• Saturday, March 07, 2015

Mintu Dey's lyrical watercolours

Fayza Huq

Mintu Dey, a 35-year-old artist with a passion for watercolour, discovers music in emptiness. He finds a mystic charm in places like Bandarban and Khulna-- and boats linked up, with two people at work was just one of his works in three exhibition halls of the Dhaka Art Centre at Dhanmondi that concluded on April 17.
There is a poetic touch to his lines, and he does not require floodlights to beautify his image of nature, which is evergreen and soothing. One figure wears a red sarong and the other a blue one. The work brings peace and joy to the onlooker. All the four boats are done as simple sketches.
In his “Ultimate Residing”, he has a small house boat resting beyond some trees, which are placed in mere impressionism of blue, black and green with delicate burnt-umber tree-trunks. A second and a third boat is also visible, despite the melange of burnt sienna and white. The entire image seems to sing of the harmony in nature. Even the sky pulsates with the colours of the rainy sky, as does the small pond – which sings simple beauty and harmony, as did all the works of Wordsworth and Frost.
“Two boats” shows the pulsating co-existence of man and nature, reminiscent of the literary works of Jibananda Das and Michael Madhusudan Dutt. We see four tiny brown figures of boatmen plying their vessels in the endless swirls of jade and white of the water, the sky above the homes of the inhabitants is a gigantic splash of royal blue and gray.
The other watercolour by the artist, who has done 73 of them in all, titled “The way known to me “ has lashings of purple and duck-yellow, showing two people going their separate ways – having met and chatted between the clumps of trees. The manner in which the winding path is brought in, are indeed lyrical. The men are on bicycles, carrying umbrellas. The thorny trees in front, in black and gray, hold the whole composition together.     
“Rupsha Ghat”, another indigo and brown creation, brings in the main ship, large packets of guarded luggage being loaded on to the ship, with misty purple of the entire scene of the workers at the dock.
“Sunshine shortly after cloud” brings in the combination of blue and burnt-sienna, as well as black and umber. Boats, one carrying a boatman, and the other two bearing none, make the place almost dance to the beat of the once pouring rain. Leaving space on the paper creates a magic realism of the artist's own. There is harmony of the overlapping washes of watercolour. The skies, in particular, depict the pulsating mood of the painter.

In “The house belonging to Vadra” and “The swamp Nandon” we find details of land and water mass in jade green – with lashings of gray tone to add to the mystery and magic of the creation, umber and flecks red. The clear path between the hills is brought in by leaving the space empty. With houses, trees, and black boats at the back, the scene definitely calls for attention.

Published: 12:00 am Sunday, April 20, 2014

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