Vol. 4 Num 210 Sun. December 28, 2003  

Poetry of points and lines
Fokhrul Islam's solo exhibit at the Bengal Gallery

Mohammad Fokhrul Islam, whose solo exhibition opened recently at the Bengal Gallery, says, "When I create, I don't try to prove my skill. For me painting or creating a work of art is the simplest way to express my feelings, emotions and love. When I try to prove myself as an artist and I fail to create an art form, it becomes only a quest to prove something that goes beyond the grammar of art. Just as one cannot measure love or affection, I hesitate to pass judgement on art work. If my art moves you and touches your heart, even in a slight way, I will be contented."

Fokhrul's pictorial imagery presents numerous dots in varied shades of gray and large spread-out forms. His paintings encompasses the span of the horizon. His exhibition of oil on paper gives the viewers an illusory sense of touch. The technique of presenting this texture that one can almost feel is Fokhrul's own. The dots, lines and muted colours take the viewer into a path where memories merge with dreams.

Ranjit Das says about the exhibition, "It has made me think deeply as Fokhrul's media and technique are unique and I believe that one day he'll be an established artist. He has painted on paper with press ink, taking off the surface from time to time, putting on layers of paints occasionally and piercing through the paper too at will. He has, on occasions, put on paints and wiped them off with cloth to create textures, using mustard oil instead of linseed oil or turpentine and press ink; his compositions are modern and his presentations immaculately neat."

Abdus Shakoor, giving his opinion on Fokhrul's works, says, "Fokhrul began as a ceramic painter and went on to leave that and progress into black and white creations on paper. He has created unique texture work by pricking with pins before putting on his colour. It is unusual how he has created whole paintings with the simple use of variations of black and gray. One wonders why there is the use of compelling black, just as Jogen Chowdhury of India had used jet-black to depict sadness in a symbolic way."

"Fokhrul, in his use of black, is being revolutionary," says Alakesh Ghosh. "He is influenced by his stay in Japan. The materials that he has used are not expensive and so the works are affordable by the average bourgeois art lovers. I'm sure, with time his paintings will have even more depth."

Fokhrul's Image-51 appears like a representation of an elongated glass walled building, with a scattering of trees in the front and seen at night; with jet-black surrounding the combination of rectangles, diagonals and squares in white. The accumulated geometrical images are delicately outlined with black and tinged with yellow, which gives a haunting sepia effect. Image-52 could be taken for a couple of elongated human forms, surrounded by a halo of white with large specks of black. The images are framed by masses of gray and black.

Imagination runs riot in Image-38 and Image-37 which appear like transparent sheets of glass lined up with horizontal and diagonal lines to add to the mystery of the splashes of gold and scattering of black dust.

Lines and dots prevail in all Fokhrul's works such as in Image-81 with a white and yellow circle of lines and dots with a stream of white flowing down from it, that too being decked with specks and delicate black lines with washes and tinges of black and gray in the backdrop.

Fokhrul Islam, who has a BFA from the Institute of Fine Arts, DU, has taken part in many exhibitions in Japan, India and Bangladesh.

Image-38, Oil on paper