Malay Bala shares his ambitions, artistic philosophy
Renowned artist Malay Bala won the hearts of avid art lovers with his acclaimed series, "The Reunion of Shakuntala" inspired by the Sanskrit classic "Abhigyan Shakuntalam," written by Kalidas.
The artist pursued his Bachelor's and Master's in Fine Art from the Oriental Art Department of University of Dhaka, where he currently teaches as a professor. He also has a PhD from the same department.
"The Reunion of Shakuntala is indeed one of my best works," shares Malay Bala.
When asked about his opinion on Oriental Art, the acclaimed painter shared his interpretation. "The essence of oriental art is in the spiritual journey the paintings portray," he says. "I believe oriental art expresses a reunion of spirit, nature, and culture in its truest form."
On a geographical note, oriental art is divided into Asian and Eastern parts. The painting style has been a part of Asian culture for the last five thousand years.
"The Oriental painting style was popularised by Abanindranath Tagore, nephew of Rabindranath Tagore," says Malay Bala. "It was based on sharanga, and inspired by the aesthetics of Ajanta, Mughal miniatures, Chinese wash art, and Persian paintings among other things."
"The art was with us even during the Language Movement of 1952," adds the artist. "Every Bangla word we made into our banners back then held cultural values to us."
He explained that art often uses the wash technique in the creation of paintings. A masterful display of colours seems to sprout life into the artworks, often narrating mythical journeys embodying the culture in symphony with the beauty of nature.
Furthermore, Malay Bala spent Durga Puja in his village at Ramshil, Kotalipara, in Gopalganj.
"I loved seeing children during the aarti," recalls the renowned painter. "I also got to enjoy the roaring sounds of the Dhak and saw my daughter dancing with joy at the Puja functions."
"I feel that Puja itself is deeply interconnected with art and culture. We build marvelous sculptures of Durga, and turn the decorations into great, colourful installations," he adds.
In recent years, the artist has relentlessly worked to promote oriental art.
Malay Bala has been curating and organising rich exhibitions, workshops, seminars, art exchanges, cultural programmes, and award ceremonies under his painting study group. He also opened an oriental painting studio.
"I started the Guru-Shishya: Shishya-Guru art exhibitions, an Oriental Painting Studio initiative with support from our well-wishers," he shares.
The Guru-Shishya: Shishya-Guru art exhibitions are held every year in Dhaka. However, last year's event was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the tough periods of the pandemic, Malay Bala was involved in social work. "I have been gathering funds via selling some of my artworks and partnering up with various groups to provide food and sanitisation for those in need," concludes the passionate artist.
The author is a freelance journalist. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.