I am excited to be a part of the Season of Bangla Drama this coming November. Over the month, Paraa will be exhibiting some of my A2 portrait drawings and the wider studio work in relation to our Cycle of Care project. This project has involved working with groups of vulnerable urban children at different stages, and in various methods. We hope those in London and further afield are able to attend. I will attend some of the theatre plays once am back in London.
Reflection (Self-portrait), 1985
Private Collection, Ireland © The Lucian Freud Archive.
Dhaka Drawings: Self-Portrait experiment (Day 2) & Revised thoughts on obsession, attachment and detachmentPosted: October 8, 2016
And just like that, we let go. I dont let it get to me sometimes, and other times I do. In those moments, it seems unbearable. The very idea of being. Despair, perhaps? or more than likely, rudderless and unhinged – its to be cherished for exactly what it is – being in the world. There are perhaps reasons why I admire the thinking of the phenomenologists.
In conversations with my self, and others around me I realise that my own obsessions, attachments and detachments can be quite eclectic, or more erratic as time goes on. For example, the desire to draw overwhelms me at times- to write, or to develop a particular idea – an obsessive force that I cannot seem to reconcile with, so I draw. I give in. To the pursuits by acknowledging it equates to the soul expanding its own love. In relation to that obsession, there is an attachment I have developed in drawing in a particular place with similar groups of people – as well as rigorous revisits to the self-portrait. Yet I am almost completely detached from their very existence – and my own – and immersed in a material production process that fascinates me in both its simplicity and complexity. I witnessed today some violence between one of my sitters and his cohort- and I imagine, this is a daily occurrence – its an everyday experience for some of these groups of children and people that I engage with on my weekly drawing. I was also a spectacle this time round, and I stopped – to stare at my observers. It unnerved me for the first time in a while. I did feel like a caged animal in a zoo, despite being in a public space, I was deemed a public spectacle.
So, explaining that briefly, I realise my other obsessions and attachments and question the healthiness of such things. I wonder, wouldn’t it be fantastic to just let go to Love fully, and not worry about getting attached or obsessed with it, that when it arrives, its embraced, and when it goes, its gone. Maybe to return, and maybe to not. (It always returns and expands, we just have to be open to it) I believe principally in the idea of letting go to it, though I wonder if my ego can handle such a philosophy and battering that comes with it. From experience, it seems its still a long way to go, yet, not that far. Rebuilding after love has transformed the system, or the potential of such a thing can take its toll on the mind. Yet, Love as a driver, in control, is perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the soul – and one to pursue. Nothing else perhaps matters.
My obsession over the years with ‘sacred’ spaces – finding a place to meditate, to think, to contemplate, to be, etc. The sacredness of these spaces leave a particular attachment to me – they could be as mundane as a park bench, or on a rickety rickshaw hurtling through the Dhaka streets at night (the space being that I occupy on the rickshaw, in movement through the city (which I also occupy- in quite ephemeral temporality – it forces the self to acknowledge the fragility of being in a Mega-city.
I have the privilege of enjoying the everyday – it makes me become quite aware that its a luxury of sorts. So despite having an obsession for all these sacred spaces – the education, reading and the experiences thus far puts me in a far more privileged space mentally. A lot of my writing reflects the idea of privilege – perhaps a burden I carry. An accidental set, lumbered with it through birth, education and life experiences. it doesnt discount my own personal struggle – with my identity or for establishing the experimental architecture practice in Bangladesh. It acknowledges that I put it in context; in that context, I am privileged. Definitely privileged to experiment and test ideas – through art and architecture.
I enjoy obsessing over the idea of the self-portrait, continually wanting to see myself through my art, possibly because the voyeur in me, or the narcissist in me is curious to see what I make of myself in the privacy of my space, naked or otherwise. Quite inspired by Egon Schiele and more so now by my own curiosity. I also consider this blog-space quite safe too (despite the numerous attacks on bloggers in Dhaka; my values, or ideas, my atheist-agnostic stance, or my sexual freedoms are not things that am preaching to anyone.) I have little desire to be ‘daring’ and ‘radical’ in the blog. I want to leave that for the reality of practice – in the work we do on the ground.
I will revisit this thought and maybe revise again.
Self portrait – Revised drawing. 20″ x 30″ Chinese cartridge paper with compressed conte charcoal