One of the mind blowing things about Facebook is you never know who you will meet, Anand Gupta, friended me about a year ago, after months of contemplation and after seeing he was an artist I added him and my life has been richer with knowledge since. I have made some more friends through his contact and learned about the Porapara Artist Run center which opened its doors in 2004 and has help artist in Bangladesh” with a mission to provide basic logistical, mediation and production support for emerging artists.”
So here with some help from Abu naser Robbi are some questions for Anand
Q/ What type of political and social climate do you live in?
A/ It is a growing economic country call a “developing country”. It is liberal and multicultural, there are 14 different “tribal groups” Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Buddhist and other religious people with a good coexistence
Bangladesh is an agricultural country. With some three-fifths of the population engaged in farming. Jute and tea are principal sources of foreign exchange. Major impediments to growth include frequent cyclones and floods, inefficient state-owned enterprises, inadequate port facilities, a rapidly growing labor force that cannot be absorbed by agriculture, delays in exploiting energy resources (natural gas), insufficient power supplies, and slow implementation of economic reforms. Economic reform is stalled in many instances by political infighting and corruption at all levels of government. Progress also has been blocked by opposition from the bureaucracy, public sector unions, and other vested interest groups.
Now the Government leads by a 14 party alliance and the prime minister is Shakh Hasina, they are trying to reform the government structure to materialize a dreamy plane for digital Bangladesh.
Their envisionment is For higher GDP growth, investments in both public and private sectors all which will need to be accelerated. The prevailing political and economic stability has greatly encouraged investment in the private sector. The trend of foreign direct investment is very encouraging.
The government is committed to market economy and has been pursuing policies for supporting and encouraging private investment and eliminating unproductive expenditures in the public sector. A number of measures have been taken to strengthen, the planning system and intensify reforms in the financial sector. The present government believe is that wastage of resources is a far greater obstacle to development than inadequacy of resources.
It is common knowledge that many development efforts in the past years turned into exercises in futility because of inefficiency and corruption in high places. Terrorism was allowed to paralyse law and order. Administration was over centralized at the cost of local government institutions. The government has, therefore, decided to decentralize administration in the quickest possible time.
The newly-elected BNP government, led by Prime Minister Khaleda ZIA, has the parliamentary strength to push through needed reforms, but the party’s level of political will to do so remains undetermined.
Population below poverty line: 35.6% (1995-96 EST.)
Q/ Is there Government aid for people?
Q/ Are there grant programs for artist?
A/Yes we have some, 1000$ price prize for artists … In some yearly exhibitions, which arranged by Government patronized “Shilpokola Academy”
Q/ What inspired you to become an artist?
A/We had a HQ print poster of “Mona Lisa” in my Childhood, I was inspired by that poster to become an artist
Q/ How does art history as I know it (mostly European based) affect your work?
A/Yes, in our academic and non academic carried a colonial inheritance from Europe. We also have folk tradition on art.
You can find some information about contemporary artists on fineartsbd.
Q/ Name some Artist that inspired you?
Dali … They r the common of everyone… : )
Jatin Das (India)
Jainul Abedin …
Francis Bacon … basically inspired me …
Sir Eduardo Paolazzi (pop)
Christo When I saw him I thought WOW!!! He is the BOSS!!! I admire him greatly.
Q/ Who are some Bangladeshi artist, both Historical and contemporary that we should know?
A/ Jainul Abedin was the father of art in Bangladesh our art history started with him. Kamrul Hasan, S.M. Sultan ,Aminul Islam also influenced me!!!
Zainul Abedin’s Famine 4 1943
They are the Historical Artists, they were Traditional, major Contemporary artists now are Mahabubur Rahaman ,Taioba Begam Lipi, Abu naser Robii
They are real Contemporary artists because of their diversity in art. They practice in every sector of visual arts as well as performing arts. Also Dhali Al Mamun, Shisir Bhattacharjee,Yasmin Khan,Nilufar Caman. There are also many other young mid career artists doing well with their work and activity in visual arts field such as Ronni Ahamed, Imran Hosain Piplu,Monjur Ahmed,Suva Rafiqul, Sarnali Mitra Rini,Yasmin Jahan Nopur, Lucky Barua, Ripon Saha, Arifujjaman, Palash Vhattacharjee, Rashidul Hasan Sarif, Sarod das, Jainal Abedin, Afsana sarmin Jhuma,
Searching for Missed Mystery of Happiness – Abu Naser Robii from Andang Kelana on Vimeo.
Q/ What is the art market like in Bangladesh, are there lots of Commercial galleries? Is there a Contemporary Art Gallery in the city capital?
A/No there are very few commercial Galleries in Dhaka (Capital city). The Art market is not very organized and it is very hard to survive as a freelance artist in Dhaka and Chittagong .We don’t have any contemporary art gallery or Museums in our Capital or in our other city. Only the Bengal foundation has reached a collection of art about Bengali Artist but most of them are the older artist’s works.
Very few artists do, most are struggling to be involved with artwork 100%. Most others are surviving by some Design job or teaching.
Q/ Do you survive strictly of your artistic endeavors?
A/Oh, I m working as a graphic designer and I’m an Illustrator. We are sustaining on a stormy sea … my 3rd position is craft teacher (Part time).
Anand Gupta’s” Senseless Individualism “
Q/ What are your hopes for arts in the future of Bangladesh?
A/Hope? We are dreaming of a good infrastructure of art market which will help our artistic exploration to march with the world contemporary realm of arts. We wish to be updated and run with the world with our artistic contribution. We shall over come some day…..!!!(as answered by guest Abu naser Robii)
If you would like to learn more about art in Bangladesh and the artist run center follow this link. I think you will find the more we are different, the more we are the same. I was just at the sight and found some really great images of prints from their 2009 print making camp. Check it out. And a special thanks to Abu naser Robii and Anand Gupta for taking the time to answer these questions.
Porapara Artist Space
for more info on art in Bangladesh