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Artist of the Day | Mahbubur Rahman

Mahbubur Rahman

Sounds from nowhere - 8


Stainless steel & surgical scissors

12.5 cm x 79 cm x 16 cm (head) and 25 cm (tail)


Mahbubur Rahman is one of the leading contemporary multidisciplinary artists of Bangladesh, working with a range of mediums such as painting, photography, sculpture as well as performances. His works have consistently questioned his post war identity and the fabric of social structure in Bangladesh, which according to Rahman, has been stagnant in its growth for many years. By imposing his own portraiture in his works, he blurs the boundary between his own struggles and the country’s incapability to move forward.

Rahman’s artworks are audibly screaming and confrontational; his spontaneous performances in public places being a testimony to his frustrations. His choice of materials range from cow hides to stainless steel scissors, finding, as he says ‘Beauty in ugly things that represent death or pain or separation’, which directly relate to the themes of partition, separation and religious orthodoxy.

Rahman is one of the most important cultural activists of Bangladesh. Since his Masters in Fine Art from the University of Dhaka, he has chosen mediums like performances and installations that have allowed him to respond spontaneously, often commenting upon the issues that have plagued post Independent Bangladesh, such as its colonial past, its postcolonial identity, migration, social stigmas and political censorship and control. His works have been exhibited widely and his selected presentations include, ‘Seismic Movements’ at Dhaka Art Summit (2020),‘Sounds from Nowhere’ at Bikaner House, New Delhi (2019), ‘Faces of Intimate Strangers’ at the Shanghai Modern Art Museum, China (2018), ‘The City’, Kathmandu Triennale (2017), ‘The Artist as Activist’at The Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, United States of America (2016), ‘Dust to Dust’, Bengal Art Foundation, Bangladesh (2015), ‘Making History’, Colombo Art Biennale, Sri Lanka (2014), ‘Parables’,The Bangladesh Pavilion at the 54thVenice Biennale, Italy (2011), the 5thto the 14thAsian Art Biennales, Dhaka, Bangladesh (1991-2010), ‘Videozoom: Bangladesh’,Rome, Italy (2010), Mahbubur Rahman at The Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi, India (2009) and at the Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2008).

He is also the co-founder of Britto Arts Trust (2002), which is Bangladesh’s first artist-run alternative arts platform with an aim to encourage international collaborations and residencies, host exhibitions and lead alternative arts practices in Bangladesh. Much more recently, Britto Arts Trust has shown at the India Art Fair, with the aim to promote contemporary voices from Bangladesh. He lives and works in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Courtesy of blueprint.12


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