Artists should explore in various mediums: SelimCultural Correspondent
Artist Lala Rukh Selim, associate professor of the sculpture department at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Dhaka University, talks about the perception of sculpture art and the status of the local sculpture scene in Bangladesh, in a recent interview with New Age.
The artist/academic is the lead partner from Bangladesh for the three-year exchange programme between Faculty of Fine Arts of Dhaka and Slade School of Art in London, as well as the founding chief editor of the quarterly arts magazine titled ‘Art’ from 1993 -2005.
While exploring the development of sculpture in Bangladesh, Lala Rukh Selim, said ‘Since the early beginning of sculpture art in the country in mid- 1955, it had to endure various controversies as the general sentiment of the Islamic Republic was against sculpture, which continued even after the independence of Bangladesh in 1971. They treated sculptures as idols of Hindu religion.’
Lala Rukh Selim feels that the genre of sculpture has been neglected in Bangladesh. This attitude, she says, is also reflected in the negligence by concerned authorities in preserving archaeological sites and antiques found at various places of Bangladesh, an issue she has always been very vocal against. ‘They are prone to rebuild and repair archaeological sites in the name of renovation, destroying the originality of the antique objects and places’ she observed.
When commenting on the local sculpture scene, the artist is critical about the aggression of Western artistic influence in Bangladesh. ‘Western trends play a dominating role because of their economic stronghold, and they like to set the standard of contemporary idea of art. Most of our artists have followed this track to get recognition and projects, which has corroded our individuality’ she added.
She blamed the Western idea of compartmentalisation of the artist, whereby painters only paint or draw, sculptors engage in only making sculptures and so on, which affects the artist’s creativity. To keep herself free from these imposed trends, Lala Rukh Selim said ‘I work as a sculptor, painter, art educator, art critic, activist and others, at the same time.’ She said ‘every type of creative work like writing or painting, which compels me to do work, I regard as artwork.’
‘I am fortunate that I was born in a culturally rich and learned family and I am grateful to my brother Kaiser Selim and husband sculptor Towfiqur Rahman for their immense cooperation to lead me in the world of knowledge and art,’ she added.
The talented artist has clinched various awards, held solo exhibitions, participated in various group exhibitions, presented papers at seminars, conducted workshops in Bangladesh and across the globe and published various academic papers on art. She was also the editor of Fine Art and Crafts volume of the twelve-volume Cultural Survey of Bangladesh undertaken by the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh published in 2008.
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