Space For Rent

Space For Rent
Thursday, August 27, 2015, Bhadra 12, 1422 BS, Zilqad 11, 1436 Hijr

Taking Prints Beyond Borders
Bangladeshi and Indian artists share ideas at Shilpakala Academy
Takir Hossain
Published :Thursday, 27 August, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 30
Kala Bhavana (Institute of Fine Arts) of Visva-Bharati University is one of the finest and major universities in this region, founded by legendary bard Rabindranath Tagore. It is recognised as a distinguished centre for visual art practice and research in India. It is very noticeable that the art faculty had flourished at the hands of artist Nandalal Bose, who was invited by Tagore. The institute has had an immense contribution made to popularise the medium of printmaking in the sub-continent.
On the other hand, printmaking had been introduced in our country under the leadership of Shafiuddin Ahmed after the establishment of Government Art Institute (now Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka) in 1948.
The rapport between Visva-Bharati University and the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka, has been really praiseworthy over the years. Under the guidance of noted Bangladeshi printmaker Rokeya Sultana, an education exchange programme between the two universities was first held in 2008. Since then activities has been going on in full swing. Presently feted printmaker Anisuzzaman, also chairman of Printmaking Department, University of Dhaka, has taken an initiative to continue the education exchange programme with great intelligence and labour. Both the universities are benefitting a lot from this initiative.
Needless to say, printmaking is a very delicate, prolonged and technique-oriented medium. Printmaking also can be referred to as a populist medium. Several prints can be rolled out from a single plate. Emotion, yearning, contemplation and liberty can be properly addressed through this medium. At the exhibition, prints stand out for their meditative and pensive looks. All participating artists of both countries have tried to express their personal hallmark and some have experimented with new techniques, ideas and formations.
The printmakers have articulated their personal sufferings; ideas of freedom, joy and despair with supremely expressive touch. A number of works are marked by intelligent use of lines and space. The themes include city and rural life, personal experiences, human figures and its varied articulations, social-economic and political scenarios, nature, bizarre and non-figurative elements done by etching, aquatint, dry point, mezzotint, litho, lino, serigraph, woodcut and mono print.
Among the Bangladeshi participating printmakers at the exhibition, Mahumdul Haque is the senior most. He is one of the foremost disciples of Bangladeshi abstract expressionist Mohammad Kibria. His formal arrangement with forms and compositions is noticeable in his prints. His single mezzotint denotes fragmental patterns in a swirling and floating atmosphere of shapes and several kinds of vague forms.
Abul Barq Alvi's print plunges deep into sepia that draws attention to the artist's nostalgic recollection of the past. The artwork has beige, brown and white forms set off by delicate and modest lines.
Rokeya Sultana's reputation as a printmaker is locked in with her most famous series called "Madonna". This series envisaged by her in the 1990s has gone on to become the means of imparting motherly affections for her. Her works, typical for taking breaths away, challenges norms and taboos in order to bring forward dormant human desires, particularly of the fairer sex. Her depictions of nature are not only magnificent in their composition but also in the messages tendered by them.
Printmaker Anisuzzaman is well-known for his superb woodcut prints. His prints focus on urban architecture, construction of human accommodation and cities' structural design. At the exhibition, his print is closely related to geometrical and structural elements where one can easily sense his passion for the language of architecture. However, his works are not solely architectural; they are also concerned with economic and social issues. His works are completed with varied vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines.
Asmita Alam Shammy prefers to go into details and her lines are provocative. The artwork features a female figure in a sombre mood. Scribbles, lines and unfamiliar objects are noticeable in her work. The female form bears a poignant demeanour.
Rashid Amin is seemingly inspired by landscapes and nature. The painter gets the inspiration from his surroundings, and does not present them in a realistic way. The painter feels abstraction develops from reality. With minimal use of colours and a few arc lines -- suggests dreams, sensitivity and sensuality.
Solitude and serenity are two vital components in the works of Kamruzzaman, one of the talented contemporary Bangladeshi printmakers. He upholds a balance between the individual and his setting -- a balance that explains the sense of desperation. The subjects of his works are in solemn mood and their characteristics are highlighted. At the exhibition, his single print shows a broken ship, the flat backdrop of which is filled with many delicate hues.
Illumination is a prominent feature in the woodcut print of Nazir Hossain and the printmaker generally prefers incandescent light and mystifying background. His figures look to be in motion. His theme and approach are closely connected to the political and social turmoil.
Joya Shahrin Huq has a great tendency towards experimentation where she mainly focuses on forms, lines and figure formations. Her voyages through the world of reality and at the same time unfolds the realm of obscurity.
By bouncing back into the nostalgia of an urban setting, Sheikh Md. Rokonuzzaman plays with the notions of city life. He brings the bicycle from a monochromic perspective which may be a representation of life changing hues, or just a journey back to life.
From India, Ajit Seal, Nirmalendu Das, Uttam Kumar Basak and other participants have contributed significantly with their prints at the exhibition.
Ajit Seal is a renowned Indian artist and graphic arts teacher at the Visva Bharati University. His print showing figures features blue and yellow in its prominence. The print has a velvet soft appearance that is evocative. His creative world consists of human figures which concur serenely with ghostly light and darkness.
Uttam Kumar Basak is a graphic printmaker who would preferably desire to portray life in a world at peace with itself. He has created several working styles and methods in his chequered life. Animals, flowers and figures in varied mood are recurrent in his prints.
Professor Dr Nirmalendu Das has brought out many things in his print. Flower in its varied shapes, trees, birds, fish and knife denote many meanings in his works. Black and yellow have been dramatically used in his work.
Aditi Ganeev Sangwan's print takes a meticulous look into floral imagery where feminine figures have also been demonstrated.
Salil Sahani is a recipient of the National Award for excellent graphic print making. He has mastered himself equally in sculptures. Pradyut Paban Das' lithograph depicts a twisted figure in black shade where his skilled hands have been clearly demonstrated.
Arpan Mukherjee has used the wet plate collodion process, a photographic method that dates back to the start of anthropological documentation of colonial India in the 19th century. The artist has explored the relationship between fairness of skin and preferential treatment in family and broader society.
The exposition has created a platform for contemplative artists from two neighbouring countries. Different viewpoints regarding different provocative issues of the twenty first century have been effectively reflected and shared through the show.
The exhibition was inaugurated on August 26 and will continue till tomorrow at National Art Gallery of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in the city.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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