Old Dhaka is the birth place of our art practice; be it fine art or performing arts like poetry, music and dance. It also bears the testimony of Mughal architecture. Traditional festival, like Shakrain, are unique heritages of the Old Dhaka. Shedding light on this heritage, seven members of the artists’ group Joloj are currently showcasing their diverse artworks at the exhibition titled Notun Dekha Puran Dhaka at the contemporary art gallery Shilpangan, marking its 27th Anniversary.
BGMEA President Rubana Huq inaugurated the exhibition on May 1. Eminent writer-researcher Mafidul Haque, art critic Moinuddin Khaled and architect Taimur Islam, CEO of Urban Study Group, attended the inaugural ceremony as special guests. The show, opening from 3 pm to 8 pm daily, will conclude on May 12.
The featured artists -- Mosiur Rahman Choudhury, Shaymal Biswas, Sadek Ahmed, Azmal Uddin Palash, Bishan Bhakta, Al-Akhir Sarker and Biplob Chakroborty of the exhibit have beautifully depicted artworks on the subjects like the multifarious images of the historic Ruplal House, Babu House, Bibika Rawja, three-domed mosque of Lalbagh Fort, Johnson Road, Shakhari Bazar, Bangshal, Ahsan Manjil, Bahadur Shah Park, Buriganga, the jailkhana (prison), the rainy day at Chwak Bazar Shahi Mosque, the resting horse-driven cart and many poetic compositions on the impression of old Dhaka.
Gallery Shilpangan started its journey in 1992 to create a platform for aspiring artists. The forerunner of Bangladesh’s social and cultural movements, renowned journalist Faiz Ahmad with his friends, including the first chairman of the gallery Barrister Syed Ishtiaq Ahmed founded the gallery on May 14, 1992. Although there were a few art galleries at the time, Shilpangan emerged as the first full-fledged gallery under a private initiative.
In the 90’s, besides becoming a hub for painting exhibitions and art sales, it also became recognised as the leading art centre of the country.
“Today, we feel that the presence of quite a few modern and spacious art galleries in the country, has to an extent, has materialised our dream of promoting art,” said Rumi Noman, the director of the gallery. “Even today, Shilpangan considers itself to be a platform of creative expressions for promising painters. Despite challenges and the discomfort of having to change the location, the gallery continues to remain unabated in its journey.”