A masterful blend of Rasa and modernity | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 06, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 06, 2017

A masterful blend of Rasa and modernity

Hamiduzzaman Khan Retrospective at BNM

A retrospective exhibition showcasing an array of artworks by eminent sculptor Hamiduzzaman Khan is on at the Nalinikanta Bhattashali Gallery of Bangladesh National Museum (BNM). Titled “Hamiduzzaman Khan Retrospective”, the exhibition displays sculptures, installations, drawings, paintings and prints done by the artist over the last five decades. Art connoisseurs will also have the opportunity to watch the videos and interviews by the artist. The exhibition concludes on November 10.

Khan's mastery is not limited to sculpture; his brilliant watercolours have earned him accolades far and wide and established him as a versatile artist. As a master of composition, he loves to portray both the bright and dark sides of any subject. This was depicted well at the exhibition, where the artist soulfully depicted the corpse of a Liberation War martyr. The frame of the painting is intentionally augmented outwards on four sides to give the appearance of a coffin.      

Hamiduzzaman's sculptures includes the portrayal of the Gate of Heaven, with male and female figures gazing down with bowed heads. The work symbolises the greatness of the omnipotent, compelling viewers to forget their self egos. Hamiduzzaman Khan also incorporates the rust of mild steel to portray the “Waiting Mother”, who waits for her son to come back from the battlefield of 1971 in post-independent Bangladesh. Here, “mother” represents the motherland that awaits the sublime offspring who will build the golden Bangladesh, to carry forward the legacy of our valiant Freedom Fighters. 

Also known for his amiable, pleasing personality, Hamiduzzaman shuns the thought of confining himself to a single medium, always experimenting with diverse styles throughout his career.   

“I am always experimental and love to celebrate diversity when it comes to art. The present retrospective is a reflection of this spirit,” said Hamiduzzaman Khan.

Solitude and serenity are vital aspects of his works. Lighting is a prominent feature in his art and the artist generally prefers glowing light and mystifying settings. The magnanimous beauty of the mighty Himalaya has been portrayed in a number of watercolour paintings, where the morning light gleams through the thick clouds over the Himalayan range. Here, an art connoisseur is bound to take the Rasa of watercolour wash. The bold and the beautiful brushwork with dark blue hues over the big-sized paper are rather poetic. The artist has also displayed the brush he used making arts at the show. 

The artworks reflect the artist's inner feelings, real life experiences, nostalgic memories and thoughts. They bring together his dynamism in paintings and sculpture alike.

Khan is an energetic and ceaseless creative personality. He finds peace in his work, whether sculpture, painting or drawing. But his major recognition as a sculptor came in the early '80s when he was commissioned by the Bangladesh Government to decorate the fountain at the front entrance of the Bangabhaban with a sculpture. Most of his sculptures are either stylised figurative (both male and female shapes) or abstract forms, in painted steel, concrete cement, bronze and other metals.

Khan's quiet and intensely contemplative landscape contains a symbolism that alludes to peace and hope in nature. Stones turn gems with the magic touch of Hamiduzzaman Khan. The minimalist master has vast experience and insightful thoughts on life, nature, creation, afterlife and the country's opulent artistic and cultural heritage. 

The sculptor has turned the pieces of hard black granitite, granite, marble, white marble, coloured marble, marble di carrara, bronze, stainless steel, mild steel and more to depict the soft, sweet and deeply meaningful pieces of art. He portrayed sculptures on diverse themes like the universe in its glory, seeds, the birth of earth, the ektara of mystic baul, peaceful mudra of the sagacity of Lord Buddha, a waiting mother, the beauty of capsized calligraphy of mother language, remembrance of 1971 and definitely the multitude aspects of nature and rich folk heritage. 

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