Dhaka Art Fair 2014

If art is an idea, Vinita Karim’s point of genesis defies description, even as the image captures the viewer’s imagination. Her skilled hold over color is mesmeric. The boat and the moon are a recurring motif in her paintings as she seeks succor within her framework of maritime journeys. The almost compelling need to paint port cities and harbors, meeting points for civilizations and economies over mankind’s wanderings over the millennia, seem to find an echo within her own life’s experiences as a traveler. The crossroads of such intermingling’sare rich in shared familiarities. From within that cauldron, the viewer can extract parallel understandings. It would be pointlessto attempt to explain the artist’s impulses so common to so many in a world where migration from village to town to city to country is an essential pecuniary phenomenon. In these naïf pictures, one person’s chaos and tumult could be another person’s calm and restraint. 

Vinita Karim has come to this point following several milestones in her own life and career, now making room for collaborative experimentation where she has worked alongside local artisans. Dhaka’s muslin and emigrant Bihari embroiderers who have enriched the fabric of Bangladesh with their vibrant stitches have joined hands with her to create Shonar Bangla and Chander Hashi, strengthening her roots within the milieu of her adopted Bangladesh. If she has used newspaper on her canvas, she has also ranged her sculptural paintings from fiberglass fashioned like eggs to crafted wooden tigers from the Sunder bans as expressions of nature being a part of the change that humans seek when they commence – or conclude – their journeys. Amidst the change, the whisper of the sea and the vigil mounted by the moon remain constant companions as, to quote Rabindranath Tagore, its “light overflows all around”. 

Kishore Singh