Space For Rent
Friday, April 29, 2016, Baishakh 16, 1423 BS, Rajab 21, 1437 Hijri

Nature landscaping key to a beautiful Dhaka
Nadeem Qadir
Published :Friday, 29 April, 2016,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 197
One weekend I travelled to the nearby and only garden city of England called Letchworth and saw how beautifully nature and artists' work mingled to convey a very natural appeal.
I went there to meet my artist friend Abu Jafar, who has made a name in Europe's art world.
He has so far had at least 127 exhibitions, including 24 solo, 7 two-person and more than 96 group exhibitions here in the UK, China, Bangladesh, and France. In 2007 he became an Associate Member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors and in 2011 became a Fellow of Digswell Arts Trust, UK.
He takes inspiration from psychology, philosophy, classical music as well as day-to-day human existence.
He told me, "By producing art that is far from traditional, I am actively attempting to shatter staid ideas of the past regarding art; my art is the synthesis of colour, element and presentation twisted into unusual form. Most of my large-scale Installations have involved nature, public and the environment. My work simplifies our daily lives and the diversity of mankind in my imaginative notion in a way that reflects imaginative power and ever changing creative forces of new formative arts."
'Abu Jafar is a committed and established artist with a strong exhibition record in the UK. His use of a rich range of media and breadth of concern have earned the artist the wide respect of his peers in London', commented Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton, Director of Visual Arts, Arts Council of England.
Added Isobel Johnston, former Curator, Arts Council Collection, London: "Abu Jafar is a very energetic and gifted artist who has worked in a wide range of media, including installation/ performance as well as sculpture and painting."
Then I started noticing the colours of the petals here in London and also in green Bangladesh. As the temperature slowly rises, the game of rain and sun is quite visible.
Abu Jafar is a Bangladeshi by birth and we use his talent as well as that of others like him to beautify our roads and parks.
Across London, you can feast your eyes on many beautiful colours of flowers, especially tulips. It is so planned that not a season goes by without colours of the petals that God has given us and scientists have mixed and remixed to create many variations.
As winter approached, age-old trees shed leaves and tree engineers carefully chopped off useless branches in such a way that it itself became a work of a sculptor.
Such care is only visible in Bangladesh's cantonments and some official buildings. This means, we have expertise but we are not using them to beautify our cities and towns.
Since my childhood I have seen how my mother would tend her garden to ensure flowers around the year as gardeners in cantonments fought competition for the best garden, largest dahlia or the best coloured cosmos.
Along with the unplanned growth of our cities, we have paid little attention to real natural beautification of our surroundings.
I would like to draw the attention of city and municipal mayors of Bangladesh to consider taking my voluntary services, if needed, but more seriously employ gardeners from cantonments to naturally beautify our surroundings with the colours that God has gifted us instead of the expensive concrete flower beds with dying leaves or flowers.
The only other planned gardening of the city is seen in and around the National Parliament House and Ramna Park. Gardeners can be borrowed from these places also.
The cities can be divided into various colours - red, purple, yellow, etc, and flowering plants are planted across that area with two-season plants -- winter and summer --- so that there is a play of colours around the year without any additional costs. In my garden I have planted bulbs of tulips and other varieties which are now coming alive slowly. Plant once, tend them around the year which would cut costs and also keep the city beautiful.
God has blessed us with fertile soil and a good weather, besides the current unbearable heat. I have seen English roses and other plants that I have taken for my garden in Dhaka do very well. Just regular tending and careful watering has made my roof top garden a beauty. My kids regularly take pictures of the garden and keep me up-to-date. What a joy! Why not spread this joy across Bangladesh?
I know Mayor Annisul Huq has a beautiful home with gardens; and flowers are part of his beautiful wife -- Rubana's - interior decor. Take her help, may be!
The other three suggestions to the mayors are as follows:
1) Make shades and set up benches on streets and parks across your cities/municipalities by getting them sponsored by individuals or business houses. They should be made of strong iron and fitted to the ground so that no one can take them away.
2) Name streets or lanes after prominent people who live in different areas so that people know who these famous people are as their neighbours and they can be proud of it for ages. Mark houses where famous people had lived for the generations to come.
3) Make it compulsory to keep the exterior of buildings, especially those on major streets, painted colourfully so that the city has a clean look. Bank loans may be extended to those who cannot afford to do so annually.
These would save a lot of money of tax payers and the much needed funds may be diverted to other areas.
Nadeem Qadir is a senior journalist currently serving as Minister Press at the Bangladesh High Commission in London

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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