There is a famous quote by Picasso: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” While not completely agreeing with the legendary painter, I would rather say inspiration exists, but you have to seek it travelling.
One can find solace and inspiration under the open sky at the loneliest of places on earth that not only makes you dream, but encourages you to put them on canvas. The inspiration that makes this exhibition, “Into the Valley of Beauty”, a reality sprouted from nature. While going through the paintings by Suman Kumar Sarkar and Zahangir Alom, I was carried away to a distant place where I could hear my thoughts echoing off the walls of ageing hills.
The exhibition opened yesterday at the Zainul Gallery-2 of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Dhaka University. It remains open from 11am-8pm every day, until November 24.
Suman's canvas is a field of rolling energy. The serendipity that lies in the calmness of hills and the vibrancy of nature, as depicted in his paintings, offers onlookers an escape into the world of imagination. The lush greeneries adorning hills, the mountain terrace and the utter earthiness of the downhill villages are in quiet order that creates a sense of longing rightly touching the ever-present void in our minds.
Suman is a professional painter and teacher. Zahangir, on the other hand, is a man whose whimsical spirit keeps seeking the tune of his soul — sometimes here, sometimes there. A journalist and an art enthusiast-turned artist, Zahangir has his inspiration for painting deep-rooted in nature and has taken Oriental Painting, which belongs to our own geographical terrain, as a medium for expressing his thoughts.
Both artists have fondness for watercolor and their artworks carry that mark.
The paintings tell stories where human beings co-exist symbiotically with nature. People walking through hilly roads, rows of huts underneath hills or even herders driving cattle on the mountain terrain remind people of a never-fading idyll.
Zahangir's works reach are remarkable in terms of vibrancy and expression. When the passing sunlight falls on the woods and the curfew tolls the knell of a parting day, nature adorns a new look in some of his paintings. Twilights often make us nostalgic, and his paintings express a longing for going back to past and see the beauty of the twilights he had left behind.
Perhaps the most striking aspect in both the artists' works is colors and how they have been used gently to tell stories with simple yet brilliant brush strokes. Both artists have their individual signatures which the spectators will be able to easily find by just looking at their paintings.
This is when our whimsical spirit asks; shouldn't the mountain peak lurking behind the woods be as accessible as the nearby coffee shop in our city? The pictures of the ever-changing land are so well rooted in the memory of the artists that the onlookers are left with a feeling of contentment.
Now it is time for us, the spectators, to take a break from the moment, and ask “Oh life, let us be true again, to art.”