Encompassing a number of art exhibitions ‘Ghartera Edition 0: Junkyard’ has put forward a number of social issues and discriminations. Though there was no overarching theme of the exhibition but as a whole, the artworks addressed some social, political and cultural issues, writes Nasir Uz Zaman
GHARTERA Edition 0: Junkyard was a group of art exhibitions that raised questions against a number of existing odds in present society. Though there was no certain theme of the exhibition but as a whole, the artworks addressed some social, political and cultural issues. Ghartera, comprised of a bunch of young artists, organised the 14-day-long exhibition held at Dwip Gallery from April 12.
Eleven artists’ artworks were displayed in the exhibition. ‘Byabacched (Dissection)’ by Tanvir Alim, ‘Chaos in Eden’ by Ankur Sinha, ‘Shumi’ by Mosfiqur Rahman Johan, ‘Juxta-Beauty’ by Inan Anjum Sibun, ‘City Subconscious’ by Aananda Antahleen, ‘Traitor Memories’ by Ata Islam Khan Mojlish, ‘Unsettled’ by Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo, ‘Dhaka- Choloman Citro Prodorshoni (Dhaka- Running Exhibition)’ by Aabir Khalid, ‘The Night Journey’ by Ayreen Khan, ‘Cut Piece’ by Taiara Farhana Tareque and ‘Decaying Nature’ by Navid Nooren were the artworks.
'Chaos in Eden', a young artist Ankur Sinha’s artworks, represents the relationship of gender and sexuality with the artist and his surroundings. The artworks under this title are done in ink and they get visual stimulus through sensitive and delicate lines, tones and textures — all done in black and white. According to Ankur, the idea of using such colour comes from the admiration for black and white and in reality the artist never actually connected himself with bright colours.
In a conversation, Ankur told New Age Youth, ‘The artworks are visual representation of the queer society which I have seen through my eyes. These are absolutely based on my experiences and ideas. The artworks show psychological struggle of an individual or the struggle of the whole community and even the issues that exist inside the queer society’.
Ankur is an admirer of composition. Therefore the figures and other elements in the artworks are composed like a stage drama, as if the whole story is being told in one scene. From the artist’s view, every element represents a particular idea — the flowers show the connection between earth and sky, the birds are shown as symbol of strength. According to Ankur, the checkerboard is one such element that can be seen almost everywhere. The systematic pattern is the representation of a constructed society which is created with stereotypes, norms and imposed on people to act accordingly — almost like playing the game of chess. The patterns might look well-constructed and strong but just by changing one piece of the square the whole pattern can be brought down.
Navid Nooren, a young doctor and artist, displayed his artworks under the title ‘Decaying Nature’. It was an eight-month project started at the end of 2017. The notion of the project was to shed light on issues of environmental pollution. While sharing a story about this project Navid said that during a visit to the Sundarbans, he saw a bird that failed to fly because it accidentally dunked itself in an oil covered river. The bird’s struggle to save its life from water pollution intrigued him to start working on the project.
Navid’s artworks include the issues of water pollution, deforestation and poor tannery waste management. To bring forward these issues, he used double or multi exposure photography as a medium to express his ideas and experiences. Pointing present situation, Navid said, ‘Deforestation in our country has already taken an epidemic form which is a threat to all living beings. Moreover, we do not have any practice or there is no step to save forest or trees. In winter-time, dyspnoea (breathing difficulty) increases in urban areas. The cause of this is environmental pollution which I have tried to express in an artwork. If effective steps cannot be taken to stop or reduce such pollutions, the existence of all living being will be destroyed’.
Another artwork, ‘Shumi’ is a photo story by a young documentary photographer Mosfiqur Rahman Johan. This story is about an adolescent house maid who works in Johan’s family. Two years ago, when he had to stay at home for a long time for illness, he started to notice Shumi’s (12) urge for freedom. He started to take photograph of her everyday life from then on. One thing also struck him that she took her regular meal in the kitchen. Later, she was allowed to eat in the dining room.
One day the death of her brother’s news came to Johan’s family. The family informed Shumi that her brother was ‘ill’ and she was sent to her family. Before going, she bought toys for her brother. She learned about her brother’s death after reaching her home. Johan’s mother contacted Shumi’s father over phone to know about the situation. Her father said that she had been playing around in the neighbourhood. Johan’s mother also noticed Shumi’s flat tone while she said, ‘Hasib is dead’.
In Johan’s words, ‘In that whole situation, I sensed two emotions that might work in Shumi’s unconscious. One is the happiness that she could go home after so long and the second one is the sadness for her brother’s death. Here the happiness might eclipse the sadness. Johan also recognised some issues that the adolescent house maid faced. In urban areas there is lack of entertainment facilities — no scope to play or walk around to refresh the mind and so on. Class discrimination has made the situation harsher. Moreover, at this age, Shumi is not supposed to work as a house maid but her family’s financial condition forced her in such condition.
In a conversation with the curator of the exhibition, Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo said that Ghartera will continue to bring forward the social, political and culture issues in their future exhibitions and they might be on some particular themes.
Nasir Uz Zaman is a member of the New Age Youth team.
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