Kuntal Barai’s “Displaced in Dhaka” exhibiting distorted city perspective

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The unmanageably chaotic Dhaka with its nightmarish traffic jams on streets and shrinking spaces for citizens have been addressed by young artist Kuntal Barai in his debut solo show underway at La Galerie of Alliance Francaise de Dhaka in Dhanmondi.

The show titled ‘Displaced in Dhaka’ features over 100 paintings, prints, calligraphy and sketches, an installation and a sculpture. Urban planning expert and art-critic professor Nazrul Islam inaugurated the show on May 4 in presence of deputy head of mission of the Italian embassy in Dhaka Giusepee Semenza, Bashundhara Group director Yeasha Sobhan and others.

In the show, Barai, a painting department graduate of University of Development Alternative, criticises the mega city Dhaka which is burdened with overpopulation, traffic congestion, unplanned urbanisation and others.

‘In my works, I have addressed how Dhaka is fast becoming a city of myriad inconsistencies where healthy living is next to impossible’, said Kuntal Barai, who won Honourable Award at the 17th Asian Art Biennale in 2016 for his installation titled ‘Roads of Dhaka’ depicting Dhaka’s traffic gridlock.

Barai has depicted bleak picture of Dhaka city in his 12 displayed paintings under the series Architecture of Disaster and 5 litho prints under the series Disharmony. The abstract paintings and prints, done in monochromatic black, show how unplanned urbanisation has made the city unlivable by taking heavy toll on the environment.

The artist has painted people, buildings, vehicles and shops in Dhaka using black colour.

The 14X11ft installation titled ‘Displaced’ depicts how life in Dhaka is becoming restless and chaotic. Everything in Dhaka is in a state of flux. Barai has painted human figures, concrete structures and others on a large wooden board. The artist has used vertical lines to make the images blurred to give the impression of chaotic life in Dhaka, where people are constantly moving and the city’s landscape and landmarks are always changing.

Barai’s displayed sculpture titled ‘Full Circle’ depicts the horrendous traffic congestion on the streets of Dhaka. Barai has used toy-cars and enamels to depict traffic jam in Dhaka.

The show will remain open for all till May 19.

  • DhakaCourier
  • Vol 34
  • Issue 45

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