Staring Women or “Opolok Nari”
-- A call to stare back!
A piece of art is not just an emblem of beauty rather it should carry a deeper message. From this belief, Nazia Andaleeb Prema has attempted to convey a social message in her solo art exhibition “Staring Women” or “Opolok Nari”. The exhibition has started in the Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts from January 15, 2010. The 12 day long exhibition displays around 50 paintings by Nazia, along with a four minutes video show, by the artist herself. According to Nazia, art reflects the inner feelings of the artist, thus her paintings do not follow any conventional style rather she appears to have created a style of her own. Most of the paintings are oil on canvas although an equal amount of mixed media and four pen on paper works can be found in the exhibition. Nazia feels that the boldness of her message can be better brought up with the brightness of oil painting with its firm and contrasting nature. The main theme of the exhibition is “return of the stare” that women get in their daily life. Through her paintings Nazia urges women to stare back at the society. Nazia says that she even practices this in real life and her paintings thus symbolize the protest through staring back. As a result, the immense presence of “eyes” is found in almost all the figures in the paintings. Usually, when women form the main subject of a picture, her bodily beauty is highlighted with extra emphasis. Nazia comes out of this and brings forward the inner beauty of women that can be explored through her gaze. In fact women's eyes, as is found in Nazia's creation, open a mysterious and meaningful world of the female gender. The artist has brought out women from almost all walks of life and status - the modern women, the traditional one, the out going one, the veiled one, and even the widow. She even experiments with Radha in a series of paintings, bringing her out at different moods and circumstances. Her use of vibrant colors has brought out the bold nature of women, the inner strength of women that she wanted to bring out. Another interesting presence, found in many of the paintings is the veil. Nazia believes that the veil is not necessarily a symbol of imposition of the patriarchal society rather many women put on the veil of their own free will. Thus the veil does not appear as a weakness in Nazia's work, instead she converts it into strength.
“Staring Women” has been applauded by Syed Manzoorul Islam as the work of a “mature, confident and insightful artist”. The renowned artist Murtaza Bashir praised Nazia's brashness in using non-feminine colours like black to present the world of women. He went on to praise Nazia's tactful use of space and form, observing this as the artist's natural gift.
Born in 1974, in Dhaka Nazia Andaleeb Prema, completed her bachelor and masters in Fine Art from the Institute of Fine Art, University of Dhaka. She has taken part in a number of grant workshops, camps and art fairs within the country and abroad. Currently, Nazia is the Advisor and Creative Editor, of Bangladesh Brand Forum and a visiting faculty member in the Department of Architecture at North South University. The artist has received many awards for her work including the Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin Award in Painting by Bangladesh Charushilpa Parishad in 2007. “Opolok Nari” is her 12th solo exhibition. Besides these, she has participated in around 20 group exhibitions within and outside the country.
(R) thedailystar.net 2009