Founder of Porapara Space for Artists, Robii has experimented with various forms of art throughout his career. The event featured a presentation on his artistic journey, shedding light on how he, a young man from Patenga, discovered the world of performance art. The artist opened up about the experiences that shaped him and drove him forward.
Born in 1975, Robii wanted to pursue art from a young age. He was enrolled in Chittagong University in 1996. However, he was soon disillusioned as he faced harsh realities. It was a time of unrest and fear, where one could not utter a word against the authorities. The grim and perilous environment, coupled with violence at the campus, muted everyone’s freedom of expression. This was especially evident for artists, as there was not a single exhibition held during his eight years of university. The frustration of having his freedom taken away led him to pursue farming for a while. But when his best friend, Sanjay Talapatra, was brutally murdered in broad daylight, Robii decided to take a stand through performance art.
Robii describes his art as a ‘‘social engage act”, due to its politically conscious nature. He also talked about his experiences of performing for social and political movements. “To be frank, performance art is like a guerilla in art. In many countries, artists had to hide soon after they made a statement against the authorities,” he said. “You can create such an impact with the simplest of tools. A performance artist has to physically portray the art through their body, making it impactful, yet dangerous.” Other artists also exchanged their views at the interactive session. Afterwards, Robii put up a short performance.“The base of a play is literature and the base of a performance is like a painting. In a play, the message has to be elaborated through characters and dialogues. Whereas in performance art, one has to portray the message in the limited space of the canvas,” explained Robii, talking about the difference between performance art and acting.