Feted Bangladeshi printmaker Kamruzzaman Sagar has recently bagged Kazi Anowar Hossain Award for his thought-provoking lithograph ‘Pandemic 20’ at the 24th National Art Exhibition 2021, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA). The award giving ceremony was recently held at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in the capital’s Segunbagicha area.
Kamruzzaman Sagar’s image projects the pandemic’s destructions through a peculiar point of view — that of birds. Covid-19 and all other pandemics are usually related to human plights with little or no regard for animal kingdom and nature. Judging by this perspective the award recipient artwork is pivotal and bold indeed. Birds are seen witnessing the devastation of human civilisation from the sidelines — with waters running out of their eyes. Some birds may themselves have perished due to these alleged “man-made crises.”The picture focuses on its centre where fumes are going up in the sky apparently after a huge explosion. The blast is distant enough but some other bird-like figures ¬are evidently shrieking away from the sudden disaster. Almost no other living being can be seen — leaving a sense of desolation and horror. Some strange debris is flying up in the sky and some of them may be feathers. The absence of colour makes the depiction all the more thought-provoking. The artist has deftly utilised the power of black-and-white to make the audience pity themselves over what they or their leaders have done to nature and civilisation. Peculiarly the two side stages hosting the onlooking birds have shades of red and blue – signalling their feeling of sadness and despair which humans are falling short of.
Kamruzzaman always chooses a certain language in order to explain the stories of his prints lively. He has been enthusiastically studying movements of figures, different birds' forms, and arrangements of compositions for a long time. In this sense, the artist is very cautious about his composition and arrangement of movements. The painter is recognised for his intrepid approach and he crosses great lengths to describe his topics.
(The writer is an art critic
and cultural curator.)