of the Womb

Artist Dilara Begum Jolly | Image Courtesy: Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation (DBF)
“JOTHOR LIPi ” জঠর লিপি

(Parables of the Womb) 2018 – 19

As a consequence, the nation had a long term military rule which directly or indirectly had prevailed till 1990, the burden of which still has to be endured. Politics was in shackle The monochrome that forms the matrix of the photographs of the ten valorous women are reminiscent of the stain of blood. The faces stare out of the light-boxes like beacons that hark back to a past, evoking a historical moment, an event that has wrecked their temporal life only to elevate them to a timeless plane by etching their grief and loss across an affective topography that Dilara Begum Jolly painstakingly creates by way of needle pricking. These women form the integral part of the narrative of the Liberation War of Bangladesh fought in the year of 1971 that have conferred them with the honorific of Birangana, a title of honour that pays homage to their sacrifice, their ‘victimhood’, their loss of ‘honour’ in the hands of the occupying army.

The portraits, despite their stark testimony to an age-old crime against humanity, articulates a story of resistance, of ‘wombs’ refusing to succumb to the denigration, humility of atrocious invasion marked by a desire to conquer, to destroy. These women had suffered assaults on their wombs and hence become symbols of a land caught in the throes of birth following a vicious war that unfolded in loss of life, human dignity, dislocation and so forth. The resulting complex state of ‘being’ is what surfaces as the essence of Jolly’s human stories against a political undertone. The needle marks trace familiar intricate patterns of a cultural semantic that could be associated with those of the nakshikantha, a tradition quintessentially feminine that connects women across cultures.
Nine pairs of eyes gaze squarely, except for one , at the audience, in an irony of counterpoise, the seer and the seen rendered interchangeable in their existential condition, wherein their state of agency is put to the test. Who is the victim? The eyes that remain hidden, conversely, marks the shame of a civilization that allows the perpetuation of such tales of trauma. While the perforations that emit pinpricks of light to create a visually variegated and nuanced ambience draws the mind again and again to dwell on the un-territorial, new geography that commiseratingly overlays the faces.

The faces haunt and nudge at minds gone numb in a world that mindlessly consumes images without question by raising questions of rights to make the right choice.

Solo art work exhibition of artist Dilara Begum Jolly at Quamrul Hassan Exhibition Hall of Bengal Shilpalaya in Dhanmondi.

The exhibition is open to all every day from 2pm to 8pm until March 28 (Closed on Sunday’s).
March 9, 2020