Shilpangan continues to carry out its founder’s legacy. Photos: Prabir Das
Although Faiz Ahmed is no more the work at Shilpangan, one of his most beloved projects, is being continued by Rumi Noman, his nephew. The aim of the gallery, after the demise of its founder has not been, perhaps of the range of the displays before, yet the projects have interesting and are certainly worth viewing by the art buff. The paintings were mounted merely to decorate the room of the buyer – but lend beauty and sensibility to the art lover.
This time the gallery has had a collection of well-known local artists Abdus Qayyum Chowdhury, Shakoor Shah, Hamiduzzaman Khan , Ahmed Nazir, Jamal Ahmed, Mahmudul Haque , Mohammed Eunus, Monirul Islam and Kanak Champa, Javed Jalil, Shahbuddin Ahmed, Ranjit Das Rashid Amin, Rafiqun Nabi, Proshanto Kaarmakar Mohammed Muniruzzaman, Mohammed Iqbal Shaheed Kabir, Rafi Haq and Kazi Salahuddin.
Abdus Shakoor Shah says "Any inner thought or idea of an artist must first be translated through the language of drawing as the backbone of all expression. It is the compass that helps an artist find an understanding of their thought and emotions. Every aspiring artist must go through the learning process of drawing.”
"Landscape drawing", says Hamiduzzaman Khan, specially set in the perspective of night, are the type of scenes I like to sketch. The relationship between soft light at midnight and the mystery of the new day comes to play when attempting to draw darkness.”
Jamal Ahmed says for his shows he often uses his favourite models Pagla and Fatima. "These two have been modelling for the past 12 years" says Ahmed. "A composition of space and a keen sense of observation are two qualities that give my subject matter and interesting expression.'
Mahmudul Haque says,' There is no real set standard as to what qualifies as drawing .Different artists will have different opinions. There will always be a debate among the artist community about the scope and limitations of the definition of drawing I often use I often use simple black lines, both thick and thin.
“Drawing forms the structure of all painting<” says Mohammed Eunus, I often tend to draw from memory. I carry a sketchbook with me wherever I go so I can draw observations from my surroundings. The process helps me to recall the memories which ultimately provide the inspiration for many of my compositions Eunus creates plasticity of surface .Over the years Eunus' style has seen many changes. He has moved on from academic to the pure abstract after playing with the semi-abstract. His abstract work, however, contains traces of figurative work, which he has done before. Today, he has minimized his colours. Line and colour are joined in a new interplay. He leaves a lot of empty space around the creations on his canvas. He is said through the eyes of an individual - lost in past history. Of late his compositions are a combination of broken forms.
“An artist can work in several mediums,” says Monirul Islam “There shouldn't be a set medium for an artist, and the method to articulate an artistic vision should depend on his mood or temperament.The practice of art differs from one individual to another. The concept can be understood from Picasso's paintings. His style of drawing, lines and figures. Monir has always been a close observer of nature. But he records impressions and contemplation if nature. He puts his images on a vast backdrop, with the changing skies. He often decorates his work with calligraphy of the Bengali script. This is important to understand the painting, even if this records a stray thought.
In the sixties he proved himself a talented water-colourist. His etchings and aquatints contain a fine balance between ideas and images. He has made a name for himself in the art world of Madrid.
Qayyum Chowdhury creates fusions of lines and a colour that keeps the viewer mesmerised. He has used folk art more for stylistic reasons. His use of lines and decorative designs and ornamentation bring curved and supple figures, He has arranged images in geometrical forms. His line, driving strength are taken from the “pata”. There is a shimmering effect in his work.
Rafiqun Nabi retains his sensitive and subtle touch. Rashid Amin has a solitary sense of innovation. He is known not only for his paintings but engravings and drawings. His cartoons in the past have stood as well- loved social satire. His “Tokai” or street urchin asks disarming questions, that reach your heart. The world he portrays is never far away—like Chagall's paintings. His colours are immediate and iridescent. He has something of the spirit of Gauguin when he depicts nature in his water-colours. When Nabi went to Greece to learn print making, he chose wood engraving .Over the years he has minimised the use of colours, concentrating on a few evocative hues. He has reworked some of his symbols and motifs.
Ranjit Das keeps to his sensual, tactile self. He often gets restless, in the sense that he very quickly gets weary of what he has been doing in the past and wants to move to a newer phase. He is most at home working on large canvases, which he divides into many geometrical sections. What he does is rather suggestive and poignant. His choice of hues are blue and brown. He often leaves some portions empty – and paint over them lightly. Times he mixes his media—fascinated by scroll and collage painting.
Rafi Haque keeps to his lyrical lines and colours. Kanak Champa Chakma with her tribal depiction combines dreams with conflicts.
Biren Shome depicts minute details in his sketches. His water colours, which mostly have nature as their theme, attempt to bring fluidity of vision. He often uses earthy colours – red, brown, yellow ochre as well as black and white. Figures are found in his rectangles and squares.
Mohammed Iqbal's stand for the unfettered life of the social outcasts and marginal group. He works mainly with symbolic figures—who are dehumanised by urban civilization. His quest leads to moments of self-realization. Animals—horses for instance are juxtaposed with sublime figures. His work aims at peace and harmony on earth.
The passing away of Faiz Ahmed has certainly been a big blow for Shilpangan and those who now run it but they are trying their best to continue his work of giving art the respect and support it deserves.