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Dhaka Tribune

Invisible Cities

Update : 25 Nov 2016, 06:30 PM

The solo exhibition of Rokeya Sultana, titled Invisible Cities will be held in Nandan Museum, Shantiniketan from November 25-28, 2016. This is the first solo exhibition of the work of the Bangladeshi born artist in Shantiniketan since her graduation from Kala Bhavan in 1983. The artist will be a visiting Professor at the Department of Graphic Art at Khala Bhavan from November 23 to December 2, 2016.

Professor of the Department of Printmaking, Dhaka University, Rokeya Sultana is an internationally acclaimed artist. A Fulbright Research Fellow since 2012, Sultana continues to further her investigation of printmaking, most recently participating in a residency at the prestigious Cicada Press, College of Art and Design in Sydney. Sultana has developed a unique printing technique, the pressure-print, when stencils and found objects are used to create impressions directly on paper. The resulting body of work, the Fata Morgana series, will be presented along with paintings from an earlier period in the artists career.

The exhibition will be held in the historically significant Nandan Museum in the Kala Bhavan complex. Such luminaries as Abanindranath Tagore, Gaganendranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Bind Bihari Mukherjee, Ramkinkar Bajja and many others have worked and shown in these premises.

From its beginning in 1986 when Maharshi Devendranath Tagore set up a small retreat centre in a grove of chhatim and date trees, Shantiniketan has been place of meditation and research. His son, the poet and radical educationalist Rabindranath Tagore founded a children’s school on the territory, prompted by a call to bring back the ancient Indian tradition of meditative reflection and to create a natural environment for learning. In 1921, using the Nobel Prize money that he received for Gitanjali, the poet expanded the school and founded the higher-studies college which has grown into Visva-Bharati University.

The exhibition is a reflection on the spirit of Shantiniketan as a living vision and ideal of human spirit and creativity. The title Invisible Cities refers to a novel of the same name by Italian author Italo Calvino, a poetic work of magic-realism on the subjects of existence and the imagination. The selection of works are from the artists earlier romantic period along with current pressure-print works.

Sultana is inspired by nature, human relationships and the intimate architecture of the psyche and the soul. Her work echoes the words of Rabindranath Tagore who reflecting in The Poet's Religion wrote:

“Poetry and the arts cherish in them the profound faith of man in the unity of his being with all existence”

The exhibition is curated by Katerina Don, a freelance art-handler and visualizer. A limited-edition catalog will be published on the occasion of the event. The exhibition was made possible with the support of Energis Limited.


Rokeya Sultana is an internationally acclaimed artist hailing from Dhaka, Bangladesh. She has received numerous awards for her work which has been exhibited around the world, most recently in the USA, Japan, Germany, China, Egypt, Denmark, India, Malaysia, Belgium, Netherlands, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Poland, Nepal and Korea. Recognised as a master printmaker, Rokeya Sultana has participated in leading international visual art conventions and fairs including the Graphics Conferences in New Orleans and San Francisco, Miami Art Fair, NY Art Fair and Bombay Art Fair. Sultana is a Fulbright Researcher and has participated in numerous residencies including a recent project with Cicada Press College of Art and Design, Sydney.

Recent Awards & Achievements

2016: Collaborative workshop at VAST, Bhutan. 2015: Residency at Cicada Press, College of Art and Design, University of NSW, Sydney 2015: From the Nile to the Padma, National Museum of Cairo 2014: International Biennial Print Exhibit 2013: Print Biannale, Hawai 2013: Printmaking workshop Under Pressure Shafiuddin Studio, Dhaka, Bangladesh 2012: Fulbright Research Grant, University of Nebraska, Linkoln, USA 2011, 2014: Participant, Southern Graphic Conference (New Orleans and San Francisco) 2011: SAARC Art Camp participation in Colombo, Sri Lanka 2003: French Government Grant, L’Atelier Lacouriere et Frelaut 2002: Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Award, National Art Exhibition 2000: Daily Janakantha Second Best Award, 1st Bangladesh Charushilpi Sangsad Biennale Art Awards 2000: Artist in residence at the University of Nebraska, USA

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