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Spirit of Friendship: Why Bangladeshi artists are hosting an art exhibition in Nepal

Art exhibition 'Spirit of Friendship' at SAG to mark 50th year of diplomatic relationship between Nepal and Bangladesh. Photo: Sangita Shrestha
Art exhibition ‘Spirit of Friendship’ at SAG to mark 50th year of diplomatic relationship between Nepal and Bangladesh. Photo: Sangita Shrestha

You will not be friends with others if they do not possess any similarities to your personality. There are always some aspects that help to lead that friendship day by day.

The exhibition, Spirit of Friendship, by Bangladeshi artists that began on September 2 at Siddhartha Art Gallery (SAG), Baber Mahal, signifies the same.

The title itself celebrates the existing friendship between two countries Nepal and Bangladesh. The exhibition jointly organised by the Bangladeshi Embassy in Kathmandu and Siddhartha Art Gallery also marks the 50th year of diplomatic relations between these two countries.

“This is in continuation of the embassy’s effort to highlight the rich and multi-dimensional art and cultural heritage of Bangladesh to the friendly people of Nepal, and at the same time strengthen the bonds of friendship,” says Salahuddin Noman Chowdhury, the Bangladeshi ambassador to Nepal.

The exhibition

Spirit of Friendship features Bangladeshi artists Kanak Chanpa Chakma, Azmeer Hossain, Bishwajit Goswami, Sourav Chowdhury, Mong Mong Sho, Lumbiny Dewan, Jayatu Chakma, Aongthowai Marma, Sudhip Chakma, Nomosta Rema, Munna Bawm and Pingcu Tripura.

Figurative painting showcasing daily life in rural Bangladesh in exhibition at SAG.
Figurative painting showcasing daily life in rural Bangladesh in the exhibition at SAG. Photo: Sangita Shrestha

These artists have explored their idea of being a Bangladeshi through prints and paintings using watercolour, acrylic colour and mixed media. Most artists have captured the natural beauty of Bangladesh’s rural areas and people, and then a few have worked in conceptual work in their paintings.

Compared to the contemporary Nepali art scene, the style and techniques these young artists participating in Spirit of Friendship used are contrasted only in terms of the designs of the attires and the influence of the sea. They share motifs and symbols with the paintings by Nepali modern artists.

Some special artworks

Kanak Chanpa Chakma, also the curator of the exhibition Spirit of Friendship, in her Songs of Nature, has featured four ethnic women in their traditional attire, which somewhat resembles the women from the Tharu community from Nepal. In the painting that uses acrylic on canvas, these women stand where the artist has captured the back part of their bodies. Their attires are colourful and their body is adorned with silver jewellery. Then, their hair is neatly tied in a bun using hair accessories that look similar to the dhago that Nepali women wear.

Artist Kanak Chanpa Chakma's painting 'Songs of Nature' in exhibition at SAG.
Artist Kanak Chanpa Chakma’s painting ‘Songs of Nature’ in the exhibition at SAG. Photo: Sangita Shrestha

Moreover, using the foggy effect through the colours such as white, grey and black it, seems the need of these young ladies are also in similar conditions. They are deprived of opportunities yet live life beautifully.

Using watercolour, artist Mong Mong Sho has created Songs of Fisherman, which looks like a photograph. The artist has shown a scenario of the harbour during a storm.

Artist Mong Mong Sho's painting 'Songs of Fisherman' in the exhibition at SAG. Photo: Sangita Shrestha
Artist Mong Mong Sho’s painting ‘Songs of Fisherman’ in the exhibition at SAG. Photo: Sangita Shrestha

Sangeeta Thapa, the founder of Siddhartha Art Galley, says, “Art has the power to bring countries together and transcend boundaries. This exhibition, Spirit of Friendship, and its unique focus on indigenous artists join the cultural dots that connect these coastal artists with the hilly people from Nepal and northern India. The historic cross-cultural migrations and pollination of ideas took place when our borders were still fluid. We must move beyond the hard borders of the post-colonial period to rekindle the age-old ties between the peoples of South Asia.”

Painting of an old Bangladeshi woman exhibited at SAG. Photo: Sangita Shrestha
Paintings of Bangladeshi women in the exhibition at SAG. Photo: Sangita Shrestha

Spirit of Friendship, the exhibition that gives you glimpses of the lifestyle of rural Bangladeshi life through vibrant colours, continues till September 12.

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Shrestha is a senior sub-editor at Onlinekhabar. Contact her at [email protected]

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