Bristy wins Grand Prize depicting autistic son’s life

Ershad Kamol | Published: 21:13, Sep 03,2018 | Updated: 21:26, Sep 03,2018


Salma Zakia Bristy poses in front of her award winning installation. — Snigdha Zaman

Salma Zakia Bristy has won Grand Prize at the 18th edition of Asian Art Biennale for her video installation work titled ‘The Superhuman Syndrome’ portraying a strong narrative of her autistic son Aveen’s everyday activities for adapting with normal life.
The installation work features a seven-minute video of Aveen’s life which is projected on a canvas painted by his mother. Bristy also hangs Aveen’s cycle, football along with toys and other materials of daily use to relate well to her autistic child’s life to the viewers for making them aware that autism is a problem but should be dealt with affection.
The social awareness generating work won the prestigious award along with artworks by Atia Islam and Indian artist Kandan G competing with 414 artworks by 330 local and foreign artists at the 18th edition of the Asian Art Biennale.
President Abdul Hamid on Saturday handed over three Grand Prizes and five honourable mention awards to five local and four foreign artists at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. The 18th edition of the biennale organised by the academy displays 583 artworks by 465 artists from 68 countries, including artworks by invited local and foreign artists and that of local master artists.
Explaining the reason behind choosing the theme Bristy said, ‘When most of the parents want to hide disability of their children considering it as a problem, I thought I should address it as an issue through my art. So, I picked my autistic son as the theme for my work. And I am really happy to win the prestigious award.’
‘If I can change mentality of a single visitor through my work, it would be a great achievement,’ Bristy told New Age. A freelance painter Bristy said ‘The Superhuman Syndrome’ is her first installation and first award winning work.
‘I took six months to make the video for producing a realistic depiction of an autistic child’s life. While making the video I did not let Aveen realise that I was making a video of his activities. But, when he visited the National Art Gallery and found his toys are on display along with a video featuring him, he was very excited,’ Bristy said adding that she would produce more works under the theme.
‘As an artist, I think I have some responsibilities towards the society. So I try to address social problems through my works,’ Bristy said.
She also informed that she held a solo painting show last year at Shilpakala Academy to address the environment issue, especially the unplanned urbanisation.
Salma Zakia Bristy has also participated at several other group shows.

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