Dhaka’s biodiversity reimagined through miniature art

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The tiny works of art, which organizers call “miniature”, must be closely examined by onlookers to appreciate the details

October 21, 2022, 10:00 a.m.

Last modification: October 21, 2022, 09:55

Caption: The ‘Doob 2.0’ art exhibition is an attempt to represent the biodiversity that still prevails. Photo: courtesy

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art exhibition is an attempt to represent the biodiversity that still prevails. Photo: courtesy” title=””/>

Caption: The ‘Doob 2.0’ art exhibition is an attempt to represent the biodiversity that still prevails. Photo: courtesy

Dhaka doesn’t evoke the thought of biodiversity, forest and bodies of water, even though the big concrete city it is today was once rich with all of these things. Animal life, however, still exists in the chaotic metropolis. The art exhibition ‘Doob 2.0’ is an attempt to portray the biodiversity that still prevails.

The ongoing exhibition, held at the Edward M Kennedy Memorial Center (EMK) in Dhaka, which will run until October 22, reimagines animal life in Dhaka “with mythological elements, folklore and rituals” through “miniature” multidisciplinary works of art.

Hosted by the EMK Center, the exhibition is curated by former Charukala Azizee Fawmi Khan and other artists whose works are on display at the event. They include Nusrat Jahan Titly, Sarah Jabin, Rakibul Anwar, Joyshree Chakma, Afroza Hossain Sara, Anannya Mephar Azad, Auntora Mehrukh Azad, Shaily Shrabonti, Taniya Rahman, Mreethmandir Gunjan Kumar Roy, Azrina Ahasan, Afsana Haque Ayaan, Mukta Mareeam Khan.

The tiny works of art, which organizers call “miniature,” must be closely examined by viewers to appreciate the detail. Up close, they show intricate detail in the extremely limited landscape of the small frames.

The artists used a variety of materials which include in the work of Azrina Ahasan, for example, seeds, brightly colored leaves, flowers, shells, wood shavings, which the artists captured in resin .

Mukta Mareeam Khan’s work “Asharhe Golpo” is made of organic materials on paper, inspired by traditional “patachitra” scroll paintings.

The artists featured in the exhibition drew inspiration from everything around them and materialized their imagination using beads, soap, ink and colored pencils on paper, bird feathers, jute , cotton, coal and many more.

Media included digital art and animation, fabric color and squin on silk, oil on board and mixed media on silk, gouache, hand embroidery on canvas, thread on paper, among other things to give each work its own personality.

“The aim of the EMK Center is to create a platform for young aspiring artists to show their creativity. The first exhibition was done online with the Doob team and the second is on a much larger scale here,” said Sayed Tahsin, social media coordinator for the EMK Center.

The initial concept of “Doob” was born when, during the pandemic, Azizee found herself frustrated with the prolonged restrictions of the shutdowns. It was then in 2020 that the artist decided to set up the Doob exhibition with his artist friends.

“But post-pandemic conditions were different, so we wanted to infuse different parts and aspects of the ecosystem with our city. No one can imagine lush green nature in an urban landscape, but our Dhaka was born along the shores of Buriganga Dhaka and nature were once intertwined, but we have moved away from nature in the name of development and modernity,” Azizee said.

The reduced form of the artworks in Doob 2.0 can also be interpreted as a reflection of the lack of space in the increasingly crowded city of Dhaka, the organizer said.

TBS Picks: a selection of works of art with descriptions of the artists

Unnoticed (Organics in Resin) by Azrina Ahasan

In 2020, I moved to my hometown where I grew up as a child. But coming back, I saw nature and its elements in a different light. Biodiversity in rural areas is very different from that in the city. I used different types of seeds, brightly colored leaves, flowers, shells, seeds and wood chips and captured them in resin. I reinvented nature using what nature gives.

Photo: Noor-A-Alam

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Photo: Noor-A-Alam

Photo: Noor-A-Alam

My personal opinions and understanding of environmental experience, urban life, history and culture, and the complex interplay between living creatures have primarily influenced Epiphany of Living Things.

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