East or West, Bengal is the best!

E or W

Last year, I was invited by my friend and photographer,  Anil,  to be featured in a photo book,  A Month, 6 Artists and a Book that he was putting together for the Solo Photo Book Project that he’d signed up for.  I not only got to experience a photo shoot but also saw him work at making his first book and I must confess I was tempted to make one of my own.   After a year of taking photographs almost everyday,  I felt more prepared and jumped at the chance when it came around to sign up.

You can see the fruit of my labour – East or West, Bengal is the best!here.   It is based on photographs taken over a 3 week period.   A few have been taken when accompanying Anil on his photo shoots.  You can see his book, A Slice of Life, here.

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I had more or less decided to skip participating this year because of an unexpected opportunity of having solo art exhibition which kept me extremely busy.  For the four days of early morning (6am!!) shoots,  I mostly took video of the mad rush of frenetic activity in the fish market, Karwan Bazaar and the boats dredging and carrying sand on the Buri Ganga and at an abandoned stretch of railway track.  I was hoping to use still from the video as references for future work.  After the Solo finished I suddenly had a lot of time on hand and decided to give it a go.  On two of the days I ran out of tape and pulled out my still camera to take a few pics.  I’ve used some of these in the book.

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The one taken above of the sleeping vendor is one of my faves followed closely by the one of the men peering through the bars on the truck they were travelling in.  The one below is of a vegetable vendor who came up to me and demanded to be photographed and then proceeded to perform some form of martial arts.  He had everyone around him in splits.  Quite obviously a Kungfu movie buff.  He didn’t want to give up on his cigarette even for that brief performance!   Here’s the shortlist of 83 photographs from about a 1000.  The book has a smaller sub set of these.

Fu Man Choo!

In case you’re still reading and want to know more about the project, I’ve cut and pasted some info from the website.  Click on the links below to read about it in more detail and maybe join in next year?

What is SoFoBoMo

SoFoBoMo is short for Solo Photo Book Month – a group event where a bunch of photographers all make solo photo books start to finish, in 31 days, at more or less the same time. It’s modeled loosely on NaNoWriMo, where participating writers all write novels in a month, and NaSoAlMo, where musicians write and record solo albums in a month.

For SoFoBoMo, the goal is to make the photos, write any needed text, layout the book, and produce a PDF image of the book, all in 31 days. Rather than confining it to a single calendar month, we use a ‘fuzzy month’, where you can pick any contiguous 31 day period inside a two month window – this makes it a bit more flexible and encourages broader participation.

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Choker dekha Praner katha

My first Solo exhibition ended earlier tonight.  This whole week has been exhilirating.    The Opening on the 29th was very well received.  I was touched by the speech made by Radha Chakravarty, Shahid Kabir, Baby Maudud and my husband (on my behalf).  Each in their own way went a long way in making the event special and one that I will never forget.  Inspite of being averse to public speaking I managed to get up and string a few words together.  Gallery Chitrak handled the event extremely well.  I was touched that so many of my friends made it to the event.

solo coverage

One nice thing about having a PR company whilst at Apple was the fact that you would regularly get clippings coverage in the media especially after an event.   This list is based on feedback and some that i’ve seen so far…

May 28th-July5th – photo listing in the Daily Star Art section banner,

The News Today – small write-up

Prothom Alo – small write-up

ABC Radio Channel – regular event announcement

and a review

What the eye sees, and the heart speaks” and article by Art critic, Takir Hossain in The Daily Star

IANS (Indo-Asian New Service) – picked up the story “Indian painter exhibits work for Bangladesh connoiseurs”  picked up by Thai Indian news, The Gaea News and my blog post by JalleDa and Art Investment@demo research

Ujwala Prabhu, a fervent painter” an article by art critic, Takir Hossain, in the Dhaka Courier.

Click on pic below to see some photos from the opening.

Solo 29th May 2009

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

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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.

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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.

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.

At the Market

At the market

This is the kind of market I remember from my childhood.  While I cant cope with the bargaining that shopping in such markets entails, its great to visit one once in a while.  Recently went to Karwan Bazaar in Dhaka with two friends to take some photographs to capture the hustle and bustle, vivid colours and the vitality of such markets.

12″ X 16″ acrylics on Canvas Panel.  Photo ref copyright Anil Advani.  Used here with permission.

I want to break free

A Womans work is never done

The words of Queens song by the same name have been playing in my head for a while now. I did want to break away from the way I was painting earlier. I didnt get to where I thought I wanted to be. Where I am now is more free (sometimes, like today) than before and I’ll be happy here for a while.

The title of this piece is “A woman’s work is never done”.  I’m at my sisters for a months holiday. She has recently had a baby boy. She also has a toddler who also wants quality time with Mummy. I see her on her feet all day and it seems to be almost all night. Everyday. It’s feeding, pumping, changing diapers, playing with the two year old, working and the list goes on. And she has help! This one is for all the women who look after their children, homes and also work. Hats off to them!

12″ X 16″ on a canvas panel.  Based on a Photo ref by Anil Advani.  Used with permission.

Point of view

kb

Learning to photograph paintings to look close to what they are in life is something I’m working on.

Take this painting for example. I took a close-up (below) first, less that a foot away and a second one (above) from a distance of around 3 ft. I found that the close-up shot had focused on surface details which you dont see while viewing even if you go up close to peer at it. In the second one the surface details have disappeared almost completely. The actual piece is closer to the image on top – you can see a bit more colour on top than is visible here.

Keeping a distance from the source and later zooming in and cropping give a more faithful copy of the original.

kb

People watching

waiting for a fare

People watching while waiting for a fare.

10″ X 12″ acrylic on canvas.