June 20, 2013 | 02:15 AM (BD Time)
20 June, 2013 Thursday
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Diverse Strokes: A contemporary art exhibition
Sheikh Arif Bulbon:
Art is a medium that allows one to transcend a number of divisive identities, whether they are barriers created by ethnicity, language, religion or gender.
No longer a marginal activity, fine arts is now moving forward to claim its space in the central social structure. Globe trotting, radical, new generation artists and a market savvy investor clientele are augmenting the breadth and scope of art by spotlighting the genre from new vantage positions. What began with an occasional international exposition decades ago, has now snowballed into a repertoire of eclectic art showings in multiple genres focusing on gender constraints, political satire, social critique, identity issues and Diaspora art as well as staples like calligraphy, landscape, cubist oriented abstraction, Mughal inspired stylisations and shades of fantasy, surreal and symbolist art.
South Asian communities all over the world seem to be in the grip of an obsession to buy modern and contemporary art from the sub continent, placing far more value on these creations than ever before. Now attention is also turning to the works of newer artists. The bug appears to be catching. Gallery owners and more experienced art collectors have joined under the banner of the South Asian communities in foraging for works of art from the sub continent, which is diverse and reflective of its culture.
Most of our audience enjoy the social and spiritual themes of the art works on the walls. Several of these individuals are more acutely nostalgic than sharply business-minded. Many are not art critics or collectors for long but are simply driven by the need to have a piece of identity graphically hanging in their living rooms.
This recognition and appreciation far beyond the home ground should energise the art community and spur the artists' innovative abilities. It should also augment art awareness among the average viewer/buyer here and invigorate the local art market. The artists deserve appreciation for their constant and tireless contribution to the cultural heritage of their respective countries.
The collection on display by 40 renowned artists from India-Bangladesh-Pakistan provides a tangy taste of the diversity in the creativity of this region. Each of the paintings on display was response to different sources of inspiration. Some works were chiselled out of their heritage and history while others, with their bold use of colour and metaphoric images, seemed to predict a series of tomorrows, which has yet to become today.
Some of the participating artists were: Mansur Rahi, Wahab Jaffar, Abrar Ahmed from Pakistan Bharti Prajapati, Babu Xavier, Ramesh Gorjala from India Murtaja Baseer, Abu Taher, Preema Andaleeb from Bangladesh.
Ishi Jami and Ritu Jain have designed uniquely conceptualised art exhibitions highlighting diversity and dynamism of art emerging from the sub continent. The "gallery concept" shows have been a brainchild of theirs, which came about while they were both expats in Shanghai, China in 2004.
Their exhibitions showcase works of contemporary masters as well as established artists. The artwork is always approachable, the artist selection varied, and the styles and mediums used distinctive. They provide a thought provoking experience for all their viewers, inviting dialogues on culture, politics, aesthetics and tradition of visual arts. Eight years into this unique art show, it continues to be patronized by major corporate, art connoisseurs and media alike.
They have organised numerous successful exhibitions in London, Shanghai, Dhaka, New Delhi, Mumbai and Hong Kong. Their aim is to assist the artists in their struggle for greater visibility, understanding and helping their art to transcend borders to reach a wider and more diverse audience.
They believe that art speaks a global language and hence need not be limited to the confines of geographical boundaries. Art, in many ways celebrates life in all its colours; and they like to enjoy and celebrate these colours by promoting contemporary Asian Art in its traditional and contemporary hues.
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