Lost in thought

Lost in thought - wip 3

Exciting times.  I’ve enrolled for a short term course at UODA under the guidance of Shahid Kabir, renowned Bangladeshi Printmaker and Painter.  For a while at least, the finished pieces getting on to this blog are likely to be prints.

Enjoying painting with oil and hope I can pick it up again after the printmaking course.

Lost in thought, 12″ X 12″, Oil on canvas.

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Mechanical Fantasy

The opportunity to participate in a Printmaking workshop fell into my lap earlier this year and I’m glad I didn’t let it pass me by. This workshop was organised by the Britto Arts Trust and was a little different in format from the earlier two.

There were two coordinators but there was no person conducting the workshop. Half the participants were practicing print makers, while the others were painters and sculptors being exposed to printmaking for the first time. The idea was to share ideas, methods and techniques to produce work based on the theme “Mechanical Fantasy”.

The subject took me out of my comfort zone and I spent the first 3 days just playing around with different ideas and making small sketches based on them. Of course we were busy with cleaning and polishing the zinc plates in preparation. Finally two you see below were selected.

Lines were etched and then the plate was prepared with a layer of rosen for the Aquatint process.  Unlike the earlier two workshops, I transferred the drawings onto tracing paper, reversed it and used a sharp object to transfer it again to the prepared plate.

We held an Open Studio to display the work in early Feb and there is a plan to exhibit the work more formally in a gallery soon.  A friend photographed some of the work on display.

Mechanical Fantasy 1 - wip 2

Mechanical Fantasy 2 - wip 2

Je ne veux pas travailler

Flower Seller

We have many street vendors in Dhaka.  This flower seller’s expression caught my attention.  It’s turned out to be more aggressive mostly because of what I read into the situation and the stories that I built around him which kept me occupied when painting.

Using oils after a break.  The first painting is yet to be completed.  This one, I’m calling done.  It’s the first signed painting in 2009!

“Flower Seller”, 20″ X 22″, oil on canvas.

DSfDFs : Portrait Challenge

Portrait Challenge

I’ve been a fan of Karin Jurick‘s paintings for a while now and have been lurking around her new blog Different Strokes from Different Folks since it started a few months ago.  But it was a portrait challenge that gave me the push to jump in and also the fact that we had 3 weeks to complete it. With all the travelling that I’ve been doing this time frame was crucial for me.

It’s been a great opportunity participating  in this portrait challenge and seeing all the fabulous work posted on her blog Different Strokes from Different Folks. It’s also been great putting faces to the names.

Painting and drawing have been going on since I last posted though at a slower pace than usual as I have been away from home for a while.  Now that I’m finally back, I’ll be posting more regularly.   Seeing all the fantastic artwork on DSfDFs has had me wanting to pull out my oils from where they’ve been lying neglected these last six months.  This piece, though, has been made using acrylics on canvas and is approx 12″ X 16″.  The paints were easier to travel with.

Back on track

P1080969

This may go through several iterations yet but I’m happy to be back on track and doing what I like best – painting portraits.   

The Asian Biennale has come to an end and today we went and picked up our paintings.  It felt good to have “Stop or Else!” safely back at home.  

 

“Responsibilities” 12″ X 16″ acrylic on canvas panel

I’ve been bought, I’ve been sold!

 At the market

We had the opening of our exhibition “Jhaal Muri” last night and it was a great success.  A big thanks to Sal and Nabila from Radius and Art & Soul for the arrangements.  There was a large turnout and happily most of our friends were there to lend us support.  Lots of paintings and photographs were sold including four of mine.  The Group of Five feature in the photographs below.  Images of the work on display have been posted by ace photographer Anil, here.  And you can see more of my attempts here.  

Update : November 9, 2008 : And if you’re looking for more, Nabila has put up her photographs here.

Update : November 13, 2008 : Press : 1. Jhaal Muri : Dhaka street culture in focus – article in the Daily Star. It has been picked up by 2. Bangladeshi, Indian artists focus on Dhaka’s street culture – article in the  Zimbabwe Star, 3. News from Asia Daily and 4. The Bangladesh New Network, 5. The New Nation

Update : November 14, 2008 : Flickr set : My Jhaal Muri paintings on Flickr

Guests listening to the Chief Guest        rapt audience


Ladies in Red        having fun


final layout

Jhaal Muri

P1080592

A few months back, I’d put up a post about working on a new project.  Well, the time has come to share the details.  Those of you who follow my blog know that quite a few of my paintings are based on Anil’s inspiring photographs.   And it’s not surprising that I wasnt the only one inspired.   Rokeya, a leading Bangladeshi artist and friend suggested that a few of us come together to make and exhibit work based on our interpretation of Anil’s photographs.  They were to be references of Bangladeshi street life – photographs and paintings.  I loved the idea and accepted immediately.  In addition to Anil and Rokeya, there is Kuhu (also a well established artist who has helped me in my artistic journey these last two years),  Smita (a great artist and a good friend ) and I.  The Group of Five is made up of friends which has made working on this project so much more enjoyable.

Jhaal Muri is a delicious Bengali street snack made of puffed rice.  It is a spicy mix of many interesting and different ingredients which blend together well and the end result is a tasty packetful.  This is what our exhibition aims to be.

If you’re in Dhaka, please do drop by and catch up with us and our work at Bay’s Galleria November 8th to 23rd.

Radius Centre

is delighted to invite you to

Jhaal Muri

An Art & Photography Exhibition on Bangladesh Street Culture by

Rokeya ~ Kuhu ~ Smita ~ Ujwala ~ Anil

His Excellency Mr. Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh
will inaugurate the event.

8th November 2008 at 6:30 PM

Bay’s Galleria

5th Floor 57 Gulshan Avenue Dhaka Bangladesh

The exhibition will remain open 8th to 23rd  November 2008


RSVP: Radius Center Tel 8833471-2 or email five@newber.com

Update : November 13, 2008 : Press coverage in The Daily Star, Dhaka, Bangladesh, the leading daily – Jhaal Muri, Dhaka street culture in focus by Nivedita Raitz von Frentz

13th Asian Art Biennale ’08

Stop or else!

The Asian Art Biennale organised by the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy has been held in Dhaka since 1981.   A key art event in the region, it began with the aim of showcasing art from established and young artists portraying continuity and change.     The 13th Bangladesh Biennale is underway and I am delighted to have two of my paintings selected and one on display.

P1080579 P1080581

About the Painting (above)
Title : “Stop or else!”
Size : 24” by 30”
Medium: Acrylic on canvas

Tentative. Uncertain. Afraid.

Each of us has a boiling point and when we were younger we got there faster. Experience hadn’t taught us lessons of self preservation, forbearance, good sense or patience. Hot headed, hot blooded and extremely loyal, our actions took us to the point of no return and we made a stand for better or worse. Would it have made sense to deal harshly with us then? I feel bad when I read about tasers, lathi charges, rubber bullets and what-nots. Seems inhumane and unfair. Say No to violence against students.

ekla cholo re

About the Painting
Title : “Ekla cholo re”
Size : 24” by 36”
Status : SOLD
Medium: Mixed media on canvas

Sometimes, when there is a heavy load to bear, you have to walk alone.

This painting has been inspired by Tagore’s beautiful poem in Bengali, “Ekla cholo re” (walk alone) With apologies to Tagore. mostly translations do not capture the beauty of the original piece

Walk alone

If they do not answer to your call, walk alone,

If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,
unfortunate one,
open your mind and speak out alone.

If they turn away, and desert you when crossing the wilderness,
unfortunate one,
trample those thorns under your tread,
and along the bloodied track travel alone.

If they do not hold up the light on that stormy night,
unfortunate one,
with the flame of pain ignite your heart
and let it shine alone.

Say a little prayer for me…

say a little prayer for me... with mat

I’ve been attempting to paint more than a portrait for the last few months but there is something special about this lady that has had me breaking that self imposed rule.   She’s been the subject of my paintings four times already in the last 3 months.   And I know that I’m not done yet! You can see the others versions here, here and here.   

She is the Tea Lady with a low open stall outside the entrance to a disused railway track.  She was selling tea and some eats and had one customer at the time the photographs were taken.   I like the fact that she is looking down and away as I find it easier to let my imagination run free when I’m painting.

The track later took us past a few shops and then a line of shanties on either side of the track leading to a dried fish market which is a popular addition to local dishes in Bangladesh.   Further ahead was Karwan Bazaar, one of the biggest wet markets in the city.  

Photograph copyright Anil Advani.  Used with permission.

Looking for a fare – 2

Looking for a fare - 2

Just like cabbies, the rickshaw wallahs stop right by you along the pavement, to check if you want a ride.  You will also find them parked in a line along lanes, like taxi stands.   Unlike other cities, the rickshaws of Dhaka are brightly coloured and decorated with a lot of care by their owners.   The men too dress in brightly coloured clothes as though the better they look the better their chances of attracting a fare. 

lfaf - 2

10″ X 12″ acrylic on canvas.