Young artist Sultan Ishtiaque's solo exhibition “Ultramarine” opened at the Alliance Francaise de Dhaka (AFD) on May 20. Gracing the inauguration ceremony was Jamal Ahmed, Chairman of the Department of Drawing and Painting and renowned art critic Moinuddin Khalid. The guest of honour was Olivier Litvine, Director, AFD.
Ishtiaque, in his final year of BFA in the department of Drawing and Painting, has taken part in a number of group exhibitions before. He won “Media best award in watercolour” and more recently, “Mahbubul Alam Memorial Award 2014” in oil.
Ishtiaque's favourite colour is ultaramarine, as it helps him create illusion, which according to him, symbolises depth, trust, loyalty, wisdom, truth and faith. He has worked in places like Old Dhaka, Farashganj, Farmgate, Buriganga, Bandarban's Ruma and various places, where he found interesting subjects, colour and views. The subjects of his paintings are landscape, still life, human figure etc.
Ishtiaque shows his work regularly to his teachers Shishir Bhattacharya and Jamal Ahmed. Most of his works are in colour, except the cityscapes drawn on Farmgate.
In memory of Rana Plaza, he has two works in pencil and three in oil. However, he says he feels most relaxed with watercolour.
The artist's “Boats of Buriganga” is a still life. It depicts the broken and mismanaged life of the boatmen. Two of the boats carry cement and tiles. In the background are large boats. The water of the river is polluted by the rubbish from the adjacent factories that line the Buriganga.
Another painting shows how the workers struggle despite the heat. There are children too. The huge ships dwarf the men. There are the strange noises emanating from the repairing of the ships. This is watercolour on canvas paper.
The night view of the dockyard plays with chiaroscuro. There are powerful lights, while the darkness also prevails. The small size of the people shows the enormity of the place.
On the cover picture of the brochure, stone and bricks are shown for texture effect. Men in lungi are waiting for passengers and they are seen exchanging views and news of the time. At the back, we see the passengers themselves. The lights of the steamers light up the back. This is the story of everyday life of the boatmen.
“Farashganj” from Old Dhaka, has pillars; the painter has tried to capture the perspective. The trailing hedge has been brought in. The texture of the old bricks is wonderful to study. The other picture of Farashganj brings in parts of an old building. It has three arches and broken pillars, while electric wires bring in a modern element.
“Ruplal House”, also from Old Dhaka, has a gabled roof, balustrade and the view is from top of the building.
As for Chittagong, he depicts the rain, while people are moving about in boats and holding up black umbrellas to ward off the downpour. There are sampan boats at the back, carrying buoys for protection.
“In memory of Rana Plaza” was the depiction of the place after the destruction. There is blood on the rods and wood of the construction. There is the lighting striking the place, before the individuals are buried.
The exhibition continues till June 2.