Mustafa Zaman addresses dilemma in modern life

Cultural Correspondent | Published: 17:25, Jan 04,2017


Artist-critic Mustafa Zaman has dealt with the multifaceted dilemma of modern men and women in a solo exhibition at Kala Kendra in Mohammadpur, Dhaka.

The exhibition, Mercury Falling, features a stone installation, a video installation, several sketches and photographs. The works do not have any title, and instead contribute to establishing the theme of dilemma.

Modern people lack conviction and often there are contrasts between their thoughts and their actions. They seem to have lost their purpose in life, resulting in dilemma, frustration and uncertainty affecting their actions.

People also seem to have developed a convoluted sense of spirituality and sexuality – they want to rise above their limitations, but end up being the victim of their own desires and lack of conviction.

‘I often come across people suffering from different kinds of dilemma in their life. These works are a metaphorical representation of that dilemma and resultant complications,’ said Mustafa Zaman.

In the video installation, one can see a man sitting in front of a gate. The gatekeeper – as the artist calls him – has his head covered with a black piece of cloth.  

The man, he explains, represents people who serve as unwitting agents of the imperialist powers, who try to control and dominate the culture, politics and economy of weaker nations/societies. These people promote their interests with their eyes closed, like the blindfolded gatekeeper, their action affecting the interests of their own countries.

In the photographs and sketches, the artist has mostly explored the dilemma involving sexuality through images, often symbolic, of the body parts of men and women. The images are not complete in that they show certain organs of their body.

‘These days, sex has emerged as a dominant factor in our individual and collective life. Even the fashion industry, which is ideally about promotion of clothes, is showing soft porn to appeal to people’s sexual desires,’ said Mustafa Zaman.

The exhibition, which began on December 9, will remain open for the public until January 15.

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