Unveiling the kaleidoscopic world of vibrantly crafted abstract paintings by renowned painter Maksuda Iqbal Nipa, Cosmos Books on Friday launched 'Episodes of her Gaze' at the 10th Dhaka Literature Festival (DLF).

The maiden publication of Nipa's majestic artworks published from Cosmos Books, the book was unveiled by Nabila Rahman, Digital Transformation Strategist of UNB, at the Cosmos Books stall at DLF, at Bangla Academy in the capital.

Expressing her gratitude to Cosmos Books for publishing her maiden art collective, Maksuda Iqbal Nipa said that she is honoured about her book being a part of this year's DLF, as it returned from a three-years hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The concept of the book reflects my contemporary artworks, which I began during my days back in Japan where I studied my Master's. This book features 200 artworks from several of my exhibitions, and it was jointly created with artist and art writer Javed Jalil," Nipa told UNB.

"Although this publication was previously launched at the National Musuem during my solo exhibition and later at the Dhaka Art Summit, this is the first time my art collective is being exhibited in DLF through this publication," she added.

The book is edited by Catherine Grace Gardener and Mubin Shadman Khan, while the layout and design was made by ARK Reepon. Photographs of her artworks for the book was contributed by Nipa's husband, and renowned artist in his own right, Mohammad Iqbal, as well as ARK Reepon, Hossain Shahid Echo, Mizanur Rahman Khoka, Rezaul Haque, Rasel Chowdhury, and Sourav Chowdhury.

The book also contains a foreword by the late Australian cinematographer Dr Jim Frazier, a pioneer behind the camera who worked with Sir David Attenborough in his heyday. The multiple award-winning naturalist fell in love with Nipa's works during the time he spent in Bangladesh in 2015-16.

A masterful painter with a vivid knowledge of abstract paintings and known for her vibrant abstractions that are frequently illustrated on enormous canvases, Maksuda Iqbal Nipa earned her BFA (Drawing and Painting) in 1996 from the Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and in 2002 she enrolled in a Post-Graduate Research Course (Oil Painting) at the Aichi University of Education, Japan. Nipa graduated from the Aichi University of Education in 2004 with a Master of Education in Fine Arts (Painting). Nipa's artistic style drastically shifted during her time in Japan from representational to her own brand of abstraction.

A proponent of the French maxim "Art for art's sake," Nipa's journey with her creations has always been independent, and adamant to not serve any didactic, moral, utilitarian or political purposes. The artworks of Nipa are abstract, emotive, visual diaries of the hardships she endures on a daily basis as a woman and a person.

She was inspired to craft her artworks by her longing for harmony and her wish to flee the oppression she encounters; she experimented and created oil paintings on big canvases while discovering what it meant to be liberated from oppression. She subsequently continued to develop her pieces over time until they had no structure or shape.

Nipa's journey as a woman and artist is about toiling with spaces of birth, prolonged states of contemplation and obscured flights of silent fancies. Her pictorial parameters are gardens of the seen, unseen and the absorption of moments as the eyes take in the trillions of information. But her link is more to the sensory unconscious mating of environments where she dwells in an escape, seeking bliss.

The zone of her imaginative contemplation is the words hidden behind veils of curiosity and doubt.

In her visual plates, the anxiety of merging the ethereal and objective and the contest between directions, takes her into a perusal of pictorial repetition and planes of separation. There is an inclination of losing the self into a private monologue of layers, as a conversation between thoughts, memory and time. She rectifies her subjectivity into circles penetrating various formations of expression.

Her certain obsessions and journeys are silenced and trapped within the visuals as layers pressing the other, keeping an essence of the previous times. Her use of scratchy strokes of anxiety creating tactile sensitivity, subdued dense lines of obscurity relating unfathomable space of vision. The pigments from underneath and within are parallel and vertical cross-hatchings of gestural activity between visual elements. They are chromatic gradation of light sensations.

As an artist, Nipa's inner mood and reminiscence of the hidden self is a quest which she meditates through silent overtones of restless urges and modes which slowly live with the existing self- glancing diary of canvases.

In her illustrious career, Nipa has held numerous solo and group shows at home and abroad, including the National Museum of Bangladesh, the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France, the Toyota Municipal Art Museum in Toyota, Japan, the Las Vegas Art Museum, USA, the Youngone Corporation in Seoul, Korea, etc. She has been honoured by Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (Bangladesh Women's Association) for outstanding contributions to her respective field. Nipa has received numerous awards and grants from Japan, China, and Bangladesh.

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