Chronicles in charcoal | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 06, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 06, 2018

upcoming event

Chronicles in charcoal

Artist Jamal Ahmed is a master of drawing, acclaimed for his realistic depiction of life, expansive landscapes, dusks on the beach, and pigeons. He is an exponent of the Bangladesh's realism art movement, and the undisputed master when it comes to painting the eternal muse of every artist — the female form.

Beginning 10 November, 2018 Galleri Kaya at Uttara will be hosting an exhibition presenting some of the more recent works of the celebrated artist. Although on the drawing board for years, the Kaya – Jamal pairing took shape over the last year, and gained momentum in the last six months.

In the exhibition that is scheduled to last till 24 November, all viewers will have the pleasure of getting reacquainted with his signature stroke, and some more. And from the snippets that we were fortunate enough to see, this may just well be the last brilliant exposition before the curtain falls on 2018.

We met Jamal Ahmed at his studio. Immersed in work and busy giving the final touches to his works before they are shipped to the gallery, Jamal spoke about life, work, and things that were somewhat unexpected.

Jamal's chemistry with the drawing form is well recognised. This has been a labour of life since his days at the art institute. Complex, time consuming, and certainly not a well-treaded avenue in the local art scene, Jamal manipulates the nuances of drawing, particularly with charcoal as to be shown in this exhibition, to create a larger than real, often larger than life images of the ordinary people we come across in our everyday lives.

The finer aspects of his drawings, their intricacies and how he effortlessly finds simple solutions to complex compositions is perhaps for his students to dissect, understand, learn and make use of.

For those who simply love life and love beauty can find exactly that in Jamal Ahmed and his works. He is a keen observer, but I personally always felt that we cannot comprehend what goes on in his mind when he draws, or paints. His creative mind is as enigmatic as the picturesque setting we see in his work.

There are claims that he only sees a world that was, and never is; he dwells in the past, and in a rustic fantasy long vanished.

Is that really true?

Yes, his charm is the dreamy setting, but that is because he is quick to pick it from the mundane ways of our lives.

He works with real models, and hardly ever from memory, or photographs. True, he often sets the ambiance, the right model, at the right place, illuminated with the exact brightness or the lack of light, but he draws what he sees.

He is true to the movement he professes to follow. The women, the setting at the river, the unknown singer — all are as real as they can be, without a hint of indulgence, applied elements, if you may.

Only a discerning eye appreciates that he is alone, never in a crowd, never basking in accolades. The singer is isolated and lonely. And that is only possible in the concrete world that we urbanites strife to break away from.

The Nazrul, one of his works to be shown at the Galleri Kaya exhibition, is silent and muted, but engaged in mind-blowing conversation through the expression of his eyes alone.

Maybe it would not be an exaggeration that he works with 'still life.' Jamal Ahmed's animated figures are often bound in the space and time of his studio; his landscapes frozen in singular moments.

Yet, one cannot stop but marvel at the motion of his brilliant pigeons. At times, subtle, even muted. Often in full vigour, fluttering their wings in a crowd. Praying for food, mourning a death, of just flipping the wings to remain in flight for survival. Having said all that, one point remains to be appreciated, Jamal freezes time, even when everything around is in motion. And he is a master at what he does.


Jamal Ahmed: CHRONICLES IN CHARCOAL will be open for public between 10 November, 2018 and 24 November, 2018 at the Galleri Kaya, House #20, Road #16 Sector #4, Utara, Dhaka. # +88 01752 684 900; 88-02- 58956902. E-mail:

Stay updated on the go with The Daily Star Android & iOS News App. Click here to download it for your device.

Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 22222

Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2222

Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2225

Leave your comments

Top News

Top News