Bengali Identity | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 29, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 29, 2011

Bengali Identity

Solo exhibition of Abdus Shakoor Shah


Artworks by Abdus Shakoor Shah.

Abdus Shakoor Shah is widely recognised for his folk motifs and ballads. His present solo exhibition at Gallery Chitrak unfolds new ground in its technical and material aspects. It is clear that the paintings seem more time consuming and precisely unique than ever before. Over a large span of his career, Shakoor has been working on folk motifs and ancient ballads. Folk ballads of Mymensingh-the famous Mahua and Malua love stories, Nakshi Kanthar Maath, Gazir Pata, Manasha Pata have found prominent places in his works.
At the exhibition, different types of birds and flowers, peacocks and parrots have featured on a large scale in his paintings. The painter also uses animal figures such as elephants, bulls, cats, tigers, birds, serpents and reptiles.
Shakoor's works define various types of male and female figures, based on rural ambience. A number of his works focus on the expressions of female faces, specially the eyes. Women's ornamentation is another trait in his works.
The painter said about his current exhibition, “I contemplate on mainly pure colours and keep the woman's simple look and her facial expression in my mind. Texts for my paintings come from different ballads such as the 'Mahua' and 'Malua' stories. I have used traditional motifs like alpana patterns. I have also used some geometrical shapes, for instance rectangles, oval, straight lines and circular forms,” said the artist.
At the exhibition, a number of his works predominantly use collages and he directly pastes pieces of colourful saree, gamcha on his canvas. He has used the objects as a part of his experimentation. The canvas appears more vivacious for its little bit of cracked surface.
Each of his painting depicts a complete story that hides our national and traditional identity. In Shakoor's “Story of Mahua” series one gets glimpses of dusky village women who adorn themselves with various ornaments. In the series of paintings, females wear bright clothes and silver jewellery. His “Face” series represents the rustic lifestyle, bringing to his canvas a blend of sensations, poverty and conflict.
At the exhibition, some of his paintings depict wild flowers, leafs, birds with male and female forms. The paintings seem to be primitive and at the same time modern in their way of expression. Line has played a significant aspect of his artworks. The painter has used straight, curves and scribbles while portraying human figure and objects. The treatment of lines is simple in nature giving an illustrative expression to his paintings. The artist usually uses four mediums, ink-drawing, opaque-watercolour, acrylic and oil. Among them he mostly uses 'opaque-watercolour' and acrylic.
Shakoor's painting career began in 1978 when he was studying in Baroda University in India. His passion for art was fuelled by discussions on arts by his teachers in the university. During his study in Baroda University, he started experimenting with different styles, forms and colours. He was highly influenced by Gazir pata, Laxmi Sara, alpana, shital pati, nakshi kantha, wood works, wall paintings and other folk art forms. He was specially moved by the spirit of Bengali art. The works of Jamini Roy also influenced him at the beginning of his career. But over the years he developed a unique style, adapting it from our folk art.
The exhibition will continue till January 10.

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