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দ্বৈধ (A Duality)

Curated by Bishwajit Goswami (Assistant Professor, Department of Drawing and Painting, University of Dhaka) with research support from Muhammad Nafisur Rahman (Assistant Professor of Communication Design at the School of Design, College of DAAP, University of Cincinnati), in collaboration with Brihatta Art Foundation

To think about Bangladesh is to think about the riverine, the deltaic landscape often evoking an idyllic imagining. To read about Bangladesh is to also read about floods and storms, and destruction designed by nature. To understand Bangladesh however, is to acknowledge the duality that flows through this land, its dwellers and natural environment interacting in unfettered fluidity in various forms. In welcoming the new year, we sing an ode to invite the stormy nor'westers (Kalboishakhi) to cleanse impurities and herald a fresh start. In embracing the destructive forces of nature, we accept the lessons it teaches us, the reality of the everyday struggles and the manifestation of the resilience of the Bengali spirit to hope for better days. The ambivalent relationship between man and the lived environment, people and nature, finds new modes of storytelling through these expressions. দ্বৈধ (Dyoidho) upholds that relationship by showcasing the fluidity found in the riverine nature of Bengal. The exhibition engages the human senses through color, form and its essence.

Combining artistic research and practice, each section of the exhibition sheds light on a different aspect of duality in our everyday surroundings creating an immersive experience. Just as the waterways trace a path from the Himalayan springs to the estuaries of Padma, Meghna and Jamuna at the Bay of Bengal, the narrations traverse the artistic space following the way of the rivers. Sensory immersion is evoked both by the sound of paddy in the harvest festival, while the uneven gallery walls simulate the moist coarseness of the delta-soil. The chaos during coastal calamity resonates in the exhibition’s soundscape, as the seasonal qualities of Bangladesh’s climate: the humid summer, the refreshing monsoon, the dryness of winter all arouse affect, evoking emotion and memory. The dual manifestations of mother nature, nurturing and severe by turns, find new narrative forms where the beauty of the Sundarbans are juxtaposed against the insolent chimneys of bricks, coal and smoke; environmentalist movements are paired with creative performances eliciting thought-provoking contextual commentary on present-day reality. In the duality of light and darkness, the impure and gray forms of our destroyed environment are invoked, while hope shines at the edge of the horizon.

দ্বৈধ (Dyoidho) evokes the idea of artifice, where things are not as they seem and artists, architects, designers, photographers and researchers come together in collaboration to set the stage for this discourse. As the urban character “Tokai” engages the environment in conversation and the dryprimitive aroma of hay connotes our agrarian roots—we extend an open invitation to participate in the discussion and to critique the apparent binaries of nature. Through texture, sound, smell, materiality, and color, the exhibition is activated in the creative imaginary and transformed by the experience of the audience. In the presentation of individual and collective experimental artworks, দ্বৈধ (Dyoidho) seeks to raise critical questions, reveal answers, and create dialogue between nature, the lived environment and our human connection to it. We welcome you to join the conversation.

The exhibition is divided into six segments.


Welcome to the untarnished estuary of land, air and water where our relationship with nature is fluid and ever-changing. As we immerse ourselves in the familiar and nostalgic sound of husking rice during the harvest season, Rafiqun Nabi's popular character “Tokai” cheekily questions the nature of our urban beliefs. The scent of newly harvested dry hay underlines our cultural nostalgia and our agricultural past. This sentiment is strengthened through the depictions of the seasons through Ahmed Shamsuddoha's Summer, Jamal Ahmed's Monsoon, Alakesh Ghosh's Autumn, Anisuzzaman Anis's Late Autumn, Sheikh Afzal Hossain's Winter, and Kanak Chanpa Chakma's Spring as they transform Hashem Khan's well-cherished memories of Bangladesh’s six seasons opening up a new avenue of discourse. Emerging artist Damasush Hacha's animation adds a new dimension to this conversation. Soma Surovi Jannat’s video artwork reflects the diversity stories found in the extensive water basin dialoguing in tandem with Abdul Gaffar Babu’s unique floating site specific installation.


Bengalis are easily drawn to the rippling rivers, developing an affection to the murky waters of riverine soil almost instantaneously. Both the abundance and scarcity of water define our daily livelihood, various feelings, or passions; this land of evening ‘Bhatiali’ songs is a serene aquatic canvas as it moves along with the rivers. As a response to the rivers’ temperament, Marina Tabassum's architectural model projects a silhouette of alternative hope that can overcome the shifting ebb and flow of the tide. Alak Roy’s sculptural piece presents the interrelation between the sacrificial and redemptive dynamic between water and land, while Tarun Ghosh’s artwork conveys an imagery of the intuitive exploration of everyday domestic qualities. Summing up this duality inherent in both the people and the wetlands, Dhali Al Mamoon portrays a new relation between a treasured memorable past and the strange aridity of the present.

The Land

Bengal's alluvial soil produces yearlong abundant harvests. Its nurturing quality is cherished by the artists who draw upon its wealth. Monirul Islam actively cultivates these tenets into his creative practice transforming commonplace daily objects into an expression of artistry that elevates and comments on the complexity of our relationship with our organic world. Through its nurturing quality, Bengali art pays tribute to femininity creating a magical connection with nature’s various manifestations. In her quest for her female self identity, Nazlee Laila Mansur combines surrealism with reality. Through the fluid and rhythmic brushstrokes in Farida Zaman’s Sufiya, we glimpse a dreamlike world evoked by Mother Nature. The power and resilience of the feminine is exemplified in Dilara Begum Jolly's installations and in Rokeya Sultana’s Madonna. Through Chandravati, Bengal's first female poet from Kishorgonj, Abdus Shakoor Shah pays tribute to the power of storytelling and “Parul”— the ever-familiar creation of master puppeteer Mustafa Monwar—joins this conversation in earnest. In understanding the tenderness of nature and the feelings of nurturing, Joydeb Roaza helps us visualise the tender roots of the sounds and feelings through his performance Tender Roots.


Originating from the Himalayan Gangotri Glacier, the ancient Ganges exists to purify. The ever-familiar Padma, Meghna, and Jamuna rivers have changed the shape of this delta, saturating the earth with loam, alluvium and life. However, we, the ungrateful urbanites, repay that generosity by disposing our waste into the Buriganga. Mohammad Eunus’s Metaphor of a Wounded River paints that final heartbeat as nature gives in to relentless urban settlement. Through the mix of industrial and organic materials, Mahmuda Siddika’s leather collage comments on the extinction of the Buriganga. Mojahid Musa’s sculpture embodies the unusual and phantasmagorical form of the obscure darkness and fearful uncertainty of the future which is juxtaposed by Soma Surovi Jannat’s mural work where light heralds a new hope and a new resolution for the future. In the duality of light and darkness, people confront the contaminated and polluted reality of our present while holding hope for the future. Through their solo performances playing with colour, touch, and fragrance, Yasmin Jahan Nupur and Niloofar Chaman manifest the duality of both the lamentation and promise of our human condition.


The Sundarbans, surrounded by loam, are a symbol of the deep trust in the preservation of the balance and diversity of our environment. Anisuzzaman Faroque’s installation represents the steadfast mangroves that defy the constant torrential tides, clinging to the southern border of our delta. They protect us decade after decade from the catastrophic side of nature unconditionally without any expectation or compensation. Shahid Kabir expresses this coexistence between the forests with the local inhabitants and Mostafizul Haque’s series Golpata depicts the evolution of this huge terrain. Hamiduzzaman Khan’s mural portrays a confluence of the duality of fresh and saltwater under the vast sky of the extensive Sundarbans. Meanwhile, Abul Barq Alvi provides us with a bird’s eye view of the brick kilns with fumes that engulf the surrounding landscape, and Nisar Hossain's painting Towards Annihilation reinforces the idiosyncratic emotions that man contains and performs against nature.


Bengalis remain optimistic even when faced with great adversity. The wrath of nature claims our homes and assets repeatedly along with priceless memories made over a lifetime. Recognising the silent desperate lament of the climate refugees, Abir Abdullah’s photo series documents their plight in an effort to discover the potent source of hope that propels them onward. The chaos brought on by the changeable and temperamental rivers permeate the lives of everyone and the nostalgic backdrop of Ahmed Rasel's visual storytelling holds up the constant fear of the devastation brought on by the ever-eroding river. This duality inherent in our natural habitat is reinforced both through the fictitious world found in Ashrafia Adib's virtual reality piece and Khairul Alam Shada’s cinematic portrayal of our natural surroundings. These contradictory perspectives are explored through Mohammed Emran Hossain's architectural installation of the periscope which refracts, reflects and reframes various angles symbolically empowering each of us to create a dramatic synthesis of our own perspectives of self-realisation, intuition, and worldview.


We would like to express our sincere appreciation to the following individuals and organisations for their generous cooperation in helping make this project possible.

Curatorial Team: Bishwajit Goswami (Curator and Researcher), Muhammad Nafisur Rahman (Key Research Support), Shouro Dasgupta (Research Assistance), Kashfia Arif (Editor), Souradeep Dasgupta (Content Development), Zannatun Nahar Nijhum (Content Development), Humaira Hossain (Content Development), Anadiny Mogno (Content Development), Nusrat Mahmud (Project Manager), Atkia Sadia Rahman (Project Coordinator), Tirtha Saha (Project Support).

Documentation: Anas Bin Iqbal (Editorial support), Arup Mandal (Video and Photography), Farid Ahmed Rafi (Photography)

Logistics: Tanzid Parvez, Din Islam Hossain Sayem

Gallery Logistics: Md. Shahadat Hossain, Nurun Nahar, Niloy Mankhin, Ruposhree Hajong, Mohammad Ashraful, Ekmot Ali, Sohel Chowdhury, Faruk Hossain

Art Mediators and Volunteers: Anadiny Mogno, Anas Bin Iqbal, Apu Nandi, Arup Mandal, Farhana Rafiq Achol, Farid Ahmed Rafi, Fatin Fida Arko, Kamrun Nahar, Konika Mahian, Jisan Sajjad, Sarker Tukhor, Shaidul Alam Shifat, Tirtha Saha, Rizwan Bin Iqbal

Social Media: Anas Bin Iqbal, Atkia Sadia Rahman, Nusrat Mahmud, Nusrat Jahan, Arup Mandal, Farid Ahmed Rafi

Exhibition Production: Abdur Razzaq and Team (Gallery Preparation), Amal Sarker and Team (Structural Installation), Chanchal Kumar Shil (Printing), Md Humayun Kabir and Team (Metalwork), Helal Samrat (Production Volunteer), Bijoy Devnath & Munia Ahmed Mim (Architectural Scale Model Making)

Special Thanks: Abdullah Al Mahmud Mahin, Bipul Mallick, Enayetullah Khan, Farhan Azim, Imran uz-zaman, Mohammad Kamrul, Mong Mong Sho, Nisar Hossain, Ramzan Ali Chowdhury, Rezwan Rahman, Saiqa Iqbal Meghna, Sharmilie Rahman, Sourav Chowdhury, Sony Kumar Sen, Syed Kushal, Tania Sultana Bristy. Zareen Mahmud.

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