Kazi Rakib is a well-known artist for articulating creativity in glass painting. He is very possibly a pioneer in this medium and has made it popular in our art scene. With extreme care and laborious diligence, he has made many glass paintings where figure and non-figurative motifs, visages, flora and fauna, fishes, green foliages, pebbles and stones as well as underwater world have been highlighted. The artist is also well versed in varied mediums in different periods. The current exhibition is significant since it is showcasing his journey of over forty years of his life from 1975 till today. The exposition is also important for art enthusiasts as they will get to know about the chronological development of a devoted artist.
Rakib got admitted in Dhaka Art College in 1972, when Bangladesh had just won freedom after a long struggle. During that time, the country faced many terrible dilemmas and traversed a number of crises -- a time when our art and literature progressed with a novel vision and refreshing ideas. Rakib closely observed the transforming socio-political and economic conditions and various contemporary issues of the country.
The artist was a founder-member of the Dhaka Painters (1974-77: it is now defunct), a small group of young artists whose exhibitions, held in Dhaka, Chittagong and Kushtia, received considerable acclaim. The group of painters had a great bond with each other, and their modes of expressions are Surrealistic and Dadaistic. During that period, the painters introduced a novel approach in the local art scene, which was promptly praised in art milieu. The group was greatly influenced by the then noted group of artists called 'Painters Group,' whose members were Chandra Shekhor Dey, Hashi Chakravarty, Alok Roy, Bonijul Haque, Monsurul Karim and others.
Rakib was one of the founder teachers of Rajshahi Art College. Noted journalist and cultural activist Kamal Lohani was the founder of the college. Under his guidance, the college became the hub of varied cultural activities of Rajshahi. From 1979 to 1984, Rakib taught there and developed his artistic accomplishment. Besides teaching, he was engrossed in pure drawing. During that time, he drew many portraits, man and woman in varied moods, places of scenic beauty and more. He also did many drawing based works with several mediums in different decades. He likes to go into details. His ability to draw volume and tenor in creating insightful compositions and sensitivities are outstanding. His drawings are fresh, lively and give the spectators a sense of pleasure. His drawings and sketches have the right kind of restraint. He knows where to stop. The traits are also visible in his paintings. During his tenure in Rajshahi Art College, he also wrote on art and aesthetics for the Dainik Barta, and earned his livelihood. Kamal Lohani was the editor of the newspaper.
The artist is definitely one who largely experimented with materials and colours. In keeping with his experimental nature, he has worked in pen, pencil, water colour, acrylic, pastel, oil pastel, oil, screen-print, collage, terracotta, woodblock, xerograph, copper, steel, glass and more. The artist is greatly indebted to specially two Bangladeshi painters, S.M. Sultan and Murtaja Baseer. They meticulously taught him about the delicate techniques and methods of each medium. He has worked with the mediums for exploring the details of the character of each medium.
The artist also likes to experiment with colour in all its various facets. He has concentrated on applying colours. Shallow layers of colours provide a unique tone to his works and that is why his canvas carries a singular hallmark. His paintings create an expression on the essence of a colour and what the colours really mean. Over the years, he has developed a number of techniques, which are very expensive and time consuming, requiring immense effort and devotion.
Rakib is a socially and politically aware artist. As a painter he feels he has some responsibilities to the society and strives to open the eyes of the people around him. He has been involved with social and cultural movements since his college days. He has always taken a strong position against social inequity and oppression. In 1981, he did several prints titled "Ekatoor Poroborti Arr Kotokaal". The prints denote killing, corruption, political instability, social discrimination and economic crises in the society.
Several series of works are also on showcase at the exhibition. 'Chiffon' is a series of acrylic paintings in 2014, articulating truth, beauty, romanticism and spirituality. The most significant part of the series is that all of the works have a deep correlation to each other but each painting denotes its individuality. He has experimented with very sweet shades and its various facets. He has also experimented with diverse tones. The artist applies colours smoothly, piling up thick and at times thin layers on the canvas, and tries to create an image that is dynamic. Smooth brush strokes give his works a mellow textural quality.
'Water', a series of pencil/colour pencil works in 2014, plunges deep into underwater world. The works are very time consuming, laborious and aesthetically pleasing. He goes into details in every space of the paper. After close observation, it is noticeable that the lines (straight and tiny curves) are meticulously done. Music flows here and the lines blend with each other, creating kaleidoscope of synchronisation.
'Rain', another acrylic based series of works, where the artist has simply focused on the transparency and tranquility of rain. If we agree that simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication, showcasing paintings by Kazi Rakib should be a luxury and a delightful trip, when following a path of natural abstraction. The artist comes from Damudya of Shariatpur district, which he frequently visits, and records the natural and cultural history for his canvas. Rakib's lyricism created by the hues of transparency and symbolic motifs remind us of the splendor of rain and its effect on our souls. Rain is one of the subjects which has appeared in different artists' works, but he has created an individual style where subject and technique are chiefly focused on.
At the exhibition, several water colours are also display. His water colours are superb in terms of his personal techniques and creation of the effects of water. Some works are focused on pure forms and compositions. The artist's technique is particularly based on flat wash and thin colour. He seeks to depict the sparkle and simplicity of nature. Solitude and serenity are two vital components in Rakib's watercolours. The subjects of his works are in a solemn mood and their characteristics are highlighted. Illumination is a prominent feature in the works and the artist generally prefers incandescent light and mystifying setting.
Throughout his illustrious career, Rakib has gradually transformed his style into varied genre of art. In his use of materials and tints, he frequently goes for the restrained and natural. He concentrates on utilising space on the canvas, making his work appear relaxed. Over the years, the artist has become more inventive, using space and theme to interact with lines and forms on his works. These works concurrently present technical excellence and a mature intellect.
Kazi Rakib's solo exhibition titled "Chronology (1975-2015)" is now on at Galleri Kaya in Uttara.