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     Volume 11 |Issue 05| February 03, 2012 |


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Women's Liberation
Set in Stone

Fayza Haq

Inheritance of Women, Bronze, 35x18cm, 2011.
Photo: Courtesy

When Hamiduzuzzan Khan, the eminent sculptor, asked Sigma Haque if she could take up the physical and mental challenge of creating sculptures, Sigma replied confidently, “Why not? Try me!). Since he took her into his fold, which includes such prominent artists as Associate Professor, Lalarukh Selim, Hamiduzzaman has had no regrets. Sigma has grown to be a very promising artist, taught by the likes of Enamul Khan Enam, Ms Lalarukh Selim, Kauser Hasan Tagor and Kabir.

Sigma chose sculpture as her area of interest even although she knew it would be difficult to handle and sell, considering the conservative society and the scarcity of wood and stone in the country. It was her parent's inspiration that allowed her to pursue the challenging craft. Her mother would allow her to mold her own sculptures out of soft mixed dough when she was quite young. Her father, Nurul Haq, was an artist himself, who graduated from the Art College. Sigma says that it was playing with dolls and toys which gave her the incentive to make carts, dolls and other animals of her own. Painting alone does not give her the satisfaction that 3-D work of sculpture does, although she has done sketches and drawings of Old Dhaka, the Mandirs, “Panam-nagar” and so on.

“For me,” says Sigma, “It is delineating women and their problems that I enjoy the most. Since time immemorial, women have been oppressed and treated as inferior beings. Why should women accept everything, and not protest? My sculpture deals women and the various things they do on a daily basis.” She argues that it is taken for granted that women have to suffer and strife, while the men lord over them.

She herself had to undergo discrimination as woman at different points in her life. “I needed bronze and other metal pieces, like iron and aluminum, which was usually available in Old Dhaka. Often onlookers wished and wondered what a female, with covered head, was doing at a welding shop,” she comments about the challenges she faced while buying materials for her sculpture.

Her two daughters are the subjects of many of her pieces. “I have to prepare the food, pay my children's tuition and look after the needs of my husband and my household. All these have to be taken care of, as a matter of routine, seven days a week. I portray this in all my work, emphasising what a woman has to do—her duties as a career person, as a mother, wife etc. It isn't easy, I assure you. One is compelled to find joy and contentment in the double duties—of the mother and wife, if not more.”

Along with her home and her children, Sigma has her own school for children. Here painting, dancing and music are also taught. Situated in Rampura, Bonosri, her school is called “Shuonkon”. She started it five years ago, and there are about a hundred students in the school now.

Some of Sigma's work is highly imaginative and adapts geometrical forms. She uses lines, curves, and other geometrical shapes and features. She has certainly done well for herself. A feather in her cap for women's liberation.

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