Art exchanges

March 6, 2010

Was invited to visit the studio of an artist I got to know In Bangladesh, Babu. It was interesting to see him facing the same dilemmas Uk artists face re commercial/saleable versus personal work. Also interesting to discover that most reasonably successful artists here can afford assistants, as labour is so cheap. Babu is a painter and print maker but he also makes and supplies craft items (lights, mirrors etc) to one of the big retail outlets. He has two assistants who live at his studio (on mats they roll out to sleep) and do most of the labour. I bought some small, intricate bead work pieces and he very generously gave me one of his prints. A nice memory of Bangladesh. 

Babu in his studio


Babu's studio assistants

I spent quite a bit of time with the Britto artists, looking at their work and talking about how they live as artists. They are all very keen to get exposure outside Bangladesh, and at the moment many of them are pursuing video art as a way of sending work  abroad. Again, some of the most interesting sculptural work they have made for them by local craftsmen. Lipi did a childrens’ workshop/exhibition while I was there for which she had large aluminium cubes made and painted by a team of workers. 

As for my own work, I have many drawings but little new work so far, which worries me a bit but I found the pace, noise and overload of new sights and sounds meant it was enough to just document. I did make a piece which I gave to Britto when I left. I made it from the tiny crucibles used to melt gold, and a bengali school story book, mounted on one of the paper trays they use for weddings/gifts etc. Am not sure what Britto made of it, but felt better for having made something. Will play more on return. 



Gift (detail)


Did have a great time playing with foam shapes all over the bedroom doors and rolls of shola. Nothing worthwhile but was fun at the time. 

Playing with party patterns


Shola and newspaper scrolls


India now. Will see what happens……


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