Bagher Deshe (Country of Tigers), a solo folk art exhibition by artist Tiger Nazir Hossain is currently taking place at EMK Center in Dhanmondi, in celebration of International Tiger Day, which was established in 2010 at St Petersberg Tiger Summit. The exhibition showcases the tigers of Bangladesh, encased and surrounded by popular motifs of Bengali folk art. EMK Center also arranged a seminar on tiger preservation in Bangladesh as a part of the event.
Potchitra, which means scroll painting, is an art form that has been practiced in our region since the 12th century. However, as many local and traditional art forms face the fear of dying out with the emphasis being shifted to more modern and westernised designs, Potchitra is not excluded from that threat. Bearing that in mind, it is both timely and effective to use this medium of art to portray the Bengal Tiger’s existence in different activities associated with our region, as the conservation of tigers in the Sundarbans has become a pressing issue.
The series of artworks takes the audience’s attention to many aspects of our region, which are mostly hidden behind the hustle and bustle of the cosmopolitan Dhaka, from the waterbodies that surround it to various rural festivities. While the artworks feature various popular patterns of folk art, the tiger invariably stands out in each one. A tiger is seen to give a woman a ride on its back in one painting, while in another, it is rowing a boat. In short, the tiger is placed everywhere that tigers would not be found and in doing so, the artist manages to strike a chord with the audience, urging them to make an effort to preserve the riches of Bangladesh.
This exhibition marks Hossain’s 50th solo show. He consistently works in the Potchitra medium, taking inspirations from nokshikatha embroideries and designs on hand held fans and on the walls of huts. Bagher Deshe will conclude on August 8.