Painting A New Beginning -Maream Binte Mostafiz
Painting has always been received as a gateway to escape from stress and a peaceful way of bursting out emotion. Studies show that after painting or playing with color people feel recharged and refreshed. It is also true that many corporate companies provide coloring material to their brainstorming staff for stress relief. A report published in “The Daily Star” on 2 July 2021 under the title “Color the Stress Away” claimed coloring as the art of anti-stress. The report explained, “This act (Painting) is in itself a very rehabilitating exercise as it allows us to connect with our inner selves. The act aids us to disconnect from this world, stimulate our creativity and mindfully connect with ourselves as well as our creativity.”
In the Bangladeshi context, painting has been recognized as an act of childish play or something, which is more likely to be done by children most of the time. For many Bangladeshis, painting is their childhood memory when they used to paint under a subject at school. Moreover, the adult painting was confined to the people who chose painting as their profession or studied painting at Charukola Institute (Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Dhaka). However, this concept is changing gradually. Nowadays, many young stars, even adults, are getting interested in painting. People of different occupations are choosing painting as their hobby. I also started taking painting seriously and as a part-time profession when I passed a whole year after my post-graduation completion and became a full-time housewife and a mother.
The number of new and amateur artists in the emerging artist community of Bangladesh is growing very swiftly. The uncomplicated and easy access to the internet, countless painting tutorials on YouTube from around the globe, cheap and less costly art accessories etc., undoubtedly played a role for a large group of people to get interested in painting. In addition, the modern stressful and lonely life drives people to inexplicable frustration. The frustration leads people to cling to something that will give them relief, and it is a fact that painting works well to do that job. This is also another major reason for many people to get interested in painting. For example, when I was exhausted with my postpartum depression and life became too heavy for me, I started painting to escape from my trauma.
The atmosphere for the new artists in Bangladesh is being much welcoming day by day. There are several groups and pages in social media, especially on Facebook and Instagram who are -encouraging people of all ages to become artists and the admin panels are really matured enough not to humiliate new artists on their amateur painting; rather, they motivate them with best advice. These groups are even arranging different types of contests and fine arts courses for the artists to improve their art skills. Some popular groups on Facebook are Pencil (331k members), Obscure Artist of Bangladesh (21k members), Rongtuli: The kingdom of Art (23.9k members) etc. Pencil and Obscure Artist of Bangladesh even arranged an art exhibition for the new artists. A young organization named AllStar is working to create a platform for the new artists to cultivate their hidden talent. They have successfully arranged an online, face-to-face painting competition two times during this covid-19 pandemic. In few words, the present artists have so many scopes and advantages to shine more easily than the past. Moreover, Bangladesh is about to witness a new era of painting soon.
Another amazing point to notice is that, among the rising artists, many artists possess Islamic religious values. If we look at the past, people who valued religious convictions, especially Islamic convictions, were less interested in arts and paintings. The only Islamic art available back then was Arabic Calligraphy. The reason behind that might be, in the past, there was this idea that painting directly conflicted with the main teachings of Islam. In the book A History of Muslim Philosophy, published by Al-Islam.org, it is written in Chapter 56 that:
“Muslim attitude towards painting in the early history of Islam was hostile. This was justifiable because Fine Arts had at that time an uncanny association with pagan beliefs and rituals. Painting was reminiscent of polytheism which Islam had come to fight against and destroy.”
There is no direct verse in the Holy Quran that says painting is prohibited. However, in Hadith, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) made this clear that anyone who draw or paint that resembles life or belief of other religions, that person will be punished on the Day of Judgment. The mother of the believers Ayesha reported,
“The Prophet (peace be upon him) entered upon me while there was a curtain having pictures (of animals) in the house. His face got red with anger, and then he got hold of the curtain and tore it into pieces. The prophet (peace be upon him) said, such people as paint these pictured will receive the severest punishment on the Day of Resurrection.”
(Sahih al-Bukhari: 6109)
Based on that, the majority of Islamic scholars have approved painting as long as it does not resemble any living creature. Other than that, any non-living things, as well as natural beauty, is allowed to paint. Therefore, the artists respectful of Islamic convictions are exploring their artistic talent maintaining this limit; yet they are not behind or less flourishing than any other artists.
However, many Western painters also inspiring people to paint natural scenaries. One of them is Bob Ross. He was the host of a famous TV show called The Joy of Painting. In his entire artistic career, he never painted a single creature in his show. He did only landscape.
Another sign for Bangladesh to witness a new beginning for painting is that how the young Bangladeshi artists are expressing their work in international platforms. Due to the advancement of the internet, Bangladeshi artists are participating in several online international exhibitions. One of the recent online exhibitions was “KPR International Art Exhibition” which took place in 2020. In that exhibition, many Bangladeshi artists participated along with the artists of five other countries.
Many Bangladeshi YouTubers are publishing painting tutorials, which are being viewed by audiences across the border. One of those channels is, Fancy’s Art – Easy Landscape Painting. The owner of this channel is a simple yet very talented Bangladeshi girl. She has over 17.8k subscribers and over 71k views on her channel. Day by day, more young artists are joining YouTube and successfully building a platform for themselves.
Painting in Bangladesh was never a property of mass people or practised by people of all ages like it is today. Even amateur artists are daring to compete in the field of fine arts without holding any academic certificates. They are competing purely based on the experience and talent they nourish within themselves. In addition to that, many renowned artists of Bangladesh are also welcoming these emerging young spirits without vile prejudice. Therefore, I believe a new beginning for painting in Bangladesh is about to spring very soon.