Late eminent painter-filmmaker Khalid Mahmood Mithu, who died in 2016, is being commemorated through a duet show now running at Abinta Gallery of Fine Arts in the capital.
The show titled ‘Tumi Robey Nirobe’, features 55 paintings by Mithu and his widow Kanak Chanpa Chakma, a noted artist known for her powerful depiction of the lives and cultures of people of ethnic minorities.
Among the 55 artworks on display at the show, there are 33 by late Khalid Mahmood Mithu and 22 by Kanak Chanpa Chakma.
Mithu’s paintings on display at the exhibition are primarily abstract. The artist seems to be very adept in his compositions, forms and figures to suggest multiple meanings through the paintings.
Mithu has boldly experimented with colours in a way that seems to have given them their own individual characters.
Besides brilliant use of colours, Mithu’s works more often than not put some mundane objects like paper-cuts to accommodate different layers of meanings. The artist also evokes the beauty of nature many of his paintings including ‘The Lost Shore’, ‘Nature Song’ and others.
A Cup of Memories is also an ingenuous painting. Done in acrylic on paper, the work may refer, for some viewers, to TS Eliot’s famous line ‘I have measured out my life with coffee spoons’. Mithu seems to measure his life and memories with teacups. His teacups are wrapped with newspaper scraps which seemingly suggest the happenings that may have constituted the memories.
Kanak Chanpa Chakma, an insider of the largest ethnic community and a prominent artist, has captured beauty and spirit, love and legend, man and nature of the hills in her paintings and prints.
To come to what the paintings abound in, the simplest and surest answer will be- beauty. The ‘spirited traditions’, to take Kanak’s words, of a people and the unspoiled vastness and richness of the place they find themselves in are present in the paintings.
Kanak’s works are, as usual, almost monopolised by women. Men appear there only to stress the subjectivity and centrality of women.
In paintings like ‘Friendship’, ‘Jumbi’, ‘Her World’, ‘Music of Life’, ‘Waiting’ and others present the ethnic women amid the natural beauty of the hills.
Inaugurated on March 30 by renowned artist Rafiqun Nabi, the show will be open till April 20.