'Duality', a transformative art exhibition on motherhood in Dhaka's Lalmatia

Through abstract expressionism, the exhibition explores the complexities of motherhood and a child's unique perspective

Anindya Nahar Habib
Published : 23 Jan 2024, 02:03 PM
Updated : 23 Jan 2024, 02:03 PM

Artist Salma Zakia Bristy traces her artistic path alongside that of her son Mashrafi Aveen at an exhibition titled 'Duality — Mother and Child, the State of Combining Two Different Souls' at the Kalakendra art gallery in Dhaka's Lalmatia.

The exhibition tracks the profound journey of two individuals navigating the complexity of motherhood and the world of a child with unique needs. It is a monument to the transformative potential of art.

Bristy, an abstract expressionist, has a minimalistic yet evocative approach to art. Through abstract shapes and forms and a nuanced palette, she and her son invite visitors into a world where the complex and the simple coexist. Aveen, who has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is an active participant in the creative endeavour.

Their paintings reflect their brilliant teamwork, a ballet of colourful hues and abstract brushstrokes that tell a tale beyond words – the story of a mother's life spent caring for her child while trying to minimise the suffering and disruptions that come with addressing the particular demands of his life.

Through art, she can bring him a degree of tranquillity, easing his restlessness and allowing him to channel his boundless energy towards creation. It is a genuinely exceptional exhibition.

The exhibition opened on Jan 19 at 5 pm, welcoming several esteemed guests including artist and Dhaka University Prof Shishir Bhattacharjee and CHILD Foundation Chairman and POTU Managing Director Tahrin Aman.

Despite Bristy and Aveen's many challenges, their journey is undeniably beautiful. Their paintings reflect their connection, a shared language, and silent dialogue through artistic expression. Aveen, once disinterested in painting, now finds joy in collaborating with his mother, his unique patterns and circular hand movements becoming distinctive elements of their pieces.

The curation of the exhibit, overseen by Abu Kalam Shamsuddin, takes a simple approach, mirroring the understated beauty of the art and allowing it to take centre stage. The inclusion of Aveen's painting materials among the displays adds a sincere layer, offering a tactile glimpse of the world he has embraced and the tools that are his conduits for expression.

Two documentaries on display at the exhibition also give visitors an intimate look into the lives of Bristy and Aveen. The first features an interview where Bristy speaks candidly about her journey, its challenges, and the joys of using art to bond and cope with life. The second captures a slice of Aveen's life at home as he plays music on a keyboard and sets about his daily routine. It captures the vibrant energy he brings to his surroundings.

Through simple, abstract shapes and vibrant colours, 'Duality' embodies resilience, love, and the enduring beauty of the delicate dance of creation.

The exhibition will continue until Jan 29 at the Kalakendra art gallery at House 9/4, Block-D, Lalmatia, Dhaka. It is open from 4 pm to 8 pm every day.

This article is part of Stripe, bdnews24.com's special publication focusing on culture and society from a youth perspective.