Youth’s take on nature at “Immensity” art exhibition

Staff Correspondent
Thursday, March 8th, 2018


The culmination of an art residency project back in December last year, is the ongoing art exhibition titled “Brihotto” (Immensity) at the city’s Abinta Gallery of Fine Arts. 10 students from various academic backgrounds, but with a passion for art, were deliberately taken to a remote rural area in Lama, Bandarban for a 4-day residency camp, in order to develop their own artworks after coming in close contact with nature.


The exhibition was curated by eminent artist Bishwajit Goswami, also a teacher at the Department of Drawing and Painting, Faculty of Fine Art, Dhaka University. Bishwajit led them to further their ideas after returning to Dhaka, as part of a month-long open studio programme at the Abinta Gallery of Fine Arts. “The open studio was a time dedicated to practice, during which the participants transformed their ideas into specific individual works in different disciplines,” he said.


Bishwajit added that in Lama, they were able to connect with the essence of nature and develop their own versions of aesthetic concepts. A concept he had been thinking about for the past few years, this endeavour was his effort to bridge the gap between the academic theoretical structures of art, which students learn in classrooms, with practical application in the real world. “Getting grades enough is not important,” the artist stated, “but to be able to develop ideas after coming into contact with the real life context and being able to execute them was the purpose of Immensity.”


Mario Palma, Ambassador of Italy to Bangladesh inaugurated the exhibition as chief guest on February 24. Artist Mahbubur Rahman spoke among others on the occasion as distinguished guest. Nilu Rowshon Murshed, Chairperson of Abinta Gallery of Fine Arts, presided over the ceremony. The exhibition is slated to conclude on March 10.


Participants from different disciplines of fine arts independently created artworks and demonstrated variations of colours. They depicted various disciplines including drawing, painting, sculpture, macro miniature, sight specific work, graphics, installation with different media, video performance, photography and even poetry. They mainly focused on forming artworks derived from their ideas and tried to create it using various mediums. This way they could really realise and demonstrate which medium they belong in. The art project has been supported by Hamid Fabrics Ltd, Azim Group and ARTcon.


“From what I have seen, this project added a valuable new dimension in our fine arts academia here in Bangladesh,” said Nisar Hossain, Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts at Dhaka University. “The process of their work is very innovative – creating the layout, gradually moving forward through the process. We have students who are lost; who do not know what to do. They have no idea of what they will do after their graduation, nor do they know how to build themselves, how to organise an art exhibition or how to express themselves properly. I think, the people who fostered this project should inspire more people to do the same. They should also realise that this is the right way. This is a way that the Bangladesh art scenario can improve in the coming days.”


“The claim to put young artists at the center of their creative process may seem trite, but the project initiates a welcome opening in the local academic system which is often based on authority and repetition,” said Hadrien Diez, a freelance cultural journalist. “It allows the participating students to elaborate on what they are normally told to do, and to experiment with – or indeed deconstruct – their learned baggage. In that sense, Immensity does not counter academia, but rather complements it.”


Bishwajit hopes to conduct something similar to this, but in a bigger stature in future. “If only we can unite and think positively, we can inspire today’s youth into believing in themselves, all while experiencing that there is not shortcut to artistic excellence. If they can strive to take in the perseverance and dedication needed to become a true artist, then I will be able to say that my work will be accomplished.”


One of the participants, Azizee Fawmi Khan, said about the whole journey that it really does not matter whether they successfully pulled everything off or not, but their overall experience would stay with them for the rest of their lives. “Our curator even made us get involved in the post-production process to hold this exhibition as well. This way, we are many steps closer for understanding what is waiting out there in the world of art.”

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