Sagar takes part in Guanlan International Printmaking Base

Kamruzzaman Sagar, a feted lithographer and teacher at the Department of Printmaking, University of Dhaka, recently attended a month-long (February 14-March 14) residency programme at Guanlan International Printmaking Base, Shenzhen in China.

The Guanlan Printmaking Base receives funding from the Shenzhen Bao'an District People's Government, the China Artists Association, and the Shenzhen Federation of Literary and Art Circles. Alongside the printmaking workshop and international residency programme, they also support the Guanlan International Print Biennial and have constructed a printmaking museum on their premises. Situated in close proximity to the China Printmaking Museum, the printmaking base frequently collaborates with a fully equipped printmaking facility that aims to connect printmakers from around the globe. Zhao Jiachun, the director of the International Exchange at the China Printmaking Museum, extended an invitation to Sagar to participate in the event.

Sagar's attendance at the event marked his second time, with his initial participation dating back to 2017. During this occasion, he decided to combine litho and silkscreen techniques as part of his experimentation. To create the silkscreen, he utilised acrylic colour and glue, resulting in a remarkable output. In order to establish the artwork's foundation, Sagar employed Chinese ink alongside black acrylic colour. The utilisation of flat colours has proven to be visually appealing.

During the residency, his two lithographs provided spectators with a glimpse into his exceptional skills. In general, the lithographer demonstrates his mastery as a craftsman. Through the exploration of various techniques and materials, he skillfully merges them to create a unified piece of art on paper. His prints are renowned for their accuracy, ingenuity and minimalistic elegance. The lithographs he produces are painstakingly crafted, enthralling, and thought-provoking.

Sagar provides us with a reflective insight into our creative abilities through his artworks. His pieces depict visuals that resonate with our subconscious thoughts, while his lithographs delve into the realm of imaginative interpretations stemming from the depths of the unconscious mind. Sagar's art strikes a harmonious chord between a logical perspective on existence and one that highlights the influence of the subconscious. Dreams hold significant significance in his artistic endeavors. Additionally, Sagar shows a deep-seated concern for the challenging aspects of city life and the general susceptibility of human civilisation to the impacts of climate change and global warming.

Sagar's artworks possess a profound sense of melancholy, and he deliberately selects a specific language to effectively convey the narratives behind his prints. His consistent study of animal movements, decaying forests and houses, blossoming trees and flowers, diverse and indistinct forms, various species of birds, and arrangements of realistic compositions is evident. It is clear that Sagar has a strong inclination towards experimentation. This is exemplified by his exploration of planets and other celestial forms, as well as the use of dotted and ambiguous shapes. He approaches his prints with great care and purity, often constructing an image only to deconstruct it and recreate it again. Sagar demonstrates remarkable courage in presenting well-etched objects, and the meticulously crafted motifs in his images leave a lasting impression. It is evident that his mode of expression seamlessly blends realism with surrealism, offering a glimpse into his contemplative world.

In his prints, the birds and butterflies bear witness to the destruction of human civilisation, observing from the sidelines as tears stream from their eyes. It is possible that some of these birds have perished as a result of the alleged "man-made crises" that are causing the earth to heat up. His lithographs often explore the intricacies of human existence, skillfully combining surrealistic elements with realistic settings. Each of his works is divided into distinct segments, each showcasing a different image.

Sagar's deep concern regarding global warming and susceptibility to climate change is evident in several of his prints. He has intriguingly depicted a distressing scene of loss and solitude in a calm and strangely solemn atmosphere, consistent with his distinctive style. Several of his lithographs portray a desolate landscape with barren land, where birds are the only visible living creatures. Towards the end of the land, a wooden table with a straw basket underneath is placed, while one of the two birds in the image flies closely overhead. This particular section seems to represent a completely different realm, mocking human settlement that has led to this dire situation for life on earth. In the background of the prints, a unique shade of blue dominates in two or more distinct phases. The first phase likely symbolises rising sea levels engulfing all forms of life, while the overarching second phase hints at a foreboding future.

The writer is an art critic and cultural curator.

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