Iranian painter-film activist Sarah Hojjati is displaying 30 paintings in her first ever exhibition in Bangladesh at the Gallery Shilpangan, Dhaka.
Titled My Dream World, the show presents the surrealist world with strange, unnerving and apparently illogical scenes and creatures that have little connection to the world that we know.
It has been organised as part of the 15th Dhaka International Film Festival, which begins on January 12.
Eminent artist Rafiqun Nabi inaugurated the show on Sunday, with writer-researcher Mofidul Hoque and poet Rabiul Hussain in attendance.
Sarah’s dreamscapes have elements that one might expect to see in an animation work, a relation that can be connected to her background in animation. But the surrealist influences outweigh all others.
The works are populated by characters of different sorts – humans and animals, imagined and realistic – taken out of the unconscious minds and recreated in an extravagantly colourful way. Their juxtaposition, or association, bear all the hallmarks of surrealism and can seem a tad frightening at times.
‘Sarah is a self-trained painter who does not follow the established norms and styles. Her works show a deep connection with the imaginary world that exists in one’s head,’ said Rafiqun Nabi.
One can also detect a combination of surrealism and romanticism in these works.
For example, there is the bull carrying a city on its back, a one-eyed chimera figure, or a girl with legs like that of an octopus – all appearing to be the staff of our dreams. And all these were presented in vibrant colours.
As a whole, the paintings invite the viewers to a world beyond theirs, a world not marked by logic and reasoning. A world that exists only in our fantasy.
The exhibition will remain open for the public until January 20.
Meanwhile, the 15th Dhaka International Film Festival will be organised by Rainbow Film Society. It will feature 188 films from 67 countries in seven competitive sections as well as one retrospective section at five different venues in Dhaka.
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