The third solo art exhibition by Zahangir Alom, titled “Songs of Soul,” was inaugurated yesterday evening at La Galerie of Alliance Française de Dhaka. The inaugural ceremony of the exhibition was graced by the presence of Anis A. Khan, Member of the Board of Governors, Society for the Promotion of Bangladesh Art, Prof. Mohammad Eunus, Chairman of Art Bangla Foundation, and Zareen Mahmud Hosein, Director of Shasha Denims Limited.

“There has been a significant change in the colours of the artwork, and the vibrant strokes of his paintbrush reflect that his soul is intertwined with nature and melody. Enthralled with the celebration of artistic delights, Zahangir paints from the bottom of his heart and has the wonderful ability to see everyday elements through a unique lens,” shared Prof. Mohammad Eunus.

“Zahangir has dedicated this series to his late mother, and the works on display are vivid and alluring. The catalogue specifically interests me, as it is very well-written and lucid, offering a closer peek into the artist’s vision,” said Anis A. Khan.

The exhibition has been curated by Prof. Dr. Malay Bala, Department of Oriental Art, Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka. “Zahangir is captivated by the festival of creative impulse and paints with passion. His genuine devotion and dedication reflect in his brush strokes. Treasuring the inner music of nature and the essence of his musical pursuits, he has added a new dimension in color diffusion, resulting in a mature arrangement and illusional effect,” he mentioned.

Having spent a considerable amount of time working as the ‘Resident Artist’ at Oriental Painting Studio, Zahangir has honed his unique watercolour wash technique. His painting is distinctive due to its mature use of colour mixing. “I love using this medium because it reflects the spontaneity of natural melody. It resembles the dew drops on a fresh winter morning and is a reminder of Bangladesh’s beautiful monsoon season. Watercolour has a very playful nature and provides great flexibility in terms of mixing colours to create vibrant hues,” he explained. The monsoon, rain-drenched nature, the smell of the earth, and the colour of the air are saturated in the melody of nature’s music and are a recurring theme in his artworks.

The artworks on display are mostly semi-abstract pieces with a sophisticated colour scheme that indicates the artist’s developed sensory perception. The paintings make references to the strength of femininity, the melody of music, and the rhythm of the poem. “My art is heavily inspired by nature, music, and literature, and these elements form an integral part of my life,” he asserted. The paintings feature a variety of ragas, such as “Gaudiya Nritya,” “Desh,” “Bageshree,” “Khamaj”, or “Malkauns”. “Many of my artworks are named after these ragas that played in the background while I was immersed in artistic revelations. These had a significant impact on the way I used paint and have been reflected in my recent works. It is an honest attempt to translate the essence of bards’ philosophy onto my canvas,” he concluded.

The artworks honour the natural world as it is, but it is not a close-up view. Instead of just reflecting nature in landscapes, this series of artworks has combined the new language of Bengali folk paintings with the themes found in Bengal’s Sarachitra. The trees, foliage, female figures, and inner flowers are coherently arranged in an imagined alchemy. Zahangir’s distinctive style has a lot of three-dimensional mixed colour texture, despite being created using a traditional watercolour wash technique.

The open-for-all exhibition will be open to all until November 11, 2023.