There remains a linguistic crisis regarding the words the ‘Orient’, ‘Oriental’ and ‘Orientalism’ to the West. Orientalism is a book written by Edward W. Said and published in 1978, in which the author defines the term as the West’s understanding of ‘The East’. Orientalism was in many ways a sign of discrimination against what wasn’t the non-European societies, and so an imperial rule followed based on the West’s judgment.
To eliminate such crisis is the motto and challenge of Oriental Painting Study Group (OPSG). The 8th Oriental Painting Exhibition can be termed as a unique one as the selection of the display follows the principles of saranga of Indian and Chinese Art together with the traditional art trends of the East. Promising artists – Shahanur Mamun, Ariful Islam and Mintu Bala depicted nature and landscape following Chinese wash technique. We can say their works are oriental. Though their paintings also evoke principles of Western paintings but, their works predominantly correspond to Oriental Art.
There are many artists who seem to move forward with the legacy of our own heritage. Alaptogin Tushar has used soft colours, motifs and the themes he blossomed in his work is oriental or the language he tried to create is oriental; so, we think such works as the return to the roots. Rashid Amin, an exponent of Chinese and Japanese styled oriental paintings, has minimized nature and inserted into forms. He adeptly portrayed the Megh Malhar raga series painting following Chinese wash technique and lines. The way talented artist Azmeer Hossain applied wash layer by layer and conceptualized his painting is fantastic.
The exhibition concluded at Abinta Gallery of Fine Arts on 13 August. Azmeer Hossain bagged the Abinta Grand Award while Samina Zaman and Munmun Nahar received Abinta Excellence Awards for their outstanding artworks.
Amit Nandi’s work is a conceptual one. He depicted multifarious traditional motifs in a contemporary way. He represented his work using oriental wash technique and lyrical lines.
Artist-professor Anisuzzaman’s painting’s game of light and shade is two-dimensional while his floral motif is three-dimensional. We cannot term it as a full oriental work, yet the selectors seemed to think his work predominantly tilted to Oriental Painting. Many renowned artists like him responded to the open call. Among them Abdus Satter’s work is a classic oriental painting, as the facial expression, line and tone suggest. As paintings and the trend of Western Art are still dominating in our country as we are visiting and observing the national level art exhibitions, OPSG intended to establish Oriental Art as a significant part of our own art heritage and culture. This genre of art will someday become our national identity of art.
The writer is a visual artist and Staff Reporter (Arts & Entertainment),
The Daily Star.