Inking an artwork on each day of the month of October and making a portfolio of 31 artworks by the end of the month, inspired by artist Jack Parker, Inktober has become a global platform for artists. Marking the 10th anniversary of the Inktober, the 2019 instalment has attracted a lot of artists and art-enthusiasts in Dhaka. Returning from the event, writes Sazid Ahamed Dipto
AS VISITORS came to Edward M Kennedy Center, Dhanmondi from November 9 to November 24, they were welcomed with ravishing and thoughtful inked artworks by the vibrant students of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka.
Inktober 2019 was held at the EMK Center with the participation of 44 artists. The artists joined the worldwide Inktober challenge, creating fascinating works of art in ink throughout the month of October, with 31 artworks in hand at the end, per artist, of the month. Of those, four from each artist were chosen, accumulating a total of 176 enchanting ink-works encompassing the EMK exhibition space. Apart from this, individual portfolios containing all 31 artworks of each artist are also kept for interested art enthusiasts to delve in.
At a stage in his artistic pursuits, in 2009, artist Jack Parker suddenly felt that he lacks finesse in the inking department. To work over this lacking, he decided he would draw using ink every single day for an entire month. The month was October, so the artworks summed up to 31. He later went on to display these works in a special exhibition that made waves worldwide. Inspired by Parker, many artists rolled up their sleeves and sat down with their drawing pens as October arrived. News travelled fast through social media. A ritual started to come into being every October on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, with each ink-work bearing the hash tag #inktober and #inktober (year). This October marks 10 years of Inktober.
Ink has always been a great puissance in our culture and style. Ink visuals carry stories that are of what humanity has experienced while heading towards this era. Through this month-long art challenge, young artists from all over the world get the scope to mount their skills through ink drawing. As Jake Parker said, ‘Anyone can participate in Inktober, just pick up a pen and start drawing’.
The first Inktober Dhaka Exhibition was organised in November 2017 in the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Dhaka, on a small scale with just 6 students and 186 works of theirs. They exhibited the artworks across the balcony of the drawing and painting department and following this spirit and the impact left by the first time, Inktober was celebrated again in 2018 on a bigger scale, with more artists — 744 artworks from 24 students. This year, that number climbed further to 44 artists.
The Inktober 2019 exhibition was inaugurated by the acting director of EMK Center Asif Uddin Ahmed, lecturer of University of Dhaka Biswajit Goswami, editor of Unmad Magazine Ahsan Habib and artist Mong Mong Sho.
The greatest thing about Inktober is a sharper work ethic. Taking part in such challenge with people waiting for your next publication every day, forces you to scan your oh-so-busy schedule with X-ray vision to pinpoint every single bit of downtime and turn it into productive drawing time. The medium of ink in itself is a step out of the comfort zone.
Maintaining the regularity and continuity helps artists to develop their skills. Obviously, this kind of exhibition is a way to bring all the creative works together to display.
Leaping into the artists’ creative work in the arena, they have struck almost every aspects of life in Bangladesh. There are a bunch of splendid Bangladeshi things that they have tried harder to portray through ink works. From legendary actors to stunning birds, from depicting our culture to prehistoric fairy tales, they have drawn several aesthetic things through inking.
Through this prodigious exhibition of 44 artists, one will find the reflection of culture, antediluvian fairy tales, characters of Bangla cinema and the substances of new era. The exhibition welcomed all the aesthetic lovers at the premises to have a glance at the exquisite display, which might be considered as a realm of ecstasy.
Expressing the excitement and opinion over Inktober 2019, the lecturer of University of Dhaka, Bishwajit Goswami told that Inktober is now becoming an alternative art project in the fine art faculty. In his words, ‘This year is the third time and the amount of participation increasing every year. Every participant develops one image in a day of the month of October. And finally it becomes 31 images. I am feeling excited to have the experience to see their spontaneous practices.’
It is discernible that the artists in this priceless event are very open to think and express their innocence idea with only one medium which is ink. Each of them has own individuality but they also create a collective harmony in a common platform. This platform magnifies their ability of confidence, freedom of thinking and obviously creating a friendly atmosphere.
Ahsan Habib, an acclaimed cartoonist and the editor of the Unmad magazine, encouraged the artists to maintain storylines in their works so that down the line, they can be developed into comic strips and even graphic novels, adding that he would be happy to help in publishing these graphic novels or comics strips, which would add great value to the artists’ portfolios.
Mong Mong Sho, a freelance artist and a digital artist at the International Kids Art Space, suggested that in future, the young talents could consider rendering the different aspects of their culture, in a bid to promote and preserve it.
The artists themselves shared how the challenge helped them polish and develop their inking skills. They all echoed in agreement that this practice of inking must not cease, that it should remain continuous and spontaneous. They should make sure that the number rises, that the technique and practice spreads so far that one can access to the students of the schools and colleges of Bangladesh and they should take effective steps to ensure that.
Sazid Ahamed Dipto is a student of Stamford University and an intern with New Age Youth
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