It was a tradition when actors in television media could not spare a moment behind their hobbies and passion in this particular time period - the month of holy Ramadan. Due to their extreme and hectic schedule heading the Eid-Ul-Fitr, the grandest religious festivity in Bangladesh - the artists in television used to be extremely busy with the shooting and filming of exciting drama-telefilm-advertisements-magazine show and talk show programmes. Due to the global pandemic known as COVID-19, the scenario changed this year. While the outcomes of this pandemic had been severely damaging to the industry, some of the artists have found their cherished break and the recalling of their innate talent - such as Ashna Habib Bhabna, one of the versatile actresses in the entertainment industry of Bangladesh.
Widely known for being a prolific dancer, actress and even a writer, Bhabna recently added another talent in her arsenal - she started painting during her home quarantine. However, what makes her paintings different is her brilliant usage of make-up products, in her artistry. While talking to Dhaka Courier, Bhabna shared her artistic journey for the readers.
"I have never learned the basics of painting - nor that I have any academic training from anyone or any Institute. However, I was a good student at the drawing classes during my schooling days, and those experiences of mine as a child came handy after all these years in this crucial time. I have been in home quarantine since the beginning of the lockdown, and trying to utilize my time properly through maintaining a routined lifestyle. But how long one can read books or watch movie-series and news?”
Bhabna continued, “When I decided I should paint and express my thoughts through the colours and brush-strokes in the canvases - I found that I don’t even have any of these types of equipment with me, as I have never been a painter. Then I looked at my make-up table, the place where I can unleash myself, where I can read and write, where my make-up essentials such as lipstick, mascara, eye-liner, nail polish, eye-shadow, foundation etc. reside together. All these things made me believe in myself that I do not need anything else to draw and paint, as long I have the spontaneous emotion within my soul. I cannot go and find the needed essentials for my paintings during this crucial time but why should I let the circumstance win over my productivity? Thus my journey started as a novice painter, utilising my make-up items.”
The artist is currently spending her quarantine days at her Dhanmondi residence by following a proactive daily routine which includes regular dance practice and writing her upcoming books, which has been recently joined her passionate artistic venture. She has been sharing some of the pictures of her artworks on social media such as Facebook and Instagram, crafted with her make-up products. Fans and admirers have been praising her surprisingly amazing artworks, and the fanbase includes even art admirers from home and beyond.
"I received appraisal for my artworks from the Indian High Commission, among others. They praised my unusual, yet effective usage of make-up products for my artworks. They, along with some of my friends and admirers who have the knowledge of artistry, have encouraged me to think about exhibiting my paintings when everything gets normal again, and that’s surely motivating me to paint more”, Bhabna expressed her feeling of being appreciated for her crafts.
A painter has to maintain many mediums and guidelines to paint, and Bhabna has no formal higher education of paining so how she is coping with the difficulties of being a novice? The artist spoke with honesty, “It is true that I do not know all of the methods, however, I am still flowing many spontaneous emotions on my canvas. I am practising more and more, and loving it to the fullest."
Choosing her subjects of painting, Bhabna did not disappoint her admirers through random brushstrokes. From the legendary Elvis Presley to noted writer Humayun Azad and golden-age actress Audrey Hepburn, all found their majestic respect in her portrait crafts - while on the other hand, she profoundly painted several phases and circumstances of women in the society and even tried hands in calligraphic artworks. Describing one of her paintings, the portrait of the famous Bengali revolutionary educator Pritilata Waddedar, she wrote on Facebook: “Pritilata was chosen to lead an uprising against a club that had the tenet “Dogs and Indians are not allowed. She, along with a group of others, attacked a European club and set fire to it. After being fatally wounded during the attack, Pritilata preferred to sacrifice her life rather than be caught by the British.she was just 21 years old when she died. I draw this portrait as a tribute for her birthday on May 5.”
Despite her constant efforts to be proactive with the rejoice of being into passionate artistry, Bhabna is still feeling the urge to get back in shooting and filming days once everything gets back into normal, and the artist is constantly praying for the wellbeing of her loved ones and colleagues, especially for those who need support for their survival. With helping out wholeheartedly with her resources, Bhabna believes her evolving as an artist is a blessing in disguise for her, in these hard times.