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Life outside the box

By Emil

[2010, June 11]
T had been several months- nay, years since my retinas had to process digital images from anything other than a computer screen. That is to say, I've not watched television in around four years. Heathen, backward, Geek Hermit- call me whatever you will. I just don't get the time, nor the means recently, to sit down on a comfy couch, grab some coke and food and watch television. Tempting and nice as that sounds, I prefer the throne-like chair in front of my computer.

And yet as the summer drew closer, I found myself contemplating life outside that square box with an extended rectangle at the edge that I call my room, and often my home. The thought was alien in my usually familiar mind. Tucked between sludge-cells of abstract ideas and notions, between rushing rivers of cynical narcissism, between mountains of accumulated experiences and their consequential influence, was this tiny alien invader, an innocent idea that had been lying in wait for this day to come.

I remember a time before this box came to be, and before countless other boxes rose up around us, when we'd all gather around, the neighbourhood kids, and we'd be brothers in arms. One ball, two goalposts and a game that while it lasted meant life and death to both teams. Reserves always inching closer to the field waiting for the moment when one of the players would get tired, waiting for their opportunity to be a god among mortals.

Four years. Four years worth of some of the most outrageous and the most amazing news, four years worth of the best movies and the worst, four years worth of events and occurrences and creations and destructions and wonders and blunders and everything there can be. And all of them failed to get me out of my box.

But I'm out now. And I'm right where I want to be. There's nowhere else that I'd rather be. Four years of all those aforementioned things, and all it took was a World Cup to get me out. Today's the day it begins. Today's the day I get back in touch with the world at large. Today's the day that I relinquish my throne, temporary though as it is.

I have my bottle of Coca-Cola. I have my French Fries. I have part of the couch to myself- infinitely more comfortable than my worn and torn 'throne'.

Broadcasted live from South Africa (capital: Executive: Pretoria, Judiciary: Bloemfontein and Legislative: Cape Town), I watch as the proverbial giants fight it off in a field 105m by 68m large. I watch the game, completely engrossed in the genius of footwork and their tactics.

I enjoy the noise, and I am inspired by the sheer power of the sport. Viva le Football!

Staring women

Photo: Sabhanaz Rashid Diya

Did the title get some attention from some of the dudes in the readership? Maybe it drew the eyes of some dudettes as well. It makes for a nice change, doesn't it, Women doing the staring? Not in fear or awe or sadness, but in protest, in desire, with a sense of cool detachment and disdained anger. Make no mistake; there are portrayals of sorrow in Nazia Andaleeb Preema's solo exhibition at Bengal Gallery. But it is more about women themselves, and their psyche.

With her vibrant and strong use of colour, she brings to light the different states of the society, of women with the veil and the women within. The concept of veil is rampant throughout the exhibition and although it may be taken at face value to mean the actual, physical veil, it can also be interpreted as the mental veil that women wear themselves: the one that cannot be seen. There are instances of dual persona, along with some strong female characterizations. But one must be careful not to try to define and confine women in cramped boundaries. A woman has many faces, and to use the words of the respected Syed Manzoorul Islam when he was discussing her work on the Concept of Modern Radha series which is on display at the exhibition, “...she [Preema] uses the mythical figure to suggest the futility and undesirability of categorizing women.”

This is the 12th solo exhibition of Nazia Andaleeb Preema. She received her Master of Fine Art degree from the Institute of Fine Art, Dhaka University and has numerous awards and achievements to her name, including the Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin Award (2007). Staring Women is open from 12pm to 8pm till 26th January.

By Kazim Ibn Sadique


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