In recent times, a number of talented artists have been showcasing their versatile artistic talents through numerous national and international art exhibitions, upholding the pride of the nation to the global art community. Sourav Chowdhury, a contemporary visual artist-printmaker and currently the Artistic Director at Gallery Cosmos and Cosmos Atelier-71, has established himself as one of the finest Bangladeshi artists through his years of tremendous artistic experience. As a young journeyman in the vast realm of the Bangladeshi art sphere, Sourav Chowdhury has participated in numerous national and international art exhibitions at home and beyond. This time, Alliance Française de Dhaka (AFD) - the venue that previously hosted Sourav Chowdhury's debut solo exhibition - is once again hosting the esteemed artist's 5th solo exhibition this July, titled 'Eternal Existense'.
Set to be inaugurated on Friday, July 21 at 6 pm at AFD's La Galerie in the capital's Dhanmondi, the exhibition will feature 30 exclusive artworks of Sourav Chowdhury - which the artist has been crafting and preparing for a long time to enthral the art admirers at the exhibition. Most of these artworks are categorised in the media of etching and aquatint. Additionally, there are ceramic, metal, fiber sculptures, and also installations.
Prior to the exhibition, Sourav Chowdhury shared his creative journey so far with Dhaka Courier in which he talked about his artistic quest, his layered yet vibrant and meaningful thoughts, his playfulness with ancient era characters-based magic realism, his odes to the heritages of Bengal and his overall offerings for this upcoming exhibition.
"The kaleidoscopic mind of an artist always tries to collect and connect the elements of nature and try to quench the thirst for knowing the intriguing timeline of human civilization and its eternal existence. For myself as the artist Sourav Chowdhury, the quest began at a tender age - when there were no earthly boundaries between the imagination and the realities. The innate resemblance of human nature; from the prehistoric past to the current timeline - has always astounded me and thrived me to imagine and explore more than the preexisting limits. This exploratory thought has always provoked me to think beyond the canvas and crowned me with the power of imagining myself in many shapes or forms - be it the majestic nightcrawler Owls, our age-old clay dolls in the name of 'Tepa Putul' or the ancient Bengali folk characters like the mighty Tiger from our folk masterpiece 'Gazir Pot' (traditional scroll painting), and also in many historic timelines - be it the Mughal Era of the brave emperors or the recent timeline of the contemporary art scenario.
For over a decade, I have been transcending my artistic visions into my ongoing series 'Eternal Existence' which also resonates with imagination, with the utopian gesture coming from my inner self as an intrinsic contemplation of my own mind. My creative portrayal has always been building a fantasy-centric atmosphere where many of the iconic, mythological characters emerge in a whimsical mood and make the unthinkable collaborations, which I prefer to overlap with primitive cave painting that has been our part - even before there was any fancy canvas or the glorious presence of modern artistic extravaganzas. I have travelled to multiple countries and explored many majestic monuments in different places, and I feel that those visual experiences - blended with my observation regarding our Bangladeshi traditional architectural installations - have always inspired my contemporary artistic vision.
Combining many of the ancient formats in my paintings including the Egyptian hydrographic style with Bangladeshi folk themes and characters from many of the common proverbs and phrases, I try to discover my existence within the civilization from time to time. I constantly attempt to create paintings on paper with the meticulous precision of line and shape to generate a depth of euphemism in my works. In this world full of chaotic realities, I aim to convert the dismal, horrific, and awful human nature into something beautiful, jovial and uplifting through my imaginary characterizations. To achieve this, I employ bright colours and lively characters to generate a joyful atmosphere in all of my pieces.
Instead of concentrating primarily on etching, I'm also exploring sculpture utilizing a number of sculptural mediums, including metal, clay, ceramics, and even fiber. I'm also incorporating the themes and subjects of my etchings into sculpture. Now that I'm experimenting with multiple mediums and attempting to combine them in sculpture and installations, I can claim that I am no longer constrained by any one medium and instead am attempting to express my inner artistic thoughts through several media. I also try to humorously depict the idioms and proverbs that are used frequently in our nation. I occasionally make connections between my work and things that are going on in the world around us, and sometimes I try to relate and represent them through humour in my art.
Being born and brought up in a family which always supported my intuition, I heard the inner voice that guided me to become an artist and eventually uphold the glory of my nation to the rest of the world. My inner urge to explore the world as a globetrotter has allowed me to participate in many international artistic ventures, exhibitions, workshops and an exclusive artist residency program in Russia over the last couple of years, and currently I am enjoying my artistic responsibilities as the Artistic Director of Gallery Cosmos and Cosmos Atelier71, the artistic wings of the Cosmos Group which is known as one of the most revered Bangladeshi conglomerate entities."
Artist Sourav Chowdhury was born in the divisional district of Rajshahi in 1987. Even before completing his BFA and MFA in Drawing and Painting from the University of Development Alternative (UODA), he embarked on his artistic journey and participated in many exhibitions, art camps and competitions at home and beyond. His first solo exhibition titled 'Eternal Existence' was held at Alliance Française de Dhaka (AFD) in 2016, followed by his second and third exhibits titled 'Eternal Existence-Circle of Dynamism' held at Cherepovets Museum Association, Cherepovets, Russia, and Academy of Professional Development and Retraining of Educators, Moscow, Russia in 2017. His fourth solo exhibition titled 'Eternal Existence' was held at Russian Ambassador's Residence in Dhaka in the same year.
For his brilliance in art, he has so far received several awards including Bengal Foundation Award (Printmaking) at the 22nd National Art Exhibition 2017 and the 'Best Award' at the 20th Berger Young Painters' Art Competition 2015, to name a few.
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