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        Volume 11 |Issue| 15 | April 13, 2012 |


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With the Hammer in Hand

Fayza Haq

Ivy Zaman is always inspired by her husband Hamiduzzaman Khan, Chairman of the Sculpture Department at Dhaka University and well-known for his sculpture work within and outside Dhaka. Ivy herself is famous and has worked on massive bronze bit, creating Begum Rokeya in Bogra, near the legend's home. Whether in cement, wood or metal, she excels. Whether depicting a woman or presenting her modern concept of the seated and meditating Buddha or giving an idea of the Santal women and children in and around Santiniketan, Ivy is full of energy and enthusiasm.

Moonlit Night painted steel 122x153x25cm, 2002.

She is alert to respond at any given moment—whether in her house at the University quarters, or elsewhere. Fairly tall, with short, red, curly hair, Ivy Zaman is ready to speak on art or some related subject, which she teaches and knows about. Ivy is ready to work hard. Whether it's casting in metal, working in stone or cement — Ivy goes at it – as if it were “all is grit that comes to the mill”. She is confident and vibrant with energy. When not engrossed in major work, she does not sit idle but gets engrossed in small portraits, such as the portrait of Rabindranath Tagore.

“Looking at my book from sketches, the Korean sculpture experts invited me to work in granite. In Korea, where there was constant water and rubbish, I donned my apron, and went about my work. A Korean engineer was with me. They weren't able to read English, but fitted it all in with their knowledge of Mathematics. I am happy, as a woman, that I've been able to collect all possible help. One needs monetary assistance and space as well as physical help. One requires admiration for these works too, to egg one on, to give one courage.”

Recounting her experience of making Begum Rokeya, Ivy says, “I was asked to set the work as I wanted. I wished to draw attention to the fact that she'd fled her paternal home many times, being angered by her father's many marriages. The bronze statue was five-and-a-half feet and its base was four-feet. The statue was ten-feet high in all. I had seen Hamid, my husband, working in metal for years when I was 19. As he was always busy with his own work, he was too preoccupied with his own thoughts to help me. Seeing him work on statues, I too wanted to work like him. In Old Dhaka there are metal experts, as in Dholai Khal.”

“As I often don't get the car, I get the pubic transport in the form of the bus and rickshaw. 'Where there is a will, there is a way,' as they say. In the case of the Begum Rokeya, our government supplied the required money, six lakhs taka. Samarjit Rai Chowdhury and Shamsul Warris were in the jury board as I submitted my model of one foot. I also drew a portrait to increase the jury's faith in me. My teachers were Abdur Razzak and Hamiduzzaman. Sarbari Rai Chowdhury and Ajit babu were my other teachers. I felt that I could gather my wits, and take courage for the necessary venture ahead."

Ivy says that as Begum Rokeya is admired universally, she too wanted to pay compliments to a woman who, 100 years ago, wished to free women from ignorance, and showed them the path to education.

Standing Bird, bronze, 18x7cm, 2002.tif
Nature, wood, 120x120x65cm, 2011.tif

When Ivy went with Hamiduzzaman for a trip to Korea, she filled her suitcase with her catalogue, hoping to bring them some usage and to let the people know what she was capable of. She was asked if she worked on the subject of Buddha. She said that she worked on clay, and transferred it on to metal. In Korea, the authorities were glad to meet someone who was more than a house-maker, and was a sculptor on her own merit. The authorities asked her to leave behind her CD and catalogue for reference. Ivy was told that 180 countries had joined the venture. In 2003, Ivy was told that she was one of the participants.

Once in Korea, it was easier to be selected than if she were in Bangladesh—where they were not aware of her existence. She sent a replica by DHL and other reference papers too. Ivy realised that there was an enormous piece of granite, labelled Ivy Zaman, waiting for her to work on. The other participants came from France, Bulgaria, and Russia etc. Beside her, the participants were all male. This had given her the courage to have worked on the Begum Rokeya piece back in Bangladesh.

In 2012 Ivy worked in Shantinekatan, where she had done a course earlier in 1989. At that time, she went as the wife of the famous sculptor Hamiduzzaman Khan. The piece in Kolabhaban, Shantiniketan was done in stainless steel. Her work and CD were saved in their archives. By now, Ivy Zaman has about 14 outdoor sculpture pieces. She has also done Installation art— such as fishermen at work in moonlit night, and she was given ten acres of land as the area space to work in with her name, which gave Ivy a lot of self satisfaction.


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