Women artistes and writers have made significant contribution to the country’s art and cultural scene. While women’s contributions deserve celebration, women artistes think that they still have miles to go.
Ahead of International Women’s Day, New Age interviewed eminent women artist Kanak Chanpa Chakma, thespian Lucky Enam and writer Akimun Rahman, who shared their thoughts on women issues, position and contribution to country’s fine art, theatre and literature.
While being happy and proud of the fact that women are contributing immensely to diverse cultural fields, there are miles to go for women to get on an equal footing with their male counterparts.
Renowned television and theatre actress Lucky Enam, who has been acting, directing and writing for over four decades, shares that women have been making significant contribution to contemporary theatre
‘Day by day, women are becoming more vocal and making their contribution more visible in theatre. While we had mainly actresses earlier, now-a-days we have a bunch of women playwrights and directors who are writing and directing quality productions,’ said Lucky Enam.
While in the 1970s, women used to work mainly in Dhaka-based troupes, now we see many talented female artistes working in troupes operating from different parts of the country, added the thespian.
‘From women playwrights, we have received many important plays dealing with women and other issues. Among plays that are being regularly staged in Dhaka and elsewhere, almost half of them address women issues in one or another way,’ said Lucky, who started theatrical activities in 1972 by joining Nagarik Natiya Samraday.
‘We need to facilitate young female artistes and maintain a healthy work environment so that they can come forward and contribute more to the country’s theatre scene,’ added Lucky Enam.
One of the most celebrated women artists in the country Kanak Chanpa Chakma, known for her works depicting the lives and struggles of men and women of the ethnic communities, think that women artists have enriched the contemporary art scene with their very distinctive works.
Women artists have addressed not only women issues in their artworks but also other socio-political issues like the male artists.
‘Contemporary female artists, especially from the younger generation, are very talented and versatile. They are exploring and discovering new ways of expressing their conditions in their works. Women artists are also very progressive in finding new mediums to express themselves,’ said Kanak Chanpa Chakma.
There is no denying the fact that women face hurdles and have to fight for their place in the patriarchal society, which often try to silence them or keep their voices unheard. It is women’s duty to find their expressions and fight against every odd to get to their desired and deserved position, added the artist.
‘I have faith on women in general and women artists in particular, who are as powerful as the goddess Durga, that they will find their place through hard and dedicated works,’ said Kanak.
Novelist-academic Akimun Rahman, who is credited for bringing women’s lived reality and their perspectives to the fore in her novels and short stories, shared that contemporary women writers are more diverse and versatile in their writings than ever
‘Women writers are trying to find new paths in writings to tell their stories which have never been told by male writers,’ said Akimun Rahman, adding that women are also experimenting and writing on social, cultural, political and historical issues.
‘It is a good sign that women are telling their stories more expressively than ever and constructing their language to tell these stories,’ said Rahman.
As a writer, a woman, like her male counterparts, need to develop her style and discover her language, otherwise whatever you write on will not qualify as good work of literature, added the novelist, whose novels like Purusher Prithibeete Ek Meye (A Girl in the World of Men), Rakto Punje Genthe Jawya Machhi (A Fly Stuck in Blood and Pus), Jeebaner Roudre Udechhilo Kayekti Dhulikana (In Daylight Flew a Few Specks of Dust) and others explore womanhood, women’s sexuality, women’s struggles and intimate
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