recent exhibition by Shako, an organisation of women artists,
provides a chance for the viewers to taste the latest crop
of works from contemporary women artists.
sometime in July 2003, as Farida Zaman recalls, that Shako
came into existence. It is a ten-member group committed
to art and "social work" as the preface of the
catalogue suggests. The recent show brings together works
of 13 artists of varied age groups. Dispersed in two adjacent
rooms at Bengal Gallery, it is the fourth effort by Shako.
word "shako" means bridge in Bangla. It stands
for friendship. The group attempts just that, they try and
rope in across the spectrum artists. The "Colours of
Shako," as the show is titled, includes three artists
who are not members. They are Farjana Ruma, young social
activist with an Arts major, Ferdousy Priyabhashini, the
much revered self-taught artist whose work melds craft with
art, and Trina Bohan Tyrie, a New Zealander, with a diploma
in graphic design.
show is a conglomeration of ideas and styles. Yet, there
is this simplicity in the thought pattern that connects
all the participants. Even the social critics seemed to
have toned down their biting, abrasive languages to fit
into the spectrum. As is envident in the works of Fareha
Zeba and Shulekha Chowdhury. Not that they have abandoned
their project of revealing the hidden, unpalatable aspect,
dichotomy of the middle class.
most works are tied to the old school of thought, there
are some indications of fresh new reflections. Back from
her prolonged sojourn in the USA, Laila Sharmeen has created
a world of her own by attempting a fusion of Abstract Expressionism
with her scribbles that tend to lay bare her Bangali psyche.
Priyabhashini, with her works made of found tree trunks,
stands out. Most of her sculptural pieces retain an expressive
quality that captures the imagination of most gallery goers.
However, among her latest yields, there is a superb piece
that looks like an abandoned multi-story structure. The
interesting aspect of her work is that they always seem
effortless, as she possesses a magical power to transform
the found objects by doing the least. This particular piece
too is a reminder of her capability of transforming the
real into an imaginary prop that points back to reality.
As bold as she always is, Priyabhashini has whittled out
a building out of a trunk of a palm tree in primitive manner.
This is the magic that she is able to create in her work.
Begum, who inspired a group of young artists by her new
approach to the Oriental technique, now, is trying to come
to terms with realism. The realistic petals that are strewn
across the work "Nature" is testimony to this.
In "Green Water (Logged)" too she tries to veer
toward realism. Green dominates the work and it depicts
the other side of the city where the last remaining water
bodies are gradually shrinking. The image underplays this
aspect, as it is too aesthetically inclined.
Haque draws on the structures of Cubism, courtesy of Picasso.
In "Cold Steel" a Picasso-like woman a faces a
red structure. She fails to do much with structures and
forms in the other two works. The pull of the past works
is resisting her to chart newer grounds. The mildly textured
backdrop in each work testifies this. Her present tendency
is to change her art by resorting to art history. Farida
Zaman too seems to be trying to change her course by incorporating
human figures. Her figures remind one of the works of other
artists. She is standing at a crossroad, the traces of her
dot-filled works have disappeared altogether.
Kanak Chanpa Chakma, Shulekha Choudhury and Fareha Zeba
are present with their usual visual brews. Islam Milky could
have shown a little more boldness to break out of her usual
muld. Her brass sculptures remain as expressionistic as
before and they surely are eye-catching.
Ruma's entries are naive. The directness that she depicts
her reality has possibilities, if she is willing to employ
her craft to express artistic concepts. The only foreigner,
Bohan Tyrie, is a realist. Her works are perfectly rendered
portraits. The way she mixes water colour with pastel to
bring out the personality of her sitter shows her faithfulness
to academic learning.
of Shako kicked off on March 23 and will remain open till
April 6, 2005. Bengal Gallery has printed a nice catalogue
that introduces both works and their creators. The short
information that has been given on artists seems too short,
especially for a catalogue that is fairly capatious.
(R) thedailystar.net 2005