Art is supposed to evoke a sense of feeling when you look at it, and expressing that into words can become a challenge. From that tug of heartstrings to a deep understanding of philosophy, an artist can put all of it on a canvas and convey that to the viewer. And for the times we can’t understand, words make their way towards translating art into that feeling.
The most common form of an exchange of thoughts and sentiments are through words, and what an abstract painting would fail to tell a viewer, words will express by forming an effective bridge between the artist and the viewer. This is the best form of connection between two strangers, and this also paves a way towards a public dialogue with the artist, enabling them to reach a broader audience.
An art writing workshop was conducted by Bengal Foundation for a span of three days, from July 9-11, which catered to a group of professionals who would like to further their skills in writing about different arenas related to art. This was led by artist, writer and critic Mustafa Zaman, editor of Depart art magazine. One of the organisers, Punny Kabir tells us that this workshop will act as a way towards tapping into a different arena of the art scene and create a more diverse community of artists, writers and art lovers. Art exhibitions are the only focal point of the art scene in Bangladesh, but this workshop serves as a way towards mapping the scene and bringing in a different light to it as newer forms of expression of art is being experimented with.
This workshop was broken into two parts each day where the first session focused on lectures, text materials and multimedia presentations and the second session focused on a vibrant, open and interactive discussion session between the lecturer and the trainees. “We wanted a space where we could talk about art in an open manner,” Zaman explained. This is the first workshop of its kind organised by Bengal Foundation, and they hope to expand this workshop in the future.
The first day consisted of simple concepts of art such as the different genres of art writing, aesthetics and other fundamentals. The second day moved on to some historical context of art and how it has evolved in time and the socio-political aspects of it, and the third day moved on to heavier topics such as colonisation.
An interesting part of the discussion session was when the time came to discuss the topic of learning how to write about art. Zaman explained how you can always write following certain guidelines but they’ll always be different from other people as your personality always reflects your writing. According to him, art writing is important as there is a need to contextualise the practice of art. It also answers questions to the issues that a particular art conveys to the masses – ideologies and philosophies can be succinctly interpreted through art writing. He also talked about how this workshop delved into theory and strung it with practice. “Theory is one aspect that we wanted to explore and also the psychological, philosophical and social aspects of art,” he elaborated.
The workshop ended on a rainy afternoon and the trainees are required to choose a focus of their own and compose a piece of writing and after a review, certificates will be provided.