“Oil Head” underway at Gallery Shilpangan | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 16, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 16, 2018

“Oil Head” underway at Gallery Shilpangan

In conversation with RA Kajol

Denmark-based noted Bangladeshi artist Ruhul Amin Kajol's 38th solo painting exhibition, titled “Oil Head”, in now on at Gallery Shilpangan in Dhaka.

Social Welfare Minister Rashed Khan Menon inaugurated the exhibition on March 9. Writer-Professor Syed Manzoorul Islam and poet-art patron Rubana Huq spoke at the inaugural ceremony as special guests.

The displayed works are different from his previous shows. “The artworks are the brainchild of my household chores. I love to cook. While I put oil mixed with butter on a frying pan, it creates bubbling foams and textures that look like heads. Heat manipulates the shapes and form inside the pan and the light creates dimensions of colours. I instantly take pictures of the changing scenario with my smartphone. Later, I find the photos as complete compositions of paintings. I print the images that produce soothing colours and textures. Then I graph the images on different-sized canvases for acrylic paintings,” says Kajol.

“I also attach shapes of body with the heads on canvas and use cross-weaving textures of shitalpati around the compositions. As I am an artist of this tropical region, I try to insert my cultural elements in it using the weaving textures,” adds the artist.

The way the classical artists would gradually complete their work day by day, Kajol also tried to follow that style keeping the same mood for 15/20 days. “I worked incessantly for what I did for my 'Oil Head' series. The series has an allegorical interpretation. Literally, I took the idea of the series form the forms of heads formed on the upper surface of oil. That's why it is 'Oil Head'. Again, oil is an important resource that caused many ups and down and conflicts in the so-called modern civilization. For the last 100 years, oil has played crucial roles in causing global turmoil and war. Oil is now dying out and its uses are getting diminished. But as one of the important fossil fuels, has created power for vested quarters of the global superpowers. Interestingly, the heads used in my paintings are made from oil; on the other hand, oily headed-persons play powerful roles in society that is also allegorically represented in my paintings,” he says.

The artist has used minute brushes to depict the details of the 10 paintings on display, using a balanced use of black, brown, burnt sienna, blue white, yellow and a bit of crimson and vermilion red.

A few months back, the artist held his second retrospective exhibition at three-floor galleries in Denmark. He also held his first retrospective exhibition at Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts, Dhaka in 2012. He entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 1996 for the longest street painting done in the coastal Swedish city of Landskrona in 1994.

Kajol, inspired by the traditional Bangladeshi style of surface painting known as alpona, popularised a new form of art that he calls Traffic Art and toured around 13 countries with the project. The videos of the Traffic Art are being screened at the gallery.

Born in 1956 in Mymensingh, Kajol graduated from the Drawing and Painting Department of Dhaka University and has been living in Denmark since 1986. Kajol rose to prominence around 1990 in Copenhagen, and has so far painted streets in countries including Germany, Italy, Iceland, Norway, Mexico, Sweden, Denmark, Czech Republic, India and Bangladesh.

“Oil Head”, open from 3pm to 8pm daily, will continue till March 18.

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