Artist ColumnFeature

Recollecting Memories through Art – Bipasha Hayat

Written by Naila Binte Zakaria

For years, Bipasha Hayat has mesmerised her fans with her phenomenal acting, writing and singing. Today, we take a glimpse at what is perhaps the lesser known side of her- the painter Bipasha Hayat. Completing her MFA from the Institute of Fine Arts University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, she has been engaged in various forms of visual art and has received immense appreciation for her works. The multi-talented beauty opens up about her visual expressions through art and how her works have evolved over the years.

Instead of working on hyper-realism, I am more interested in capturing the unseen in my canvas.

  1. Did your childhood have an impact on your life as an artist?

The memories of my childhood resonate with me and have created a huge impact on my life as an artist. I think at one point, most people start comprehending how important their childhood was to them. People who are engaged in cultural practices; be it art, literature, music etc, often reflect on their childhood through their artistic expressions. For instance, if you look at the artworks of Artist Marc Chagall, you’ll observe connections between his art and his early life. Similarly, writer Maxim Gorky has reflected on his childhood in many of his novels.

We only realize the significance of our childhood, when certain memories start haunting us and evoke nostalgia. I spent my childhood mostly in Libya. Many of my conceptual artworks are the evocation of the old memories from the days spent there. While growing up in Libya, I was introduced to the Roman civilization through the Roman ruins in different heritage sights and was highly drawn towards it.  I would observe these ruins and it always made me curious about the stories behind each of them and the people who made them. Different ancient civilizations such as the Greek, Egyptian etc kept on intriguing me. It revealed my inquisitive mind, the result of which you will observe in my paintings now.

  1. Why did you decide to study in Fine Arts? Was it a childhood dream or did it just emerge one day?

My interest in art did not emerge overnight. Nature has always inspired me to pursue art. As a child, I used to be fascinated by different colours and shapes. The eye-catching colours of the watermelon, the streamlined shape of a fish or the exquisite patterns in the flower gardens- I would find art in all these mundane little things of life. I remember possessing a few Russian and Chinese books with vibrant illustrations done in watercolour. They would leave me mesmerized!

  1. What was it like studying in Charukola?

Absolutely eye-opening! When I used to study in Charukola, teachers were deemed as teachers, and students were deemed as students. Nowadays, you can’t really tell which is which.

  1. Who has motivated you the most to pursue your passion for art?

My father. It was because of my father that I took admission in Charukola. My mother, in spite of being quite liberal, was a bit hesitant about me studying there. Hence, one day, I decided to take her on a visit to the Charukola campus. She was enthralled by the beautiful environment there, and finally got convinced to get me admitted. Interestingly enough, I stood first in the admission test of Charukola!

  1. You have worn many hats in your career and have succeeded in multiple domains. Which field gives you the most pleasure?

This is an interesting question because as a student, I would often ask myself the same. I consider myself a pedestrian who attempted to set her foot in any field that sparked her interest. I have been acting from time to time, but I enjoy painting now more than ever. While acting and scriptwriting may often pose limitations in terms of expressing oneself, the world of art is infinite.  When I cannot express myself through writing or acting, I do it with art. The subject matters of my writings and acting are often complex and heart-rending; however, my art always reflects on contentment and joy.

  1. In terms of painting, you work with multiple mediums including acrylic, watercolour, installation art etc. Which medium do you prefer the most?

I think I prefer the medium my expression demands at the given time.  In a drama, the form of presentation is determined by its subject. Sometimes there is a linear story and sometimes a non-linear story- it all depends on the subject matter. Similarly, in the case of art, I select mediums that depict my expressions better.  The texture and effects I will get in charcoal will not be the same in watercolour. I let the subject decide the medium.  I have been collecting small stones from different areas for almost seven years now.  I know I will be using them for one of my installation art exhibitions, but I haven’t been able to decide on the subject matter yet.

  1. What is your opinion about the current art scene in Bangladesh?

Very poor. How many art galleries or art supply shops do you see in Bangladesh?  You will find an abundance of clothing stores and luxury item stores, but not many stores cater to the artists. The galleries are closing down because there are no viewers or buyers available. The artists in Bangladesh don’t get the recognition or patronization they require to flourish as professionals. Because of this, many young artistic souls are dying away every day.  In a country where the artists are not even acknowledged well as professionals yet, how can you expect its art scene to be bright? We need to bridge the gap between our cultural practice and our cultural education and build the practice of viewing and appreciating art among people.

  1. Can you share with us the story behind some of your significant artworks?

Instead of working on hyper-realism, I am more interested in capturing the unseen in my canvas. Hence, my artworks comprise of the sensory experiences, the subconscious mind and the memory. My solo exhibition titled “Realms of Memory” was a visualization of the memories that lingered in my mind. I attempted to visualize the colours that came to my mind while thinking of certain memories from my travels and childhood. Nowadays, I’m focusing more on subconscious texts that depict the state of my mind at different times.  I visualize the texts written in my subconscious mind which has an infinite wall hidden in darkness; so they are all written in black.

8. As an artist, do you ever go through an artist block? If so, how do you overcome it?

I go through artist block sometimes! Even while writing, I often go through this. I think the key to overcome it is to keep on going. Even while writing, I often go through this. When I lack motivation, I start preparing canvases and mixing colours. Not only is it therapeutic, but it also helps me to get inspired to start over again.

My artworks comprise of the sensory experiences, the subconscious mind and the memory.

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Naila Binte Zakaria

Lifestyle/Art Journalist who revels in the joy of eating spicy ramen, painting and watching absurdist films.

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