Saleem’s ‘Speed of Color’ showcases mysticism and spirituality | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 27, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 27, 2019

Saleem’s ‘Speed of Color’ showcases mysticism and spirituality

New York-based Bangladeshi artist Khurshid Alam Saleem’s solo exhibition, Speed of Color, opens today at the contemporary art gallery, Shilpangan, in Lalmatia. Renowned academic and art writer Professor Nazrul Islam will inaugurate the show. Poet, architect and critic Rabiul Husain will preside over the opening ceremony.

The internationally acclaimed artist’s paintings carry his signature style. He is fond of experimenting with new-fangled shapes and techniques in his works that predominantly contain collages. The artist directly pastes pieces of colourful fabrics on canvases, which appear more vibrant and lively in their slightly cracked surfaces. The sturdy brushstrokes, vivacious colours, assorted lines, columns, long and short bars, oval and round shapes, dots, various symbolic configurations and textures that Saleem uses are meant to evoke feelings, sensations and a relationship between human beings and nature.

“I try to converse with nature. The nature that surrounds us is an endless source of beauty and mystery. I find inspiration in the finest details of nature, like a drop of rain, foliage or a fragment of white in the blue sky,” he explains. “Such elements contain new stories and invitations for me to embark on different journeys.” 

Saleem regards strong colour as the most significant means to articulate his feelings and sensitivities. Most of his works explore layers of colours and their simplistic reflections of nature.

As a pure abstract expressionist, Saleem, who has been living in the USA for the last 33 years, concentrates on geometrical forms with various angles and compositions in which blazing crimson, emerald green, bright yellow and soothing sapphire are applied in thick overlapping layers. He symbolises nature, with surging colours like ash, azure, white, shades of chocolate-brown and light purple. Large and tiny bars, circles, dashes and round shapes, merging into each other, signify the seasons in Bangladesh. Black and white textures add to the drama of the compositions. His works pulsate with highly coloured and tangible tones that evoke mysticism and spirituality. Bangladeshi abstractionists are quite inspired by the works of eminent master Mohammad Kibria, who once said to Saleem, “Many imitated my style but you excelled in your artistic efforts.”

Ed McCormack, one of the original contributing editors of Andy Warhol’s Interview, has written extensively on art and popular culture for Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, New York Daily News and numerous other publications. He has also praised Saleem’s skills as an artist.

Saleem worked as the model for Jagrata Chourangi, the first sculpture based on the Liberation War of Bangladesh, created by Abdur Razzaque in 1973. He is conscious about the art movements in different parts of the world. The opportunity to tour many countries for his solo and group shows and visiting many art galleries and museums has allowed Saleem to closely explore the works of many masterful painters across the world. He feels that New York has given him many opportunities to explore himself. He stated that noted painters such as Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Hans Hofmann inspire him.

Saleem’s works have been displayed with the likes of Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Francisco Goya, Mark Chagall and others in Vienna in 2010 and 2011. He received a number of prestigious awards including the Olympic Medal and Torch as an invited artist from the USA at the Beijing Olympic 2008. Speed of Color, opening from 3 pm to 8 pm daily, concludes on August 7.

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