Show Yourself is a special exhibition showcasing the works of three artists from three different continents. While it is easy to limit an artist’s perspective through the lens of his/her own cultural identity, each of our three displayed artists represent and champion global experiences and perspectives. Their artworks have been shaped by their perpetual curiosity to explore how different environments and cultures shape the human experience, each giving their own unique twist on what it means to be alive in todays rapidly globalized world. Our displayed artists share a rich and diverse combined history of travel to foreign lands and environments, which have shaped their unique perspective on what defines art and its power to engage the viewer in topics of personal and social relevance. How artistic ideas and perceptions are shared and received have become increasingly complex and variegated. This uncertainty is reflected in the unsystematic compositions of the artworks on display, which each have their special way of defining order and meaning through chaos.
Roland Merkesteijn distorted images and portraits are a reflection of his own inner conflicts and the outer conflicts which surround him. The chaotic vibrations of his lines lend an air of uncertainty and mystery in the depictions of his characters. He is captivated by the face’s ability to tell a story. Reazun Nabi’s works reflect lost images of Bangladesh—of a time that almost seems immemorable. The consequences of over population and unplanned development threaten to overshadow the splendour and calm of Dhaka city that still exist in the corners of his memory. The hope of returning to nature—both in spirit and reality—is what his canvases seek to represent. Martijn Crowe is an avid researcher and explorer of urbanization. The hustle and bustle of the city, her colors, smells and people are often featured in the backdrop of his works. He is a true kindred sprit willing to travel to anyplace at a moment’s notice in a personal quest to capture the soul of its inhabitants. Martijn is motivated by the stories hidden in places which are less traveled and known by city dwellers. Having an anthropological background in his education gives him a special ability to decipherer unobvious characteristics and emotions of a group of people.
Each of our three artists have a fondness for hinting at their own opinions and ideas through the expression of social “others.” Whether it is the abstract language of color and line or the identifiable features of the human portrait, each artist aims to challenge the fine line between perception and reality. While their artwork is often a personal record of their own experiences, they thrive on the perceptive power of the “other” trying to understand and give meaning to their works. We hope you will enjoy this opportunity to explore yourself and your beliefs through the creative minds of these three very talented artists.
By Zeenath Ikramullah, curator of Athena Gallery of Fine Arts, Dhaka