wall, speak to minds that seek beauty, and find it with ease and joy.
Shishir Bhattachrjee and Samiran Chowdhury bring out the beauty in stone masses, forming hillocks in different colours - blue, green and reddish brown, along the painting of Shitalakkahya. The latter has skyrises in the distant horizon, tall hedge-like tree tops, pillars, poles and fire- burning chimneys. Last of all there are shanties and a collection of pieces of wood, to be floated or sold.
The painting by Samiran Chowdhury is pale and done with nimble strokes, just as Shishir Bhattacharjee's lines and squares along with curves are heavy and decisive.
Ranjit Das in his Landscape remains poignant and poetic. The green and yellow rocks and trees, with their scanty bushes, on washed gold and midnight blue hues. Created on a bar of baby-blue, the painting draws many curious painting buffs.
Nagarbashi Barman's gliding birds seen alongside other seated birds, seen in pale blue and reddish brown is a good finale to the renowned artists' collection in the gallery.
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