Sarker Helal Uddin's command over his art is a rare sight to be seen.
One can easily mistake him as a photographer. The arrangements of his subjects resemble compositions commonly used in photography, and in tandem with his fine delicate strokes, it resulted in hyper-realistic forms which at a glance can be mistaken for a photograph.
Helal is a painter, and all of the works at his fifth solo exhibition, being held at Galleri Kaya, were completed in what many artists consider to be one of the most difficult media within fine arts – watercolour.
Helal knew from an early age that he wanted to become an artist. As he explained, "If I pursued an education in the general fields, I don't think I could have made a mark anywhere. I always knew I wanted to become an artist."
He began his education at the Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka. However, having received a scholarship from the Chinese government, he left for China where he completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts from the Central Academy of Fine Arts at Beijing. He also went on to earn a diploma in animation from Beijing Film Academy.
Helal moved back to Bangladesh after completing his education. He began his career as the Head of Graphics at Ekushey Television. He later worked as the Head of Animation at Sisimpur and a Set Designer at the BBC World Service Trust, before finally moving to Canada in 2010, where he is presently working as a freelance artist.
Sarker Helal Uddin has a very distinct style when compared to Bangladeshi or Chinese artists.
"My style is a mix of Western and Chinese art," he explained. "The art scene has changed a lot in Bangladesh since I was here. Our teachers taught us to keep a single focal point and blend in the rest of the elements using a wash. That is good, but I like to have intricate details all throughout my paintings. You will always find one spot where the eye lingers in all of my works, that is my focal point. But I have details thrown in everywhere."
"I am not saying my style is better, or telling anyone how to compose their artworks. It is just my way of doing things," he added.
Helal's source of inspiration is derived from nature, all of his subjects were of various flowers, landscapes and birds. There were also a few portraits thrown into the mix.
"I am inspired by the beauty of nature. There are many artists who specialise in particular subjects such as portraits, landscapes etc. I work with a variety of different subjects," he said, adding, "I primarily prefer working with bright, vibrant and colourful subjects."
Helal prefers realistic artworks over figurative ones. He has worked with a range of media including acrylic, oil, chalk pastel and charcoal, but watercolour is his forte.
"I like realistic artworks, which is why all of my work has a photorealistic quality to it. I also primarily paint using watercolour. It is a very challenging media, not everyone has a good command over it. I have developed a style of my own, that is why the aesthetics of my artworks changed so little even after living and working abroad. I want to be able to set a new standard of painting, where others study and follow my methodology."
Sarker Helal Uddin's latest solo exhibition, entitled 'Water Color' is being held at Galleri Kaya in Uttara. The show is open to all, and can be viewed everyday from 11:30 AM – 8 PM until 2 August.
TBS Picks: A selection of artworks from the show with a description from the artist
Dear friend – 2 . Watercolour on paper . 2021
This is my best friend Maqsud. He too is an artist. I wanted to capture the essence of his personality in my painting. I always make a good outline of my subject in the beginning and I make sure it doesn't get lost during the painting process. I used the wet on wet technique for this portrait, and a bit of dry brush.
My pet – 1 . Watercolour on paper. 2022
These birds are my pets, they play with me all the time. Whenever I watch TV, they always sit with me on this sofa. They are Green-Cheeked Conures. The orange one is Tinki, she's a female, and the green one is Houdini, he's a male. They are boyfriend and girlfriend.
Resting . Watercolour on paper . 2022
There are a lot of pigeons where I live, I see them everywhere. They always have so much expression and movement. I took about 10 to 12 photos of them, and I composed this artwork from my imagination using elements from the photos. I had a lot of fun with this painting.