A Bangladeshi artist and a curator are holding an exhibition for the artist’s work in possibly an unprecedented manner.
Shikdar Saikat’s art exhibition, titled “Television of the Rotten Soul
,” will be open from November 22 to 28 on the online photo-sharing service Instagram, curated by Prodorshoni, an online platform for art run by cinema and art researcher Imran Firdaus.
This will be the first exhibition by Prodorshoni, which aspires to be a web-based art platform. Its focus is on artists in Bangladesh who stand out from the mainstream – those who have stepped out of the textbook, the limelight, the market – says the platform’s Facebook page.
Online exhibitions for art have been a thing for some time now, and artists have been using the web to reach out to an audience in many ways for decades. The art and photography community Deviantart, for example, has been around for 17 years.
Considering how hard it is for an artist in Bangladesh to get access to the handful of art galleries that exist and the costs involved, online exhibitions are a natural course of action. However, Prodorshoni’s initiative may possibly be the first-ever exhibition on the web that is entirely based in social media.
Online exhibitions themselves are not a new phenomenon in Bangladesh, says curator Imran Firdaus.
“As far as I remember, LalJiper Diary was the first to start online exhibitions independently. I was part of that too,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
“Any artist can publish their work anywhere, from online to on a wall. An exhibition is a concept where somebody, aka a curator, is responsible for how and where the artwork should be displayed,” he added.
While he admitted that going online rather than physically showcasing their work was a big deal for many artists, Imran said the main goal of Prodorshoni was to take the art to where the audience is, on the new media and social media space.
Asked if there were any concerns about copyright issues, he said the onus was on the artists publishing online to appraise themselves of copyright laws and make use of those laws to protect their intellectual property.
“Otherwise you can take a screenshot on any website or app,” he added.
The exhibition itself promises to be a challenge for the senses.
Shikdar Saikat's series “Television of the Rotten Soul” started from reading the poems of poet Falguni Roy's book Noshto Atmar Television, 1973. The name of the series also comes from the book's literary translation. Ten pieces of work drawn in diverse media – pen on paper, collage, drawing on magazine page – explore the themes of urban life, media, mediocrity, hypocrisy, oppression of freedom and denial of rights by the state and the society, and challenge the notions of political correctness.
“Shikdar Saikat is an unknown outlaw disguised under the mask of the general public,” Imran proclaims.
“His artwork tells the tale of costive, empty nests of urban life where people do things for the sake of seeking attention or being trendy,” he says.