Tranquility of the past
“Jol Bindu” by Md. Shahnoor Mamun at La Galerie of Alliance Francaise displays excellence in water-colour by a fairly young local artist. His depictions of Old Dhaka and nature are marvellous. The exhibition which opens on August 23 will end on September 6.
The guests due at the inaugural include media personality Mustafa Monwar, Robiul Islam of the Department of Ceramics, University of Dhaka, and art critic Mainuddin Khalid.
In his delineations of Old Dhaka, done in beige, black, pale purple, there is the depiction of the older part of the city--which has known Muslim rulers and soldiers of the colonial times. There are black and mauve rickshaws plying on the streets. The houses on two sides are in burnt umber, burnt-sienna and black. The alcoves, windows, and turrets are in pale mauve, black and beige. A bread-van in brilliant red and bright yellow goes by. The rain water on the streets is reflected in orange, brown and gray. We see the nonpareil beauty and harmony of Old Dhaka, with gray, narrow streets. The rickshaw and the bread- van are delineated with precision. This is despite the fact that the artist has used water-colour which one knows is the most difficult to handle. It requires skill and passion to use the medium accurately. The rickshaws, people: as much as the golden images reflected on the dark street have all been dealt with an eye for detail. The windows, roofs and one part of the building, in near black, are a sight for sore eyes--eager for art with depth and care --the paintings are more than a mishmash of colours and images.
The rain on top of the invitation card folder, bring in Bengal's rain--“the rain it raineth every day” (Shakespeare). The black and indigo blue- people with umbrellas. The sheets of rain, falling on the dark foliage and the backdrop are in sheets of ink-blue and three bits of silver light. The image is truly nonpareil and breathtaking.
The pigeons of Old Dhaka, seen against red, chrome –yellow light are superb. The birds are in gray and are innumerable. They have chests and fan tails. The houses with lit-up windows and with wooden shutters are unique. The wonder of Old Dhaka is here depicted with perfection. The yellow and indigo contrast is indeed magnificent.
The “Riverside of Padma” is depicted with the brown leafy trees in the background. Against the clutter of wooden houses, with wooden roofs, the art work is wonderful to gaze at. This is even when one is in a hurry. This is again, despite the fact that the more or less a sketch in paints, although with depth, recalls the old Dutch and Spanish Masters. This is even when the maestros worked in oil, and here we confront water-colour. One can comprehend the intensity of the painters' feelings and sympathy with nature. Mankind depicted here are those who happen to exist here and there--six in number--two plying a cart.
The charm of Old Dhaka is found repeatedly in the artist's work. Although we no longer have the magnificence of the “Chhota Katra” and “Bara Katra” the depiction is with a soul pitch. There is a misty mosque, with three minarets looming in the background. At the two sides are the crammed houses in burnt- sienna and burnt umber. They are seen on the twin sides of the narrow street. The shadows of the bystanders and stalls, as well as the single rickshaw create a picture of serenity and harmony. The work captures the peace and tranquility of the past.