Vol. 5 Num 35 Thu. July 01, 2004  

An evening of muted French colours
Fahmida Munni's video documentary

A video documentary titled A French April in Dhaka, by Fahmida Munni, was recently screened at the Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts. April 2004 was a month when French art fascinated Dhaka audiences. Since 2001, the French Embassy and the Alliance Francaise have been arranging a three-year programme focusing on printmaking and engraving. As a part of that, the works of French artists were exhibited in the Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts, the Shilpangan Gallery and the Alliance Francaise.

The video showed the visiting artists Jean Dometti and Jean Pierre Tingaud, as they casually talked in the guest house, sitting on rickshaws on the way to the Fine Arts Department, DU and talking and discussing with teachers and students of Fine Arts. They appeared happy and contented with their surroundings and appeared to enjoy their repartee with the students. Although many members of the audience of the exhibitions were not brought in the video, the manner in which the prints were presented was clear and effective.

Jean Dometti, who displayed his art at the Bengal Gallery, had his work in caskets and helmets of ochre, brown gray and contained images that were common to most viewers. There were plateaus, caves, niches and hillocks, wrapped in flamboyant, golden and silver colours. The images opened to many interpretations. Jean-Pierre Tingaud's black and white prints, keeping the image of Christ's crucifixion in view, were also profoundly moving. The music that Fahmida had employed for the background was moving indeed. She let the lens linger long over many of the art pieces so that the video presentation was an education in itself. The third exhibition at Alliance Francasie, showed the works of masters like Chagall, Picasso, Matisse, Miro and Dali. Also included is a representation of the on-going exhibition of 19 Bangladeshi printmakers in Paris from June to July 2004.