Vol. 5 Num 208 Thu. December 23, 2004  

Jamal and Kuhu: Taking Bangladesh art to Pakistan

Recharged artists Jamal Ahmed and Kuhu Plamondon have recently returned after a successful exhibition in Karachi, Pakistan. Their feedback:

Jamal Ahmed
'Pakistan has a lot of art-lovers. They highly appreciate paintings. Some people came three or four times to the show. I haven't seen this in Bangladesh,' says an elated Jamal in his home-cum-studio. The viewers were attracted, he said, because they are already familiar with the names of renowned Bangladeshi artists such as Mohammad Kibria and Zainul Abedin.

Jamal, Associate Professor (of drawing and painting department) Institute of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka took 30 paintings to Karachi. Two works, which catch the eye immediately on entering his home, are the life size figures of a man and a woman respectively. In the latter charcoal work, a woman lies prone on the ground. This painting has several colours: red, white and black. The man is a musician; he plays the dotara. He is also in charcoal. Imbued with shades of green, black and white, he is taking a short rest. 'I sold almost everything and brought back only a few of my works,' says Jamal.

A lot of my work is in acrylic,' says Jamal. He remains dedicated to his favourite subjects--figures, landscapes and rivers. 'This time in Pakistan, I took mostly landscapes from Bangladesh--mustard fields, the riverside and seaside. I want to depict the life and culture of the Bangladeshis. I am still doing pigeons. I think of these birds as a universal subject. They can be seen everywhere,' asserts Jamal.

In April next year, Jamal is off to Madrid in Spain for a solo exhibition. He plans to take with him 20 paintings, mostly portraits and still life. The theme: scenes from Dhaka.

Kuhu Plamondon
Artist and fashion designer Kuhu is equally enthusiastic about the Karachi exhibition. She took with her 20 figurative line drawings in monochromatic work, using mostly charcoal and pastels. Her favourite subjects are ordinary men and women. 'I want to give the people on the street a distinctive character. My desire is to draw interesting figures and faces,' she says.

Going by the favourable response her works drew, there is better appreciation of drawings in Pakistan than in Dhaka. 'Most people prefer paintings in oil,' she believes.

Like Jamal, Kuhu uses live models. This, she believes, makes for a livelier subject than photographs. 'In my art, I seek to draw my subjects with the dignity they deserve. The models receive a fee from me for sitting as well as a commission when the painting is sold,' asserts Kuhu.

What is Kuhu's unique selling proposition? 'In my work, the figures gesticulate a lot. Through the use of light and shade, I seek to create a three dimensional work on a flat surface,' says Kuhu.

What of the future? Kuhu has been invited to exhibit her figurative drawings in Pakistan again. Going by the tremendous response her drawings have already received, her artistic graph is clearly on the ascent.

Jamal Ahmed (M) with spectators at the art gallery