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Exploring insights and self-assessment

  • Published at 11:46 pm June 26th, 2021
Galleri Kaya
A painting by Mohammad Igbal Courtesy

Galleri Kaya director Goutam Chakraborty selected three painters working in different genres from the ‘80s, ‘90s and post ‘90s

I finally could return to the natural ambiance of Sylhet with a couple of present-day art maestros, courtesy of Galleri Kaya director Goutam Chakraborty. The second trip to the Nazimgarh Wilderness Resort lasted four days from June 20 when it refreshed my mindset and that of my compatriots. 

Goutam, himself a celebrated artist, wanted to bring together some earnest painters of different genres amidst nature so they could paint from their heart. He selected three painters working in different genres from the ‘80s, ‘90s and post ‘90s—Mohammad Iqbal (Associate Professor, Drawing and Painting Department, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka), Aloptogin Tushar (Professor, Department of Fine Arts, Jagannath University) and Anisuzzaman Anis (Professor, Printmaking Department, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka). The selection was done to project a chronological development of Bangladeshi contemporary art. The painters worked in several mediums like charcoal, chalk pastel, acrylic and watercolour. 


Also read: Bangladeshi art critic participates in Swedish residency fellowship


Artist Mohammad Iqbal emerged in the Dhaka art scene in the 1990s with his potent philosophical themes and experimental paintings. His protagonists on canvas are usually saints, spiritualists, exploited people, and children. In recent years, his pet subject has become children, whom he regards as neglected and mistreated at present brutal times. During the trip, Iqbal portrayed a number of female faces in approximately the same position. Through the oval shaped faces, the artist seeks to convey the innocent and untainted dreams and yearnings of the characters. Their eyes also express surprise, pain, longing, puzzlement and panic while they're featured as the predominant aspect of the paintings. During the trip, Iqbal has worked in chalk pastel and charcoal. Spraying of fixative has to be suitable enough to give the charcoal a cheerful and vibrant look and Iqbal has done this skillfully. Overall the artist provides a pleasing look through his art and at the same time his works are narrative-based. He has created varied kinds of scribbled lines and hazy forms with different shades. Some of his works are engrossed with vague forms, compositions and shadowy figures. The backgrounds of most of his compositions are occupied by abstract forms, soothing colours and soft tones. Some works include engravings of ambiguous forms while others are populated by scribbles and amorphous forms. In general, Iqbal invests considerable time on each painting. The most significant feature of his paintings is that the surface appears evenly spread throughout the artwork.

Cerebral artist Aloptogin Tushar articulated his creativities through chalk pastel and charcoal. He has rendered appealing women in all their curvilinear beauty. The painter took considerable time to finish each piece of his works during the Sylhet trip. The artist has massively used charcoal which can bring a permanent imprint on paper. Tushar likes to experiment with bold lines and he has a great ability to give an appealing view to his works where one can get a taste of pure realism. Charcoal is also a flexible medium for Tushar, because the medium helps him to provide a realistic sensation about his characters’ sensibilities, articulations and gestures splendidly. Charcoal sticks particularly force him to focus on large shapes and realistic contours because of their blunt ends. Tushar always chooses a certain language in order to explain the stories of his paintings lively. He has been enthusiastically studying movements of figures (female) and arrangements of compositions for a long time. In this sense, the artist is very cautious about his arrangement of figures. The painter is recognised for his intrepid approach and he crosses great lengths to describe his topics. 

Noted printmaker-cum-painter Anisuzzaman Anis completed several watercolours during the trip. He has now become one of the most significant woodcut printmakers in this country and his works zoom in on urban architectures, construction of human accommodations, and a city’s structural design. The artist has developed an individual style particularly in watercolour medium. He prefers the medium first and foremost. The medium’s lucidity gives him a liberty to impart his creativity smoothly. As a result, Anis can show his deftness in demonstrating the details of light and shadow while reflecting on nature at work in lush greenery, green hillocks, riverine beauty, blue sky and quietness. His watercolours have been done with flat brush and sometimes agile brushing. He possesses adequate insistence and potentials necessary for transforming visual insights of the natural world. Born in Pabna, Anis grew up amidst the beauty and melancholy of the mighty river Padma. Though he lives in a city now, his umbilical cord with birthland remains intact. The images of river have been deeply imprinted in his subconscious mind. When the artist was trying to liberate himself from the rigours of many years of printmaking, he found watercolour as the key to opening doors to a new horizon. Anis loves to capture lush greenery, flora and fauna, boatman's life and pristine nature in close-ups. Most of his watercolours are thinly painted, meticulously organised and done after deep observations.  

Throughout the tour, the artists revitalised themselves with a unique experience and ambiance. They did not feel any additional pressure when limning their creativities. They lived in lavish rooms to enjoy their liberty and got the chance to think individually. The cozy rooms’ surrounding ambiance influenced the artists to generate something unique and remarkable. During their works they capitalised on all the enjoyments and experiences they have gathered in every steps of their lives.

The writer is an art critic and cultural curator.

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