Under the title “Nostalgia and Reality”, Toronto Public Library in Don Mills, Canada has organised a solo painting exhibition, featuring the works of Bangladeshi expatriate painter Babul Mahmood. The exhibition was inaugurated recently and will continue till November 30. This is his sixth solo painting exhibition.
Babul's paintings feature bold colours, forms of different objects like kite, spinning top (Latim), fish and natai. Strong brush strokes and subtle expression of spirit are also two significant traits of his paintings. He is an experimental painter and has identified himself inextricably with the cultural heritage of Bangladesh.
The artist told The Daily Star over the telephone, “All the way through my journey as an artist, I have concentrated on themes like childhood dreams, the underwater world and diverse social calamities. Childhood nostalgia is one of my beloved subjects.
“My 'Underwater World' series inspired me when I visited Saint Martin's Island. I discover a joyful and free-roaming life under water. I strive to represent the vibrant life of small fish, green shrubbery and unknown foliage all in the watery world.”
Emerald green, crimson, azure, black, yellow, white and red are used predominantly, giving a fascinating approach to Babul's paintings. The strong backgrounds give the viewers a romantic and imposing view.
The painter cherishes childhood nostalgia, when life was carefree and everything was possible. Spinning top and flying kites were part of that passion. He has concentrated on the theme of childhood and has tried to capture the theme in different forms, colours and shapes. Adroit application of light and shade are evident accomplishments, besides restless curves, round-square forms, rectangular-triangular and broken lines. This is because playing with forms is the foremost aspect of Babul's works.
Babul considers pure colour to be the most effective way to express emotions and sensitivity. He believes that colour approaches the soul directly and is able to induce profound emotions in the viewer. He applies his colours meticulously, in thin layers, and reduces the texture of the paint to its most minimal state.
Babul graduated from the Institute of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka (now Faculty of Fine Arts) in 1991. A Masters in Visual arts in Painting from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India, he has held solo exhibitions in England, Canada and Bangladesh. He took part in major group exhibitions in France, Canada, Nepal, England, South Africa, India, Australia and other countries.