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Depicting Bengal Artistry – Nazneen Meem

“Marrying minimal elements with Bengali aesthetics”, describes her unique, visionary style as such, a young artist has carved a niche for herself by finding solace in the magic of the ordinary. Nazneen Meem, with her artworks, portrays stories of people and their melancholic emotions and is inspired by the solitude and nostalgia of the little mundane of daily life. In the ever-evolving world of art, the artist seamlessly found a balance between her practice with the traditional approach and comfort in digital mediums.

Nazneen embarks on a journey of using art to channel inner feelings that are intrigued by the complexity of the human psyche and emotions. She is an aspiring artist, born and brought up in Sylhet, and is doing her undergraduate degree at the University of Chittagong in fine arts with a major in drawing and painting. With her father as her first mentor and critic, Nazneen continued her passion for painting since her school days.

Her constant doodling and scribbling in notebooks carried her forward toward art competitions where she improved her skill, with the help of her father who supported her with guidance, conceptualizing, and appreciation.

Even though Nazneen enjoys traditional media, she found comfort and more freedom to venture into art using digital media. Self-taught, and amazed by magazine illustrations and animation, working with an iPad in Adobe or Procreate, soothes her soul.  On the other hand, she has been practicing her academics for years and relishes the feelings of life and texture that traditional art presents. Nazneen prefers the use of acrylic due to its versatility and nature of drying quickly which helps her impatience to see her completed work at its full potential. The artist chooses to give time to the concept and layout and enjoys the journey of the process through rough sketches, palettes, and compositions before moving to finalize it on the canvas. She calls her recent favorite painting “Lost in a Puzzle” which portrays the political, religious, and social obstacles in Bangladesh.

She continued her passion beyond academics and works professionally in freelancing. Nazneen works with the client’s requirement and their own vision to prepare drafts and change accordingly. Subsequently, she runs her own business of craft shop named Wooden Dreams where she uses her creativity to capture emotions in hand-painted accessories inspired by the cultural, nostalgic aesthetics of Bengal. The concept of reminiscing childhood, traditions, and places that root us to being Bangali was a successful venture proven by the excitement for the calendar. It showcased not only vibrant festivities, and natural serenity in Bangladesh but also the sentiments of finding sewing kits in a biscuit box and the romance of khichuri, cha, and shingara in the rain.

As an artist, who is working both academically and professionally, Nazneen struggled with the availability of art supplies in the country. She pointed out how the limited supply and the consequent overpriced products put constraints on an artist’s creativity, and moreover also risks the future of many artists because of unaffordability.  Nazneen also expressed disappointment in art being controlled by the elite of society at present where capitalism deforms art with restraints of satisfying particular tastes and gaining the approval of the upper class.

“Some artists feel pressured to create work that sells well rather than exploring their own unique visions. I think working for your own self is most important”, Nazneen expresses.

The artist prioritizes finding joy in the process and listening to her own heart rather than commercializing the art. She encourages other artists to be authentic and true to their own style, grow with their mistakes, and understand the fine line between inspiration and copying. Most importantly, she suggests, working on art that gives happiness. With her academic and professional artworks and also craft in Wooden Dreams, Nazneen Meem’s artistry is a symphony that transcends the boundaries of time that evokes the nostalgia of our past, and captures the emotions in the present while portraying the beauty that lies in the moments we often take for granted. She continues her journey as an artist, learning new skills and experimenting with concepts of faded memory.

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Ferdoushi Hossain Suhi

An aspiring architect with a passion for travelling and reading , relishes in the taste of ice-cream and a chat over a cup of coffee, finding way of expression through the art of writing.

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