In the heart of Bangladesh, rivers weave a spellbinding tapestry of enchantment. The waters of Buriganga, Shitalakshya and countless smaller waterways shimmer like liquid emeralds under the golden sun, reflecting the verdant landscape of lush riverbanks and swaying palms.
As the day matures into dusk, the soft and mellow sunlight flickers along the ripples of the rivers, transforming the scenery into a bewitched dreamscape.
This is how artist Hamiduzzaman Khan described the rivers and their beauty after recently having visited the rivers surrounding Dhaka.
The internationally renowned artist and sculptor reflected his feelings of the rivers' contemporary beauty through his artworks, which are currently being exhibited at 'Galleri Kaya.' Titled 'Riverine,' Hamiduzzaman's paintings will be on display till 3 October.
"I was mostly travelling by boat; the trips took me through the rivers surrounding Dhaka, namely Buriganga, Turag, Shitalakshya, and their serenity simply enchanted me. I thought, why not express what I see and feel by painting them on the canvas," said Hamiduzzaman, with great bliss in his eyes.
Truly, the serene beauty of Bangladesh's rivers, with their meandering paths and invigorating banks, is a natural wonder. However, this pristine charm is steadily fading into obscurity as rapid urbanisation transforms the landscape. Concrete jungles and industrial sprawls now encroach upon these once-idyllic waterways.
Sadly, this relentless urban march threatens to erase the enchanting allure of these rivers, especially the ones around Dhaka, leaving behind only fading memories of their former splendour.
"The rivers around Dhaka are not what they used to be. But they still retained some of their glory. The unplanned and fast city expansion affected how they look and their vastness. But to me these rivers are still a great resource and a great genesis for aesthetics and art," said Hamiduzzaman.
"I drew them for what they are now; but I still imagined them as anyone would imagine a river to be. Filled with boats and sparkly water with prolific landmarks surrounding them."
Hamiduzzaman Khan has been a part of the art world for nearly 40 years. He has gained major recognition both home and abroad. His life so far has been quite a magical tale as well.
The exhibition 'Riverine' is merely a glimpse to his masterful arts, the medium of which has mainly been watercolour on paper. After all, the way his paintings speak for the rivers, most of us cannot probably comprehend through our naked eyes.
In 1988, Hamiduzzaman crafted sculptures that proudly grace the Seoul Olympic Park in South Korea, a testament to his enduring legacy. His paintings have graced prestigious international exhibitions, captivating audiences around the globe.
His transformative touch is evident in the evocative sculptures that continue to resonate across the nation. Notably, he envisioned and brought to life the nation's inaugural sculpture haven, the 'Hamiduzzaman Sculpture Park', nestled in Gazipur. This gifted artist is a true luminary.
Having traversed numerous countries, Hamiduzzaman immerses himself in a rich tapestry of artistic expressions. From the hallowed halls of English museums to the sculpted landscapes of France and the United States, he absorbed the essence of each, weaving them into the fabric of his own distinctive artistry.
He had humble beginnings but was always busy learning new things and applying them in his own art.
A selection of artworks from the exhibition 'Riverine' with description from the artist.
Boats (Watercolour on paper)
I portrayed the river Buriganga with Dhaka city in the background, and tried to tell the tale of how the river and the city exist in harmony despite the urbanisation. The boats we see here, are what breathes life into the river. These boats are what I found truly beautiful, as they floated so magnificently right outside the concrete city.
Ahsan Manzil (Watercolour on paper)
The focal point of this painting is Ahsan Manzil as it stands tall and proud on the bank of Buriganga. With the light brightly shining upon the fort and just one little boat floating over the river, the painting is supposed to make Ahsan Manzil look as glorious as it is, but in combination with the river that compliments it.
Night Over Buriganga (Watercolour on Paper)
I painted this in 2022. It portrays the mystifying nature of the river during night. The painting gives off a stormy ambience as well, which I found added more to the already existing enigma. A night over a river is a completely different experience. It feels otherworldly, while at the same time giving off a feeling of calm and mystery to the soul caught in the midst.