Eminent artist Syed Jahangir's 41st solo exhibition, titled “Of Man and Earth II”, is on at Bengal Art Lounge, Gulshan, Dhaka. The exhibition is showcasing stories of Bengal and her eternal profundity. Inaugurated by Professor Borhanuddin Khan Jahangir as chief guest on May 31, Professor Shamsul Wares attended as special guest.
Syed Jahangir loves to portray the landscape and its various aspects on canvas. Green paddy fields, riverside beauty, fishing nets, golden harvests, open-sky, boats and fishermen are the frequent features of his contemporary works. The people of rural Bengal, their hardship and more are featured. The artist has been working in different mediums including acrylic, oil, water-colour, ink. Twenty spatula ink drawings on paper along with 20 acrylics on canvas are on display at the exhibition.
“I find the greatest happiness and inspiration from natural forms and their realistic settings. I was born and raised in my village of Satkhira district. Memories circling my village reign supreme in my nostalgia. I do usually pick cobalt and ultramarine blues to portray my village rivers and the ambience of sky, while I choose golden yellow to symbolize the ripened paddy fields or mustard fields in bloom for depicting my works,” said the artist.
At the exhibition, most of his acrylics and drawings are splendid in terms of his meticulous techniques and the effects of empty space.
“Syed Jahangir's most recent paintings are eloquent in direct emotional appeal, poetic expression and sensitivity to nature. The paintings are abstract and figurative -- abstract because they have flat surfaces and figurative because there is a representation of forms in space. His works reveal a deep identification with and empathy for the subject,” art critique and architect Professor Shamsul Wares writes in the catalogue.
Syed Jahangir superbly portrayed his acrylic, “Rest”. The composition, showing a number of resting boats, is beautifully balanced with regard to golden section. Warm and soothing use of high-keyed blue and golden yellow pigments gives viewers an illusion of bliss.
His figures of fishermen and peasants look lively and compel us into reflecting on their experiences. The painter feels he must demonstrate their everyday weal and woe on his canvas.
The artist's ink drawing on paper “Preparing for Fishing” shows several fishermen preparing for fishing. Fine outline of ink in these painting perfectly enhances the body language of the fishermen, the nets, the boat, and the horizon. At the same time, “Fishing I and II” shows fishermen are setting up for fishing while “Fishing III” shows a fisherman throwing the net into the river.
“Waiting for a day's work”, depicts some female workers waiting with baskets for work. The whole canvas is white, except the women and the children. It also clarifies the sufferings of the low income people.
The artist has portrayed different natural calamities in his paintings titled “After the Flood III” or “After the Cyclone”. These ink drawings indicate the resilience of village people of the south to sustain disaster.
His acrylic on canvas “Husking” depicts a yard where two village women dry the ripened rice. This reminds us of the rural Bangladesh.
“Sunset on the Meghna” portrays a sailing boat in the middle of a river while “Ferry-Ghat I and II” depict some boats on the bank. With the setting sun, the entire environment carries a tranquil atmosphere.
Nature and its seasonal variations, rivers and of course the people of Bangladesh circle his over six-decade career.
Syed Jahangir not only portrays beautiful Bangladesh, but some of his works also depict social and environmental issues like river erosion, hard up labourers, untold hardships of peasants, fishermen and more. As a socially aware painter, Jahangir picks up a number of themes that are closely connected to the rural people. In villages, he finds the true spirit of life.
The exhibition will continue till 21 June and is open from 12 to 8 pm everyday.