MAHMUD HUSAIN LASKAR: THE BUDDING PAINTER

MAHMUD HUSAIN LASKAR: THE BUDDING PAINTER

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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10 Comments

  1. ravi kant dwivedi says:

    very nice work and Sukul, your write up is equally good!!!

  2. nanditasarkar says:

    mahmudke dekhe ar or bishoye tomar lekha pore boro bhalo laglo. o amar patha-bhabaner chhatra, khubi adorer. or chhobir bhalo-mondo bishleshan korar khomota amar nei, abar ami art bujhina bolei hoyto purono diner chhobiguloi amar beshi bhalo laage. oneke bhalo shilpi hoy, kintu bhalo maanush sobai hoyna. amader Mahmud boro bhalo chhele. dindin or unnati hok. tomake ar Mahmudke snehashish.

  3. Shubhashis says:

    Facebook comment-
    Sudhi Ranjan Mukherjee
    Shilpi ke to khub bhalo korei chini. Tobu anekdin por ore chabi dekhlam. Besh poribarton hoyeche…..setai swabhabik. Subhashis babur chabi samparke lekhao besh bhalo laglo. Ei prosonge Rabindranather ekta lekhar katha mone holo…………..” Sadharon darshok chabi dekhlei jigyasa kore, er artho ki ? Arthat eta hati na ghora, bon na pahar ? Bhuley jay artho ke khnujte hoy bhashyay, chabite khnuji chabikei……” – Rabindra Rachanabali, Janmoshatobarshik sangoskaron, chaturdosh khando, 427 prishtha.

  4. Shubhashis says:

    Sudhi Ranjan Mukherjee,
    Ofcourse you are true. But at the same time Rabindranath Tagore has written a lot on Art & Aesthetics and expressed in fairly clear terms according to his own ideas about what is art, what is aesthetics and exactly what qualities an artist should possess. In short, he also tried to define art, aesthetics and the artist. In fact a revealing book on this ‘Art & Aesthetics’ translated by Sj Khsitish Roy ( an compilation of discussions Tagore held with Nandalal Bose and few letters he wrote to several personalities discussing art) is available with me; where Tagore expreses fairly definite ideas about all three- namely Art, Aesthetics and the Artist. So, Tagore also had a tendency to define art, contrary to let the art be defined by the language of eyes only as you have mentioned, he had put very significant words (text) to define his ideas. So, Visual Art do produce a lot of thinking text; and the ‘text’ has been greatly used to evaluate the merit of an Artist. Even the great artists had been expressed by a lot of text; and a host of professionals have emerged in the art scenario and a lot of research work is still going on in art institutes all over the world. Personally, I really do not know if Visual Art needs any kind of analysis by text; but the trend is existing for a long time, perhaps a fashionable trend giving rise to a whole lot of art scholars! So, even if Tagore wished a visual language to comprehend art, we still find a lot of analytical text as the evaluation tool for an artist.
    Shubhashis

  5. Shubhashis says:

    Sudhi Ranjan Mukherjee responds in facebook –
    Shubhashis Mitra – Bhasha ba Text to amader bhav prokasher prodhan madhyom, Ta se Art er katha holeo. Nandalal Basu likhechen “Drishti o Srishti”, Benodebehari likhechen “Chitrakar” er moto asamanyo sab boi ja Shilpo ba Art er oporei. Abanindranath er Art er samparke mulyoban sab bhashon lipibaddho hoyeche “Bageswari Shilpa Prabandhaboli” boi te. E chara Gurudev tnar “Europe jatrir diary”, “Japan jatri”, “Sahityer pathe”…….ei sab lekhar modhye Art samparke shudhu noi, Shilpa, shilpi o darshok er bhumika samparkeo anek katha likhechen. Sab i kintu “bhasha” ba text. Tabey ei sab lekhar modhye kothao bishesh kono chabi, bhashkarjo ba kono shilpokarmo ke pathoker kaache bojhabar cheshta koren ni……………..sutorang Art appreciation , Art criticism thakbei. Amra exhibition korle Shilpa samalochak der nimantron kori amader chabi samparke 2/4 katha khabarer kagaz e lekhar jonyei………Samosya ta onyo jaiga te. Chabi dekhe darshak jakhan bujhte chay, chabir peechone ki galpo aache jaante chay. Ekta chabi (amar jatodur mone hoy) ke thik oi bhabe katha ba text diye prokash kora jai na. Chabir ” Ros ” aswadon korte gele niyomito chabi dekhte hobe. Guhachitro theke shuru kore ekebare Adhunik kaler chabi o shilpokarmo nijer chokh diye dekhte hobe, nijekei bhabte hobe……nijekei tar “Ros” khnuje pete hobe. Sei “Ros” pele ta aar ekjoner kaache kakhonoi bhashay barnona kora sambhav noi. Sekhane shudhui Shilpo ros upolobdhir byapar……Tobu Shilpo niye alochona, samalochona cholte thakbe. Aar sekhane “Text” er darkar hobe………………….”Ekhon chabir dike takao. Bishoybostu heen chabir nichok bishuddho rup amar bhaloi laage, jemon bhalo laage bakyohara sangeet er alap. Bostuto amar nijer jhnok oidikey.” – Rabindra Nath Thakur ( Sahityer Pathe ).

  6. Shubhashis says:

    Sudhi Ranjan Mukherjee,
    I appreciate and understand what you feel as an artist yourself. Definitely your feelings as an artist towards art appreciation is probably the most appropriate way to look at art.
    But, today, art appreciation is a degree/diploma level course with a huge amount of grammatical text in supply. This has now become the official language to appreciate art. The problem of an ARTICULATE PRIVATE SPACE for art appreciation seems to be in the decline now. Often to evaluate art we refer to what the experts say about this. As you must also be aware that quite a few galleries professionally appoint/hire skilled art appreciators to jack up the status of an artist to make him more salable, a lot is written about the particular artist by several experts, expensive catalogs published and the artist becomes popular. In this way the art appreciation language is bound to become commercialized, and a suitable grammar gets invented too. All these have made the ‘text’ on art now a very important tool, even for the artists too. So, at this point of time there is no denying the text, which should not have been the case as many times the text becomes too confusing for general folks like us.
    Shubhashis

    • Shubhashis Mitra says:

      Sudhi Ranjan Mukherjee in facebook: – Eta shilper jagat bolbo kina janina, tabey chabi kena bechar ei jagat alada kore dekhar moto……jetar songe shilper utkarsher jathartho jogajog bishesh nei. Jnara shilpokarmo kinte chan tnader ke guide korar jonyo kichu Art-expert ekhon bibhinno patra-patrika te lekhen (jamon Telegraph er Graphiti potrikay )….kon chabita bhalo ba kano seta bhalo ebong seta kenar jogyo. Chabi ba je kono shilpokarmaer Bazar bhittik byakkha hochche ei bhabe. Amra choto thekei shune aschi je khub uchcho mulye bikri hoy Hussain o Ganesh Pyne er chabi. Bikrir bazar tnader bhalo holeo jeebaner shesh din porjonto chabi niye porikkha-nirikkha tnader theme thakeni. Bartomane chabir appreciation shudhu kichu art-promoter je korchen, tai noi. Media o neme poreche maathe. Nami shilpira ki khete bhalobasen, tnaar priyo tourist spot konti ityadi. Sottyi to, shilpira na khete peye morbe kano ? Jeo to aise jeo. Tarpor Shilper ja hobar ta hok.

      • Shubhashis Mitra says:

        Sudhi Ranjanda- Tahole bujhun byaparta amader moto sadharon loker kache kotota durbodhyo! Ekhonkar art bojha ektu kothin, Jogen Choudhury ekbar nije-i bolechilen ‘ekhon trained eye chara art appreciation muskil’ –tar opore ei sob art critique der utpaat. Amra kothay jai bolonto!! Aajkaal art-er byapare amader nijeder bhison asikkhito, asikkhito mone hoy! Ami to tao ‘muktodhara’ web site er jonyo dum dam kore shilper byapare du char kotah like pheli. AAjkaal Shilpi rao kintu sadharan manushder theke dure chole jacchen—-apni ki bolen?

        • Shubhashis Mitra says:

          Sudhiranjan Mukherjee replies in facebook-Shishu shilpira ja chabi aanke ta sadharon manusher theke anek durey. Erpor koishore boyosher kichu aage theke tader hoy Bastober pothe jatra. Chabi te takhon charpasher drishyoman jagat take jamon dekhte thik temon bhabe ankatei Ananda. Niyomitobhabe chabi enke gele sketch o studyr maddhyome churanto bastob ke chabi te phutiye tola tei ananda. Takhon tar charpasher sakolei ei dharoner chabir proti aro agrohi hoye othe………… erpor shilpir nijer jagat, nijer obhibyakti prokasher khide jege othe. Takhon bastober churanto rup o akar bhenge nijer shrishto rup prokash korar tagid . Thik ei somoy theke darshak o tar chabi theke mukh phiriye nite thake. Sadharon darshoker eto somoy thakena je tar chabi bujhte prithibir shilpo samudre abogahon korar………shilpa itihas porar. Tai shilpi o darshoker modhye ekta communication gap toiri hote badhyo…………Abar etao thik je shilpir nijer chabi o tar nijoswo byakkha shudhu chabi dekhe darshok onudhabon korte sab somoy pare na. sambhab noi. Er modhye abar art-critic ra dhuke pore sahityo mishrito bhashyay chabir boktobyo ke aro durbodhyo kore tolen. Oboshyoi sab Art critic noy. Apar dike chabi bikrir jagat aro alada. Sekhane Price index aache, auction aache, Sensex dhore chabir dam otha pora chole. Tobu er modhyei nijer kaaj kore jete hobe. Amader teacher Shanu Lahiri bolten je Shilpo ke hote hobe ” Universal & Eternal “. Chabi ke’ kaal’ otikrom korte hobe. Sab theke gobhir biswas sekhanei rakha uchit bole amar mone hoy.

  7. Tapas Basu says:

    A sight beautiful Creativity. I enjoyed looking at all the Images. I also enjoyed the Script also all the comments for which I spent some time…..

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