Narrating themes, styles of renowned women artists

Cultural Correspondent | Published: 18:04, Mar 07,2018


Clockwise from top left Nazlee Laila Mansur, Farida Zaman, Dilara Begum Jolly, Tayeba Begum Lipi, Nazia Andaleeb Preema.

Many women artists in the country have been addressing women’s issues in their signature styles for the past few decades.

These artistes, be a ‘feminist’ or not, have not only depicted women as victims of the patriarchal society but also glorified them as social change makers.

While talking to New Age, five renowned women artists from different generations spoke of their artworks addressing women’s issues.

Nazlee Laila Mansur, one of the renowned female artists of the country, has depicted women’s stories in many of her artworks.

The 65-year old artist, who graduated from fine arts department of University of Chittagong and has been teaching at Chittagong Art College for over 30 years, said she always explore women’s issues in her works.

‘I do not call myself a feminist. However, as a woman, I have depicted women’s issues in my works’, said the artist.

Artist Farida Zaman is a professor of drawing and painting department of faculty of fine arts of Dhaka University.

One of the founders and former president of Shako, a women artists association, Farida Zaman has often depicted women’s rights in her works. The artist has not only portrayed women as victims but also depicted their beauty and contributions through her works like the acclaimed series named ‘Sufia’, which depicts beauty of rural women.

‘Female artists in Bangladesh don't always make artworks from feminist perspectives. They also work on other common themes like landscapes, figures and others’, said the artist.

Dilara Begum Jolly is one of the few female artists of the country who has been portraying women’s stories and issues from a feminist perspective. A printmaker, sculptor, installation artist and painter, Jolly is known for her works highlighting discrimination against women.

Jolly studied painting and printmaking at Government Arts College, Chittagong, then obtained her MFA degree from the Institute of Fine Arts (now faculty of fine arts), University of Dhaka. In 1991, she did diploma in printmaking from Visva-Bharati University.

‘In my works I have portrayed women’s situations in male-dominated society and tried to promote women’s rights’, said Jolly, who uses satire and irony in her works to depict women’s issues.

In her two recent solo shows titled ‘Threads of Testimony’ and ‘Amorar Akkhyan’, the artist respectively addressed the condition of women in the garment industry of Bangladesh and the trauma of the women who were raped during the liberation war in 1971.

Tayeba Begum Lipi is a versatile artist working in diverse genres like paintings, installations and performance arts. Lipi graduated from drawing and painting department of institute of fine arts (now faculty of fine arts) of University of Dhaka.

She has addressed different issues affecting women in society in her works.

‘As an artist, I love to depict different subjects and issues in my works. At the same time as a female artist I naturally depict issues affecting women in diverse ways in my works’, said Lipi.

Nazia Andaleeb Preema is another prolific artist who has addressed various issues affecting women through paintings, installations and performance arts.

Prema, who graduated from drawing and painting department of Dhaka University, has long been depicting issues affecting women and contribution of women in her works.

‘Women have been marginalised and their voices have always been ignored in a male-dominated society like ours’, said Preema, who has presented acclaimed performance arts like My Unborn Fetus, Existence and others depicting women’s issues in recent year.

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