The show is going on at Embassy of Japan

JT International Bangladesh (JTIB) recently launched an art exhibition titled "Blossoms of Existence." This exhibition showcases the artistic creations of two noted painters, Rokeya Sultana from the 1970s and Maksuda Iqbal Nipa from the late 1990s. The event takes place at the Embassy of Japan, located on Dutabash Road, Baridhara in Dhaka city. It serves as a tribute to the enduring cultural bond between Japan and Bangladesh.

Maksuda Iqbal Nipa, is a highly dedicated artist from the late 1990s who consistently maintains a low profile. She possesses a strong passion for her artistic creations and has successfully developed her own artistic language through a unique style. The deep layers of colours she applies to her canvases result in a distinct texture, making her artworks easily recognizable. Nipa's paintings effectively convey the essence and true meaning of colours, showcasing her affluent and laborious technique that demands immense effort and devotion. Her pursuit of beauty as well as contemplation on human beings and the often overlooked aspects of nature greatly influence her choice of subjects for her paintings.

Nipa finds oil to be her preferred medium due to its ability to provide her with flexibility. In her artwork, she unconsciously incorporates unique themes, forms, and techniques, never intentionally doing so. All of her paintings are created using oil-based materials, as she feels comfortable working with this medium and has received advanced education in oil painting. Her artwork primarily focuses on technique and showcases her skillful craftsmanship. Oil holds great importance for Nipa as it allows her to bring her artistic vision to life. Its richness, volume, and textural intensity serve as a constant source of inspiration for her. Additionally, the expressive nature of oil and the time it takes to work with it contribute to her artistic process. According to her observation, the medium possesses a remarkable luster, durability, and the ability to enhance the depth of colors. Additionally, the medium's smoothness enhances the paint's flow and prolongs drying times. The advantage of oil paint's slow drying process is that artists can gradually develop their paintings and make necessary changes. Oil paints blend seamlessly with one another, allowing for subtle variations in colour and the creation of intricate details of light and shadow. Nipa finds the vibrancy of oil paints to be particularly captivating. These qualities contribute to the higher value placed on oil paintings compared to other mediums.

Nipa asserts that paints are combined in multiple layers to achieve immediate, straightforward, and daring expressions of emotions in real time. While working, she experiences a sense of everything in existence being crushed and merged before being transferred onto the canvas. Upon examining her artworks, it becomes evident that the artist blends sensation and intellect, which is believed to be a characteristic of abstract expressionism, in her paintings. Her artworks appear vibrant and dynamic due to the abundant use of rich hues and evocative textures.

Nipa asserts that her artworks are formless, evocative, visual records of the daily challenges she faces as a woman and a human being. Her longing for balance and the desire to escape from the oppression she encounters have driven her to create pieces where solace can be found within abstract forms. Additionally, it has been observed that Nipa meticulously combines the fundamental elements of her paintings. Her artworks can be interpreted in various ways: at times, one can perceive a touch of mysticism, while others may experience a sense of harmony, melancholy, despair, and even joy simultaneously. Her mode of expression has consistently remained steadfast, and the artist has effectively established her distinct characteristic through all her creations. Undoubtedly, her style is unparalleled, personalized, and expressive. Within her paintings, one can sense the lament of a solitary soul, an underlying sorrow, and a feeling of vulnerability.

Rokeya Sultana, an artist specializing in painting and printmaking, explores themes that are characterized by their simplicity. Her primary focus is on showcasing the connection between humanity and the natural world. The vibrant colours employed in her art serve as a prominent element, while certain pieces also incorporate unconventional forms and shapes. Through her images, Rokeya skillfully captures the essence of the earthly realm. Her pieces emanate a feeling inspired by a deep connection with life and the natural world. This feeling or sensitivity comes alive in the majority of her creations. She excels when she is exploring the placement of her human subjects, particularly women, within her paintings. To her, humans are an essential component of nature, sometimes transforming into more alluring shapes. Rokeya's departure from strict representational accuracy is a result of her unique approach to portraying humans and nature.

Rokeya's explorations embody the internal composition of a mind that yearns to transcend societal limitations. This is likely why she endeavors to revive the connection between humanity and the natural world. The presence of pantheism, which courses through the majority of her creations, is not contrived. It serves as a manifestation of the artist's psyche. The element of spontaneity is apparent in the majority of her tempera on canvas pieces. In terms of both execution and ideology, she remains unencumbered by any academic restrictions. Nevertheless, the principles of abstract expressionism occasionally pose obstacles in her artistic journey.

During a certain period in her career, Rokeya focused on portraying figures and exploring the intricacies of human existence. The sensual lines and expressive colours in her artwork are key features of her creations. Her fascination with various forms gradually led to a crowded atmosphere on her canvas. She places great emphasis on lines, figures, and colours. Some of the lines, intersecting over forms and shapes, may be challenging to interpret. Many of her pieces skillfully depict marine life, stars, and more, utilizing a sophisticated range of tones. The sparing use of curves and lines directs attention to her forward-thinking perspective. Her works exude a poetic essence of life through shades of blue, yellow, and crimson. Certain images, depicting women alongside turtles, snakes, starfish, and snails, hint at the idea that women are inherently connected to nature.

The exhibition was inaugurated on May 9 and will continue till May 16.

The writer is an art critic and cultural curator.

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