• Friday, March 06, 2015


When Art is Sexy

Fayza Haq

Dried up flower petals, worn out stalks of flowers and piles of chopped watermelons are some of Shahid Kabir's subjects presently seen at Gallery Chitrak. Apart from these, there are faces of slum children and bathing working women. Out of simple themes he creates something moving and beautiful. The water-colour strokes are light as a fairy's touch and the soft pastel colours take one back to childhood holidays. The touches on the fruits and flowers are soft and tender. Everything is grist that comes to the mill for Shahid. Living in Madrid, he has come to Dhaka to assert his prowess in his home town. He is intensely emotional and aims at eternity in his paintings.
None of his still life pieces has been arranged. His colours are combined with burnt rice that Santals use for design, and it gives the water-colours an ethereal effect. In one painting we see two flowers just before they died and in the other they are completely withered and yet they appeal to the senses. Shahid sees an object and then interprets it rather than copying it giving it his own mood and feelings. Sometimes drops from his brushes are included to give the paintings the feeling of a complete whole.

Shahid being inspired by Botticelli, many of his works are in tempera. We spot a single grape in a plate ("Grape for little Carmen") and yet this too is moving, the lines and colours appearing almost like those of Old Dutch masters. "Studio Corner" contains a pear and some rotten grapes. "Lonesome" introduces a Mexican lily that is on a potted tub, full of sand, and it appears to touch the skies. The colours, though muted, appear to dance with the rhythm of life. When two such flowers are seen placed together in harmony, it is labeled "Love". The red of the background is the artist's pure imagination.
"Dried flowers" bring in a profusion of fallen, reddish flower petals that appear finer than any rose bouquet. "Eternal Love" presents two jugs, the water form one flowing in a joyous profusion into another. Enlarged petals of flowers are seen in another painting, so that its blues and greens give it a semiãbstract appearance. An empty spoon is seen on a solitary plate and yet the painting looks interesting and attractive.
"Nargis" is a woman bathing with kitchen utensils in an open bath. The woman's beauty is mesmerising indeed. The outlines and flowing hair is done with charcoal. When she drapes on the white sari over her voluptuous hips, the artist captures this too with quick, masterful strokes. "Street Boy" is a sick child made to sit in the sun to drive out the fever. A Sidr victim with her eyes and nose flowing with misery has also been captured.
Shahid Kabir has won three awards in Spain and Bangladesh and has had 12 solo paintings in Spain and Bangladesh. 

Published: 12:00 am Friday, March 21, 2014

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