18th Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh A stroke of inter-cultural unity
Let art pieces of artistes be hung and their enthusiasts be mesmerised! Since the inauguration of the 18th Asian Art Biennale, Bangladesh in the beginning of September at the National Art Gallery of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA), a mega super-exhibition of art has been going on.
An art biennale that has been going on since 1981 and being continued biennially, this year too, it has returned with a great collection of painting, print, photography, sculpture, installation, performance art, and new media art. Going through the doors of the Biennale there is no doubt that the atmosphere is as abstract as it can be like the art pieces and installations that are placed throughout the galleries of the National Art Gallery.
On the first floor, there is a number of galleries showcasing numerous art pieces and installations. However, the most eye-catching one is an installation that has been put right in front of the stairs. A die that has been installed in a kind of checkered board, is bound to claim the attention of anyone that steps in front of it. Marked with black and white squares, it was reflecting the unanimity of religious paradigms.
Following this to the left was a space reserved for performance art exhibitions. Both local and foreign artistes have taken part in putting forth their performances. Throughout the month, there are several such performances that have been scheduled. And to the joys of the enthusiasts, they can absorb and enjoy basking in the bright rays of art tenure.
Fahim Asiful, a private educationist and art enthusiast says, "Most of the exhibits are displaying pieces themed on religious tension, mass killings in the middle eastern countries and other popular contemporary issues. However, this time too, the collection is as great as ever."
Another exhibition that was quite intriguing was a piece done by Nazia Andaleeb Preema, a prolific and prominent visual artist of Bangladesh. It was quite a dark room and on the right, there was a painting upon which a projection was being played over and over again. The projection was of a number of fairy lights inside a small square box which were blinking on and off and turning various colours, mainly red, blue and green.
This was as enchanting and beautiful at the same time. Moreover, right beside the installation was the boxes of lights which were blinking in rhythm with the exhibition. A floor above was the installation by Bipasha Hayat, renowned actor and painter. On the contrary of her being a painter, this time she had an installation for her fans and art lovers.
Various mundane objects, like hair dryers, brushes, hair extensions, computer motherboards, headphones, skillets, car steering wheel, and countless other things were strung up one after the other and painted black. One interpretation of this can be the various aspects of life and its innumerable qualities. Another point of view might be the chaos that we all live in. However, that is something which only came to my mind. To others, it might present a different enormity.
Out of the various form of art -- paintings, art performances, installations and more -- there was something interesting that I had always wanted to see. It was miniature art on the tips of graphite rods. Although these were not miniature per say, still they were very tiny. So tiny, in fact, the audience was encouraged to use a microscope to admire them.
There were a number of elephant sculptures on the tips of these graphite rods. One was very tragic to look. It is said that elephants are able to feel emotions much better than any other animal on the planet. And on the tip of such a rod was an emotional aspect. An elephant was lying down while a smaller elephant was close to it with its trunk in the air as if in a tragic wail.
It is all too well known that elephant poaching is a big issue globally for ivory. I couldn't think of anything else other than this issue which could be pointed at through this piece of miniature art. Although when you line up the rods in the serial, it can be seen that it is the journey of life which an elephant goes through coming to a tragic end. If someone concurs with this interpretation then he/she too will become melancholic at the sight.
This 18th Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh is vast with so many art pieces and installations spread across three floors that it cannot be written down. The ideas along with their expressions are limitless and the interpretations are more abundant. 250 foreign artists with more than 350 artworks and 200 Bangladeshi artists with more than 200 artworks are participating.
The best way to enjoy it is by visiting the super-exhibition. It was inaugurated in the presence of prominent artists and renowned personalities like Abdul Hamid, President of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, Asaduzzaman Noor, Minister of Cultural Affairs, and Bipasha Hayat, actor and artist. The Biennale will be going on until September 30 every day from morning to 8:00pm.
Photo: Md Saifuddin Al Quaderi