As one entered Shilpakala Academy with its splendid array of statues, comes across Habiba Akhter Papia's three metal pieces, two of which this correspondent had viewed before at the Bengal Gallery's exhibit. The National Sculpture Exhibition opened at the National Art Gallery of the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on May 11, and will continue till May 20. A total of 105 works of 78 sculptors from across the country are being featured here.
In her latest endeavour, Papia had a dozen angles, flitting over an egg-shaped creation, marked over with Bangla calligraphy. Her bottle with three leaves had Bangla calligraphy all over it as well. She also had a metal jug containing frozen roses. Her attempt at delineating life through metal was admirable indeed.
As one entered the Shilpakala Academy building display, one encountered a magnificent pile up of light, a fantastic piece of chopped wood, glued together with the appearance of a huge wooden enclosure, which seemed like a mosquito net without a top. Another piece included two men leisurely reading books.
Syed Abdullah Khalid's “Attobishhash” was represented with a man's carved head in white cement. There were folds in the neck as one ventured to get a closer view.
Joyashish Ashjejo has “Bibroti”, which presented a well carved-out cupid in white cement under a tree. There are instances of couples making love, in the same white cement plaque. The image of a mother and child was also visible with considerable dexterity. Sheikh Sadi Bhuyia had “Atto Prokriti Roshayon”, in black metal, near at hand. This depicted a female nude carved with elegance.
Devdas Kumar's “Prokiti Gothon” had two idyllic swirls of metal, which recalled two people lying down as if sunbathing, on the seashore, among the sand, under some imaginary umbrella. Swirls of cement brought in “A farm of Alien” with a woman's head sprouting from a piece of vegetable. What was stunning, in contrast, was Goshai Pahal Lobby's huge yellow ball with two brown beaks at two ends. Nurul Amin's “Composition” contains two blocks of burnt sienna colour, which contain a traditional hand-fan from the villages, a dhol, a winding, curling, venomous snake and a “Hukkah” (hubble-bubble).
Sigma Huq had her “Mukhosh 5 and 6”. She also had “Eka Eki” -- two birds rearing three chicks, done in glazed, cracked white cement. Faizullah has a chilling scene to present. The white creation from cement was crawling with human skulls and hungry buzzards. The scene was moving and recalled 1971, when the mindless Pak army fell on the hapless Bangladeshis, who tried to flee, in vain. Rajib Kumar Shaha has “New Life”, with three heads emanating from a vegetable.
Rukhsana Bahar has a strange, out of this world creation, made by piecing together bits of wood, metal and a blob of plastic. There were four cows in clay in Md. Rabiul Hossain's “Shongram”. MI Mithu's “Jibon Boichitra” had two curling pieces, suggesting female forms in black. There was also Aminul Islam's “Face of Life” with two heads sharing an earphone, in white cement. Produt Kumar Das had woman in blue metal pieces, welded together. Md. Mujahidur Rehman displayed a white canvas shoe.
Such is the post-modern vision of some of our artists --- with clay, cement and metal.