Digonto, a group exhibition by three women, concluded recently at Drik Gallery. The three artists, Enakshi Saha Ray, Habiba Ashraf and Ishrat Parveen Leena have been students of Nondon Art School for several years. Under the guidance of Shwapan Chowdhury they have been motivated to explore their own styles and put together a body of work to be displayed at this exhibition.
For Enakshi and Leena, this is their first ever exhibition. Today, they feel that they have the confidence to pursue art more professionally, as a career. They also said that putting together the works for this exhibition has helped them to identify their personal styles and has given them ideas of how to break out of the influence of their art class alone.
As children, all three women loved drawing and painting. But as years passed on, other responsibilities took centre stage in their lives which is a very common case. Yet these individuals’ stories are set apart by the comeback they have been able to establish even after finding themselves in unrelated fields or immersed in household and family duties. They pursued art as a hobby but their dedication to the craft has allowed them to reach a stage that they can be proud of.
Enakshi and Habiba joined Nondon while admitting their daughters to the art school. Instead of waiting out the whole class period, Habiba was inspired to draw on her childhood memories of her love-affair with art and started to learn the skills and techniques from scratch. She feels that there are many women who are in the same phase of life that she was in. They end up spending a lot of time waiting, whether it is for their husbands at home or for their children at schools. Habiba hopes that through her personal journey and artworks, other women will be encouraged to form groups and specialise on a craft. She feels that through the practice of the arts, many of the societal negatives can be gotten rid of. Even children may be prompted to follow suit and resist other toxic temptations prevalent in our communities.
The artworks displayed featured a variety of mediums, textures and styles. They used pen sketches, watercolour, acrylic and also assemblages. It was apparent that even though these work the outputs of a class curriculum, their teacher facilitated the expansion of their imaginations. Leena said that her comfort zone lies in realism but she portrayed a deft ability to incorporate surreal, impressionistic and surreal styles as well in her artworks. Many of the artworks were done in similar subjects or media, yet each artist has matured enough to reflect their individuality through the pieces.
Each day at the end of the exhibition, a music circle was arranged. The exhibition was inaugurated on April 19 by the former Minister of Cultural Affairs, Asaduzzaman Noor, MP. Prominent artist Monirul Islam was also present.