MAHMUD HUSAIN LASKAR: THE BUDDING PAINTER
MAHMUD HUSAIN LASKAR: THE BUDDING PAINTER
Mahmud Hussain Laskar, born in 1978, came to Santiniketan as a boarding student of Patha Bhavana at the age of 11 from Silchar, Assam. He passed BFA from Kala Bhavana and the MFA from College of Art New Delhi, and is now settled in Santiniketan, ofcourse as a free lancing artist.Though he is not attached to any art gallery, the Seagull Foundation of Art, is a promoter for Mahmud. The Foundation also exclusively manages the art works of K.G.Subramanyam these days.
The reason for me to appreciate, encourage and urge Mahmud in his journey, is pretty obvious, as he is from Santiniketan and that also from Patha Bhavana is ample reason for our site ‘muktodhara’ to be engaged with him. Actually it is a cherished privilege. The problem obviously is that, personally I am really an unfit person to interpret his art, or for that matter art of any kind. But interestingly, a bit of study into art literature (which is also a profession, having its own professional compulsions) makes me realize that the academic approach to evaluate art also has some limitations- the primary one of them being the tendency to evaluate any artist with preset parameters thereby curbing possibilities for evolving unique identifications parameters. In short, in theoretical art history language, no artist is unique but only a product of his times and styles around him. The assumption should hold true if we consider an artist to be a social animal-which he certainly is; but if we think that a particular artist is an unique individual atom of an expression, the art history parameters become too vague to define him. So, personally, I feel an artist should be valued from two angles, as a part of art history as a member of society, and also from the point of view of an individual. Frankly speaking, we do not want the individual voice of an artist to get lost into groups, classes and sections defined by the art historians. Under these pretexts we shall try to delve into Mahmud’s works, naturally it will be non-academic and personal in nature.
Mahmud Husain Laskar is due for a solo exhibition at Visual arts Gallery, India Heritage Center, New Delhi from 14th to 20th August, 2013 hosted by Seagull Foundation for the Arts. I shall request our ex-students in Delhi to attend the exhibition to watch the intricately weaved saga of forms and colours by Mahmud.
Mahmud’s art in his own words reflects- “ Human relations, childhood memories, fleeting reveries, interconnected existences, shades of nostalgia….I do not think, I do not reason, I do not philosophize – I allow my imaginations to roam. Painting for me is a very physical process. A process that I get so deeply immersed in, it is difficult to draw a line between work and myself.”
In fact I had a sizable discussion about his art with himself. Mahmud, it seems, still do not like to conform to any basic structure of thought to frame his philosophy of art apart from apparent playing with roaming images; probably because he is still groping for a definitive answer to his artistic quest. There is a worry among artists, specially the younger ones, that reaching at a definitive answer to the artistic quest leads the artist to reach a plateau from where he cannot move any further- it becomes kind of an intellectual death for the artist. So, the young artists always aspire to be on the move, not conforming to ant set of ideas. I can feel Mahmud’s worry as a young artist, no not with alarm, but with a witty smile; because as long as an artist does not display his works he can afford the luxury of a monologue of any kind with himself; but when he exhibits he opens the door of dialogue with the viewers. Interestingly in an artistic dialogue it is mostly the viewers interpretations which defines the philosophy of the artist, rather that what the artist himself thinks about it. So, even if Mahmud does not think or philosophize about his art, the viewers will certainly think and would try to attach some philosophy to his art works! Inevitable, as this is the path through which an artist has to evolve. The game is quite intriguing, and frankly speaking I am enjoying and would only urge Mahmud to enjoy this organic process too!
On to a more objective and wide plane, this world is so intricate that even if one conforms to certain set of philosophies or values even in art there is endless scope of development and refinement. In this age of cross disciplinary thoughts, it should not be a problem to switch on from one set of refined values to another set of artistic expression if the ideas are properly cultured. So I find the young artists worry about the intellectual plateau a bit misplaced. More over in this world infested with identity crisis, it is also mandatory for an artist to locate his identity (read uniqueness) rather firmly to make his presence felt.
Perhaps Mahmud does not realize, but as a viewer I find his works certainly adhering to some characteristic traits. The free floating images from his childhood perhaps longs for a story to unfold, which I can feel very acutely. All his works seems to have some kind of a control mechanism, it appears that the fate of all characters in his paintings are being dictated by some super force, perhaps almighty or the pure divine. Among so much diverse characters in diverse forms, nothing really seems to be out of place, all the forms are inter woven into a fascinating symmetry. That the artist could find the symmetry among so many diverse forms, in intricately contrasting colours, appears to be the unique feature of Mahmud. For me I simply loved the brilliant symmetry, unique and highly personal for Mahmud. If this uniqueness in symmetry has some philosophy it is for Mahmud to ponder and develop. The path is ofcourse for Mahmud to choose, as an artist he can easily and rightfully deserve that liberty. For me and on behalf of our site ‘muktodhara’, it was great to interact with you, Mahmud. We are watching your journey, and would certainly like to keep in touch with the future trajectories of your journey. All our best wishes to you, and it is great to know that you are enjoying your tryst with art.