A celebration of art where colour meets verse

'Ishwarer Mukhomukhi' by Najib Tareque

Fine art as a kind is an aesthetic impression that delves into the most intricate realm of human consciousness. It emerges from the thought patterns of the artist, is expressed through the artist’s creative touches which creates an impression on the consciousness of whoever experiences its visual manifestation.

But art finds its repletion when it spurs another form art, when the artist succeeds in invoking the mind of another artiste into creation.

It was the same flow of art that inspirits the art exhibition namely “Rang Michhile Swapno Gantha” held on the launching of a collection of poetry at the Studio 6/6, an art gallery in the capital’s Mohammadpur area. Here the artworks of acclaimed painter Najib Tareque inspire poetry of renowned lyricist Mahmud Khurshid.

“Rang Michhile Swapnogantha”, an initiative by Studio 6/6, is a celebration of art where the colourful aesthetic expressions of the artist intermingle into poetic allegories like the ever-flowing stream of aesthetic senses merging into each other.

The artwork titled 'Kay?' by Najib Tareque

To find the origin of the concept of the exhibition, we have to go back to a time that was quite unprecedented. The whole world was then ravaged by the new deadly virus that confined the whole of humankind within four walls. Lockdowns brought the world we know to a standstill. It was at this time when painter Najib Tareque, being in long confinement, devoted himself to shaping his art instincts reflective of the time and his corresponding thought patterns and creating art, one after another in the process. As it was not possible to share and discuss his works in person at the time, the artist started sharing his works with people in his circle through WhatsApp.

Mahmud Khurshid was one of those people. As soon as he caught sight of the paintings by Najib Tareque, he felt these artworks and the aesthetic they carried could be interpreted through poetry as well and the poetic representation of the art came quite fluidly and spontaneously to the poet.

The poet said, “I felt that poetry goes very well with Najib Tareque’s paintings. His paintings, merged with the lyrical verses, create something quite different, yet unknown.”

Photo show a layout of 'Rang Michhile Swapno Gantha' containing artworks by Najib Tareque (L) and poetry by Mahmud Khurshid.

He continued on further progression on this concept by the two artisans here as saying, "Although writing poetry inspired by his (Najib Tareque) paintings did not start long ago, his consent was taken even earlier. And when the words began to become poetry and the writing started, it was free-spirited, open-minded, free-handed and spontaneous.”

In this way, a collection of poems and paintings began to take shape through the process of sharing art between an artist and poet. At one point of this aesthetic sharing, Mahmud Khurshid started to think about the publication of a coffee table book consisting of Najib Tareque’s artworks and his own poems inspired by the works of the artist.

Right at this time Najib Tareque and Studio 6/6 came forward with the concept of the exhibition - Rong Michhile Swapno Gantha where the artworks of Najib would be displayed alongside the poetry of Mahmud.

Mahmud Khurshid said, “I was thinking of publishing a coffee table book compiling Najib Tareq's paintings and my poems inspired by my art. I came to learn that Studio 6/6 too were planning to hold an art exhibition and publish a coffee table book on Najib Tareq's paintings and my poetry. The rest was the publication of Rong Michhile Swapno Gantha and the exhibition held on its launching.

Spectators viewing Najib Tareque's artworks at the exhibition - Rong Michhile Swapno Gantha at the Studio 6/6 gallery.

The book “Rong Michhile Swapno Gantha” compiles the artworks of Najib Tareque along with Mahmud Khurshid’s poetry, which are inspired by those paintings. Similarly, the exhibition held on the occasion of the launching of the book from 25 December 2021 to 8 January 2022 at the Studio 6/6 gallery also displays the art and poetry influenced by the paintings. Each of the artworks of Najib Tareque was displayed along the poetry it inspired. It’s a combination that contains the omnipresent flow of arts merging from another form to others; an amalgamation where art creates art, freedom of creation inspires creation.

About this pristine association of art and poetry, folklorist and poet Tapan Bagchi said, “Mahmud Khurshid is a writer and poet. 'Rong Michhile Swapnogantha' is a poetic depiction of the melody of Najib Tareque’s artworks through the poet’s personal interpretation after perceiving it. This is not a depiction of Mahmud Khurshid's poetry, rather, it is the poetic form of Najib Tareque’s works.”

In the context of this poetic expression of the colourful touches of the artist here and this ever-flowing stream of art, he added, “Human beings are basically artists by nature. When they talk, it means they are painting with words. The artist who sings draws pictures with the melody. The poet writes poetry, meaning he or she draws pictures with letters. An actor draws with dialogue and action.”

Spectator watching Najib Tareques artworks at the exhibition - Rong Michhile Swapno Gantha at the Studio 6/6 gallery.

We have seen poet Foyez Ahmed interpreting artist Kamrul Hasan’s paintings in poetic verses. In the books - “Tulir Sathe Lorai” and “Chitrashala” by Kamrul Hasan, Foyez Ahmed had written limericks inspired by the artworks.”

And this time, Mahmud Khurshid versifies gazing through the artworks of Najib Tareque, it’s like a legacy of artists that carries the same energy of arts from generation to generation.

As an artist, Najib Tareque here has gone beyond the confines of consciousness through the pristine artistic vision of creating abstract art. Like the paintings of Salvador Dali, realism and surrealism have also served as artistic sources in Najib Tareq's paintings apart from abstraction. The foundation, however, is abstract art.

And this abstraction that these artworks of Rang Michhile Swapno Gantha represents spontaneously finds its way into poetic verses as Najib Treque himself is a prolific poet as well as an artist who has always been present in various socio-political issues from the anti-authoritarian movement in the 90s and the mass uprising against the war criminals of 1971 to Zainul Festival and Ekushey Boi Mela. If you go through the day to day basis progress of Bengali art from the 80s through the 90s to this millennium, you will find Najib Tareque ever present through his artworks and poetry.

In this series as well, Najib Tareque has touched on various sociopolitical issues, our existence as a nation as well as philosophical and psychological dilemmas on a personal level.

Artworks of Najib Tareque at the exhibition - Rong Michhile Swapno Gantha.
Prothom Alo

The piece titled ‘Provat Feri’ glorifies the celebration of International Mother Language Day. The work ‘Bijayananda’ commemorates the golden jubilee of our independence while the ‘Bangbandhu’ celebrates the birth centenary of the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman while the artworks titled ‘Nari’, ‘Bipasha’, ‘Pori’ and ‘Ishara’ signifies the rights and freedom of women and the glory of their existence. Especially, the piece ‘Nari’ represents the ‘pandemic’ of rape before the pandemic. The entire nation was shaken by a series of such incidents just before the outbreak of the pandemic.

Again the artwork titled ‘Prodip’ represents the strange time during the first wave of the pandemic. The artworks titled ‘Kothao Keu Nei’, ‘Pakhi’ and ‘Urhan’ represent the urge of freedom that mankind always craves for.

The artwork ‘Chenachitra’ venerates the tradition of Bengali culture while the mini-series - ‘Kathopakathan’, which compiles three artworks under the same title, expresses the nature and conflicts of our relationships with others.

But all these interpretations are based on personal perspectives. It may differ on an individual level as the artist here has found his colours in the form of abstraction. From time to time he has returned to that abstraction.

Artworks of Najib Tareque at the exhibition - Rong Michhile Swapno Gantha.
Prothom Alo

It is perhaps the abstract form of arts that has been the most prevailing factor in this series ‘Rong Michhile Swapno Gantha’. Here artist Najib Tareque quite brilliantly used the artistic freedom which carries its viewers beyond the realms of the contemporary world, finds wings and creates multiple interpretations from social, psychological, philosophical and personal perspectives. The artworks titled ‘Kay?’, ‘Myth of Golpo’, ‘La Miserable’, ‘Nagare Chheleti Nijeke Khujechhilo’, ‘Golpo’, ‘Nissongotar Anando’, ‘Naa Taa’, ‘Atma’, ‘Jodi’, ‘Shironamhin’, and ‘Ishwarer Sammukhe’ are examples of that which questions our very existence as kind in the universe.

This form of abstraction is the core to the artistic perception of Najib Tareque which offers profuse interpretations and invokes its onlookers’ thought process as well as philosophical perspectives. It represents the eternal chaos within us that resonates within the freedom of mind.

From the methodological point of view, Najib Tareque has adopted various options for this exhibition including pastel (La Miserable), acrylic on canvas (Myth o Golpo), digital watercolour (Bangabandhu), mix media, pencil colour and ink (Nagare Chheleti Nijeke Khujechhilo), oil painting (Shironamhin), enamel on paint (Provat Feri), oil painting on canvas (Naa Taa) and so on.

To find more information regarding the artist and the artworks, visit his Facebook page and Instagram account.