Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Solo exhibition that explores nature and women’s emancipation

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com

Photo: collected

In a solo exhibition currently on view at the Edge Gallery in Gulshan in the capital, painter and printmaker Rokeya Sultana illustrates nature and women’s emancipation.

The exhibition titled An Ode to Joy: Fire, Water and the Essence of Life that features 51 artworks were produced using a variety of techniques, including tempera, lithograph, intaglio, and others.

In her works, Rokeya Sultana—who is also a professor of printmaking at the fine arts department of Dhaka University—has experimented with a variety of colors as well as shapes, concepts, and topics.

‘Rokeya captures the essence of legendary painters and musicians and paints these mystical colours and sounds with fluidity, without boundaries. Colours are sometimes transparent and at others luminescent, blend into one another,’ reads the exhibition text.

Two large-scale paintings greet visitors at the venue. One of the paintings titled Peeking shows a table full of large pieces of fruits while a white cat is sleeping at one corner of the table.

The exhibition features a number of artworks highlighting four elements, namely fire, water, earth and air.

The painting titled Earth, Water, Fire mostly comprises vibrant red, yellow and blue colours with some strokes of white here and there.

In the artwork titled Earth, Air, Water I and II, natural elements have been represented with different shades of blue, green and yellow.

Rokeya Sultana has been working on the Madonna series for a long time and has garnered critical acclamation. She is displaying a few prints and paintings from the series under the titles Madonna I, II and Madonna in the Rain Forest I.

The latter shows a woman in a pink saree and a little girl in a white dress standing on a large green leaf in a dense forest.

‘In urban society, there are many working women who are mothers. In Madonna in the Rain Forest I, I have placed an urban working mother and her daughter inside a rainforest. The large leaf represents the lush greenery of Bangladesh,’ said Rokeya Sultana.

The artwork titled Lost in the Maze of Hatirjheel depicts a mother spending some time with her two daughters in an open space in the evening. The artwork is dominated by pink and orange.

‘The woman spends some quality time with her daughters. In our society, women are often criticised for following their hearts and I want to break that taboo. She wears high heels as a symbol of women’s freedom and emancipation in this artwork,’ she said.

The exhibition, which began on August 27, will end on September 17.

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