Melancholy of Urban Life
“I started painting in my childhood and since then I have taken part in many competitions, including international/national competitions, in Egypt, India and Japan. I have collected around 100 international awards,” says Sultan Ishtiaque, whose second solo exhibition “Melancholy of Urban Life” is currently on at the La Galerie of Alliance Francaise de Dhaka (AFD).
“I have dealt with the beauty of nature, rivers, seascapes and still life, but over the years the theme has changed somewhat. Against the beauty of nature and harsh reality there is a search for society. Unplanned urbanisation, traffic jam of Dhaka, the daily life of Old Dhaka… There is a study of old buildings like Panamnagar along with diverse nomads as in dockyards, with focus on the shipbuilding process. People are definitely included as my subjects,” he goes on.
“The complexity of life in Old Dhaka, what it is like to wake up to narrow streets, broken buildings come up in my paintings. There is a bird's eye view of the Mughal period with the Buriganga and the Chawk Bazar. There are the famous Ruplal House mosques, labourers and rickshaw pullers.
“I paint Old Dhaka and its people observing the city through the paintings. Most of my work is based on experimentation of various themes. I stress on downtrodden people, the daily chores of the rickshaw pullers, and the narrow lanes, wrecked buildings, cluttered and bursting with habitants.”
Says the Director of Alliance Francais, Bruno Plasse: “His choice of colours is fascinating. His inspiration comes from his surroundings, where the layman sees nothing but street scenarios. He is a master of techniques, and is very precise with his watercolours, as he paints the Buriganga. He has a longing for loneliness and transforms his insights into mind-boggling emotions. He uses crayon, watercolour paints and acrylic.”
Noted artist Shahid Kabir also spoke about the artist: “I developed a friendship with him while still a student and know him to be wise, honest and affectionate. He will be a great artist and contribute to the country's art.”
The exhibit is on till September 18, from 3pm-9pm (Monday to Thursday) and 9am-12pm and 5:00pm to 8:00pm (Friday and Saturday).