<i>Of beauties and beasts </i>
If one goes in for realism, Samiran Chowdhury's recent exhibition at Saju's Art Gallery was a veritable feast of colours and forms. His chalk drawings of bulls and battle scenes were creations full of vigour and action. His scenes from nature were also moving.
Samiran painted and drew as a child, encouraged by his father, even though it was not a subject at school. He joined the Institute of Fine Arts DU in 1980, and there got the guidance of teachers like Mahbubul Amin, Rafiqun Nabi, Abdus Shakoor and Abdul Baset. Aside from his class work he did other paintings which he sold to the galleries. Samiran says he loves doing portraits from his imagination. "I can't possibly expect to get models with perfect features and figures," he comments. Most of his works were in mixed media, using water-colour, acrylic and oil pastel, his favourite being water-colour. Asked about the problems he faces as an artist, Samiran says that while people are ready to praise, he does not get sufficient monetary reward. As for session jams as a student, he says that although it meant that it took him more time to get his degree, yet he got a longer period of training, for which he is grateful.
Samiran's greatest interest are women's figures with exquisite features and body proportions. In one of his paintings he showed a woman coming out of a bath, with long dripping hair and a scanty diaphanous sari. Another was a tribal Pakistani woman with delicate features, heavy jewellery and embroidered clothes. This was inspired by a recent trip to Pakistan, where he had his exhibition. A couple of female friends were seen sharing secrets under banana trees, and this too glorified women's beauty.
Based on the Liberation War, he made many drawings in charcoal with flags, rifles and soldiers, some including passing dogs, joining the fray, to lend interest. Pakistani soldiers were shown as captured. Fighting bulls had been added to the exhibition to present his forte in drawing. These sketches have in mind Zainul Abedin's drawings of cows. Doves too had been included in his repertoire and this was done in mixed media. Samiran says he has always been intrigued by the figures of bulls, dogs and goats.
A portrait of Bangabandhu, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, done in black and white, with red and green of the national flag in the background, was a rich addition to the collection. The shaking of the forefinger and the tossing of the front locks -- while giving a fiery speech had been carefully captured.
Fishermen with only "lungi" and "gamchha" were shown drawing their nets, early morning, before the sun was out. Behind them were boats, houses and hills.
Yellow flowers, seen in a garden, with a lot of texture work in white were there to be seen too.
Samiran's favourite artists are Michaelangelo, Da Vinci, Boticelli and Raphael. Among the modern painters, he admires Van Gogh and Picasso most of all.