Fostering the studio-based artistic and painting practices in Bangladesh with a prime focus of popularising the medium of Printmaking among the painters of the country, Cosmos-Atelier 71 has been patronizing up-and-coming and talented artists through its exclusive 'Artist Residency Programme' for more than a decade. Generally held twice on a calendar year, the 'Artist Residency Programme' returned at the Cosmos-Atelier 71 at the Cosmos Centre, Malibagh, in the capital from September till November this year after being put on hold for a while due to the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19.
Four talented and young painters and visual artists in the country - Iqbal Bahar Chy, Farzana Rahman Bobby, Kamruzzoha, and Abu Kalam Shamsuddin, Assistant Professor, Drawing and Painting Discipline at Khulna University, participated in this year's residency programme. Etching Aquatint, Wood Intaglio, Drypoint, Collagraph - these are the four mediums they utilized during the tenure of this three-month programme, based on their respective themes.
"Envisioned by late eminent Bangladeshi artist Kalidas Karmakar who is revered as the guardian angel for the Cosmos-Atelier71 as its founding member and lifelong adviser, the residency programme provides the optimum blend of peace and absolutely astounding surroundings for the painters with all the modern types of equipment and amenities for Printmaking. Inside a serene, comfortable and welcoming environment, painters work intensively and independently for days in the atelier, and that was the motto behind the residency programme, which we are glad to host this year after its hiatus due to the global pandemic of Covid-19" Sourav Chowdhury, Executive Artistic Manager at Gallery Cosmos and Cosmos Atelier71 described the initiative to Dhaka Courier.
Regarding their individual experiences of working as part of this year's residency programme, all four of the selected artists shared their viewpoints with DC.
Farzana Rahman Bobby:
"Printmaking is an intensive working process which requires a quality studio with some required facilities and machines, and these were not so available back in the days of our predecessors coming from different art institutions in the country. The scenario has changed in recent times as there are approximately 17 studios across the country; however, I always feel the pleasure of working here at the Cosmos-Atelier71 for its wonderful, serene working environment and all the creative facilities it provides for us, which as an artist I feel truly commendable."
"I basically work on the theme based on nature, and I have been working on a special series called 'Bhumi'. We all are basically formulated from the same soil and mud on this earth and we all have to return to that ground sooner or later, yet we tend to divide and classify our status based on earthly needs. Recently I have lost my father, and the funeral-rites thrived me more into the philosophical journey with this series, which I have worked here during the programme."
Iqbal Bahar Chy:
"Great artist Kalidas Karmakar was our idol who initiated this residency programme, and it's wonderful that Cosmos-Atelier 71 brought back the opportunity for us again. Artist Sourav Chowdhury is successfully continuing the united approach which Kali da envisioned, and personally, I am honoured to be a selected artist this year. During the pandemic, I missed the joy of collaborative artistic work, so this programme filled the void and brought back the working spirit for me."
"The title of my working series is 'Essence of Time' - which is my ode to the moments I get along during my everyday life. The regularity of our moments, things and my emotional journey with them is the recurring theme that I have worked on through this programme. Often, I use my already utilized things as the elements for my artworks, as an attempt to portray the togetherness and the interconnectivity with time."
Abu Kalam Shamsuddin:
"This is a great and unique initiative by the Cosmos-Atelier 71, and I have been working at this wonderful workstation as one of this year's selected artists, inside the Cosmos Centre for the last couple of months. I believe this is a tremendous opportunity for the young generation artists; the soothing environment, the excellent and cooperative team providing all the required amenities ensuring the comfort, and the hospitality of the atelier from the authority and its Executive Artistic Manager Sourav Chowdhury - altogether made the programme meaningful for us. The multifaceted characteristics and the aftermaths of human acts are the themes behind my artistic works in this programme, which I have been portrayed through the faces and shapes of human beings in my works."
"Previously I have worked in the Cosmos-Atelier71 especially as one of the participants in the Japanese printmaking artist Toshihiko Ikeda's 'Lines of Ages' printmaking workshop back in 2019, and it's been an honour that I have been working in this studio for the past three months after our long and tiring hiatus from collaborative artistic works due to the lockdown. Similar to the works of artist Ikeda who is respected for his commitment and dedication behind his projects, the theme of my printmaking project in which I have been working on abstract forms is called 'Crisis among us'. There is a particular notion which is universally present among us, human beings all over the world - we inherit different instincts based on our crisis situations. This is my working theme for the programme, and I am really thankful to the atelier for providing the necessary facilities during the programme."
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