‘Window’: Anika Roy’s depiction of misery concealed in beauty
What do you see through your window?
Birds flying toward the boundless sky, or the moon shining bright like a newly stamped silver coin?
Maybe you see your neighbour cooking the same old dishes with the noisy pressure cooker, or you see the back of a billboard covering who knows what on the other side.
Anika Roy's first solo exhibition titled "Window" was inaugurated on September 10, where she answered the aforementioned question through her series of paintings and installations. Using pen, pencil and other colouring mediums, Anika tells the story of her perspectives as she meandered through the lane of her artworks.
"Window" was inaugurated by artists and illustrators Farida Zaman, Professor Shishir Bhattacharjee and Professor Sabyasachi Hazra.
The exhibition features 27 artworks by Anika Roy that were created between 2010 to 2022. Starting from a painting of war she painted in an art competition during her childhood to the large oil on canvas displaying the view of a battered building with two windows behind interlaced wires. Anika's artworks describe how her perception of the mundane and the extraordinary changed over the years.
Moving forward, the installation "Metamorphosis of Emotion" is able to earn attention. In this artwork, the dark energy of the obstacles faced in daily life embodied in the black canvas is overshadowed by the journey of becoming stronger in the white-lined illustrations.
As an avid traveller, when Anika travelled to 48 districts of Bangladesh and parts of India, she captured the stories of misery hidden in plain sight in those picturesque places. Her "Travelling with Window" features the socially and politically oppressed people of Kashmir who live in the area, popularly named 'Heaven on Earth' but wish to leave the turmoils of uncertainty and go out of focus.
The artworks under this segment have been painted defying the golden ratio. The paintings of Ladakh showcase the social inequality the dwellers face, where they spend months carving roads on hills and wishing wells but their wishes rarely come to light. It can be said to be similar to Bangladesh's case, where areas that are known as tourist attractions, hide the sufferings of the natives. A scroll adorned in typography connects the woes of the countries in words of grief.
An artwork named "Window" displays Anika's alma mater where she manifested her love for art. Viewed through the classrooms of Charukola, the series "Trivubela" depicts the game of light and shadow of the iconic sculpture 'Trivu' at three different times of the day.
The exhibition also included an informal round table or 'Golpochokro' that took place on the afternoon of September 12. A documentary on "What do you see through your window?" – a collaborative work with Adri Das, was shown and discussed in the exhibition premises.
"As a kid, I used to think a war happened between two sides. I used to draw freedom fighters with guns shooting at the enemy, and doves flying in the sky to signify freedom. Growing up, I realized wars can take place between various entities. War can erupt within oneself and with even the whole world sometimes." Anika said.
In regards to her experiencing her first solo exhibition, she shared, "I can't explain in words how it feels to decorate an entire gallery with my own art that shows my views through metaphorical perspectives. I can't help but wonder if the audience sees what I see. This exhibition is the culmination of my art's journey from when I was developing as an amateur in a cocoon to emerging as a butterfly and spreading my wings."
The exhibition is slated to continue till September 15 at Zainul Gallery, Department of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka.