Yasmin Jahan Nupur explores the pandemic with ‘Time could not be kept at bay’
"[Off] Limits", a group exhibition currently underway in "Chobi Mela Shunno" at DrikPath Bhobon, features projects by fourteen South Asian artistes. Yasmin Jahan Nupur's 'Time could not be kept at bay' is one of the featured artworks in the exhibition, which includes performance photographs, text display and a video.
"At the beginning of the pandemic, the times were different for every one of us and the sense of time and reality deeply moved me during the lockdown," shares Nupur. "That time was quite individualistic, it felt like I was losing something and at the same time, some things were presenting us with new perspectives."
Depicting human relationships from various points of view, Nupur's work explores class distinctions and the social discrepancies people face, particularly women and migrants of South Asia, to increase understanding between people of different backgrounds.
"Time always has a philosophical point of view, the sense of time seemed very important during those days. When it comes to describing the times I live now, the past and the future seem to come together. The present seems to link both the past and the future," expresses Nupur, whose work is influenced by the ecological and community-driven aspects of life.
"I began to look very closely at every object in the house, the loom, the yarn and even the activities of my daughter," reminisces Nupur. "During the lockdown, these everyday objects felt more intimate, I felt they all have a different language and I wanted to incorporate these languages into my work."
"At the same time, all my attention is focused on language, sentences, poems, prose, and reminiscences," says Nupur. "After a long time, I started writing. With each writing, the sequence or scenes come up in front of me."
Nupur's work mostly revolves around how time can be related to the body of the work. As a visual and performance artist, she says, "I could see the time passing by, I could see life passing me by and I started relating with different small elements in nature, news clips, write-ups or poems."
The exhibition features six of her artworks and each of the works has a body of text included in it, be it a poem, a small excerpt or any other text. Nupur staged the photographs, taken by her husband Manir Mrittik. The final installation was a product of hard work, countless discussions with the curators and different experiments. "Language is important to me, as it is incorporated with our history, human body, behaviour, and mentality," says Nupur. "To me, textile and text are very relatable." Her recent work engages deeply with architecture, landscape shifting/displacement, and textile, especially focusing on Jamdani (hand-woven textile) making soft sculpture, and an idea of physical and social constructs affecting her psyche.
In the gallery, long pieces of cloth can be seen hanging from the ceiling to the floor. These pieces of Jamdani fabric were woven by two weavers in a span of only 18 days. "The weavers worked day and night to finish these fabrics and each fabric contains certain words, which were embroidered onto it," shares Nupur. "I used different isolated words, ones that would portray a different sense; the audience can relate to the photographs, the fabric and the words as a whole."
"Being an artiste comes with physical, mental and spiritual struggles," shares Nupur. "An artiste has to work and think on their own 24 hours a day."
"Launching this festival took a lot of courage and a group of people worked tirelessly to pull this off, with the risks of coronavirus still looming around us," says Nupur. "This year, it features multi-disciplinary and diverse artistes. I love how they utilised every space of the building."