Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
     Volume 8 Issue 91 | October 23, 2009 |

  Cover Story
  Current Affairs
  Writing the Wrong
  Book Review
  Star Diary
  Write to Mita
  Post Script

   SWM Home


Nature Conceptualised

Fayza Haq

It is a wonderful change from the flood of video art to see the old school watercolour strokes by Md Salim at the Zoom Gallery of Alliance Françoise. Salim deals with "nature", a term in which he includes human beings, birds, flowers and foliage. An art schoolteacher of children, his paintings speak of peace and harmony. Salim believes that the conservation of nature is vital. It is through the rivers, ponds, acres of crops and fruit-laden trees that we make our existence, he says. "Even the clothes we wear come from cotton or the wool of the sheep and goats. It is because we have not cared to preserve the ecology that we feel the discomfort of excessive heat and rains," says Salim.

'Nature as a Beauty' series by Md Salim

That is why the artist repeatedly brings in branches of trees, curved lines of barks of trees, rain-washed leaves, tiny birds with their coat of cosy feathers, boats sailing on the rivers, and clouds cascading in the soft, muted expanse of the skies. The washes, lines, strokes and curves are conventional, no doubt. It is in the well-loved forms and hues that eyes -- somewhat overwhelmed with the desperate drive of experimentation -- find an escape into the sleepy world of a fashion of painting of the past.

"From my childhood I've hankered for meadows of mustards and rain clouds of the countryside. Their beauty compelled me to preserve their beauty for all time with paints. We get water to drink and food to eat from the labour of the farmers. Added to that are the fisher folk with their nets, baskets and boats. You can't separate man from nature. Hills, rivers and fields bring us moments of serenity. 'Josna raats' and similarly the moonless skies lit up with only stars usher in peace and tranquillity in our mind and heart. Writers, painters and musicians of the past were deeply inspired by nature. Even when we consider the miracles of science the giants of progress like Galileo and Newton based their deductions from nature," says Salim.

Through his brushes and paints Salim brings in the value of hard labour of people toiling in the fields and rivers. He takes pleasure in going out to these people and discussing their lives. "There is romance and adventure in the simple things in life. It is interesting indeed to know the details of social and economic aspects of these people, although many may regard them as nothing heroic or dramatic. It is their daily struggle that giants among us -- like Zainul Abedin, SM Sultan and Qayyum Chowdhury-- have delineated with mastery.”

Fishermen, bearing vast expanses of nets, with boats are brought in at different levels -- the ones in the distant being darker and bearing folded dark sails -- also speak of the harmonious riverside life. The vendor of vegetables, making his way through trees and winding muddy pathways is another idyllic scene -- typical but not uninspiring.

ASM Bulbul’s ‘Kaashphool’.

Another exhibition, being held at the same time at Drik, is the one on "kaashphool", a photographic display in which the focus is just not on just nature but on "kaashphool”, in particular. This is seen by the lens at different times, at different angles, bathed in different shades of browns and reds. ASM Bulbul, a banker by profession, dwells on "kaash" as he says that it is an integral part of his childhood memories in Noakhali, Comilla and Sylhet. For him it is also a sign of approaching autumn, when golden bands of sunshine intermingle with cool wafts of breeze. "This is also the time of Durga Puja and so heralds celebrations," says Bulbul. "I enjoy doing micro photography. Seen closely this flower is more than a white and grey mane among the grass. Even the flowers have fallen there is still beauty in the golden sticks of the stems. The plant takes on one colour in the morning, another when the sun is at its height and appears to make the whole area ablaze as the sun sets.”



In another of Drik's exhibit gallery rooms is "Shells and Souls", a vibrant mixed media collection. This is the combined work of four friends, two being expatriates from London and Toronto. They have come together to display their ideas in a sensuous way. They too play with the idea of man and nature. This collection includes oil on canvas, watercolour, graphite, ink-on-paper and collage of fabric materials. The artists include Asma Mita, Golam Farouque Sarker, Kazi Mahboob Hassan and Shamim Reza.

Forming wall hangings, cushion covers, lampshades and dividing partitions are seen shells; stones leather pieces, fragments of printed cotton cloth. These, found in both muted and radiant colours-- forming abstract and semi-abstract images -- delight the mind with their simple variation of stitches and fabrics, with their predominance of brown, yellow and orange. The fabric works are done by Shamim Reza. Trees, leaves and elements of the sky and clouds are found in the remaining works too. These are mingled with outsized shapes of dinosaurs, chopped tree trunks and floating fragments of female emotions.

Silent Poetry, Water-based mixed media on paper , 2009, (Asma Sultana). Right: Tree 1, Mixed Media , oil and pen on canvas, 2009, (Golam Faruque Sharkar)
Rag Picked Colour 100, Mixed media, patch work, 2008, (Shamim Reza), Right: Ecce Homo, Pen and ink on paper 2008, (Kazi Mahboob Hassan)


Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2009