Branding art through constant reinvention
'Constant reinvention' readily comes to mind when one thinks of visual artist Nazia Andaleeb Preema.
Encouraged by her parents, Preema completed classic music and Rabindra Sangeet courses [8 years] at Chhayanaut. She's also a trained dancer [5 years at BAFA]. She majored in Drawing and Painting at Faculty of Fine Arts, Dhaka University. Around this time [mid '90s] when Bangladesh was just getting introduced to computers, Preema was one of the first few to learn web graphic design.
“My mentor, architect Ahsanullah Majumder, told me that this [web graphic design] is the next big thing in art. I bought a computer and started learning on my own,” Preema says.
In 1996, she became the head of Web Graphic, Grameen Cybernet. Since then she has designed 81 websites and has been working as a creative consultant for local and international corporate houses.
During her transition from traditional canvas and paintbrush to desktop and pixel, Preema honed her skills in printmaking as well.
“Art is an all-encompassing continual process. An artist who stops growing is creatively dead,” she says, adding, “One shouldn't, however, jump on the bandwagon just because something has become the latest trend. Evolution should happen only when you feel an urge within.”
Preema's digital art exhibition [in 2003] at Alliance Francaise, Dhaka demonstrated her transition. Titled “Paint & Pixel”, that exhibition showcased her oil paintings and their digital print versions side by side. The exhibition generated wide accolades in the Dhaka art circuit.
Video installation was a logical progression, considering she's already armed with a potent canvas -- her face. “Marry My Egg”, “Monajat” and “Stare Continues” try to reiterate art's impact as a medium of interaction. “Marry My Egg” generated much interest among French art enthusiasts at “Le Bangladesh à Paris” -- a month-long festival held last year.
“I consider myself as a brand,” says the artist who also happens to be the advisor and creative editor of Bangladesh Brand Forum. An art collector buying her work doesn't just get a painting or print, he/she possesses a “Preema”. Becoming a brand takes innovation, reinvention and ingenuity, all of which her works demonstrate.
What's next on her menu? “Sustainable art,” Preema's response.
Sustainable art is produced with consideration for the wider impact of the work and its reception in relationship to its environments (social, economic, biophysical, historical and cultural). Preema tries to define it in simpler terms: “It's art that's not in anyone's private collection or owned by a museum.
“I've always believed that art should have a wider purpose, and it should be accessible to the masses. Art should also communicate with science/technology and economy. It should cater to all, not just a selected few.”
“There's a lot of hypocrisy in traditional art; hypocrisy and segregation. This is the unfortunate reality and we have to come out of this,” Preema says.
Preema's performance pieces -- “Marry My Egg” and “And Stare Continues” -- are attending Venice International Art Expo, which begins today. Titled “Hidden and Forbidden Identities”, the exhibition features multimedia artists from all over the world.
To learn more about Preema's art, visit www.preema.net.