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Exploring Multiple Dimensions – Fahim Monwar Nazia

“Once a woman approached me with a vial of blood, 40-50 ml of blood in 4 test tubes. It seemed odd to me at first. She asked me to paint a portrait of her lover with blood,” says Fahim Monwar Nazia recalling one of the many people she has encountered on her expeditions as an artist. Raised in Puran Dhaka, the only child encountered her love of art at only 5 years old. Monwar did not know she could dream of becoming an artist, but her love for craft was ever present. She began attending art classes at the cultural institution Kisholoy Kochi-Kachar Mela twice a week at the behest of her mother who believed it would encourage a love for school. Monwar Nazia recently completed her Masters degree in Pharmacy.

Sharing her thoughts on her pursuit of art, “I never dreamt of being an artist, but I always loved art. I used to get a lot of invitations for art competitions from Kisholoy Kochi-Kachar Mela, my mum used to take me to the competitions and I always brought back prizes. In high school I won the Marks Allrounder as a best artist.  I initially took the ‘cha’ unit exam at Jagannath University and I was selected for the charukola program. I was discouraged to pursue art as a career, my father believed I would have a better future in Pharmacy. But during my bachelor’s, I started going into Bulbul Lalitakala Academy of Fine arts and started taking advanced painting lessons from seniors. Recently I have completed my masters in Pharmacy, conducting research in drugs and development but my painting has never stopped.”

The artist’s preferred medium is acrylic on canvas, sometimes delving into water colours as well. Monwar Nazia expressed her enjoyment within trying to understand the human experience, attempting to recreate her vision of these events through her art. “I like to capture the complexity of human emotions through my paintings. I explore the different ways that people express their feelings, and how these feelings are displayed through the expressions on their face. I always want to capture that perfect expression in every one of my portraits. My first book cover painting was of Shohid Noor Hossain, I must say that was my greatest achievement”, says Nazia.

Taking a stroll through her process the artist states, “In the case of human faces, I begin with basic colours, then the edges, defining the shapes. I play with the interaction of light and shadows, blending to fill the outline of the face. I usually love to go with marie’s portrait tone, orange grey, burnt sienna, yellowish grey, naples yellow for skin. For hair I choose burnt umber, raw umber, black and ash. The more the shades I add, the more dynamic it looks.”

Her art has intertwined with the lives and stories of many, bearing witness to many a heartache and beloved stories of separation in reunions. Recounting some of these experiences the painter states, “Once I met a Srilankan man who had been living in Bangladesh for a few years, unable to go see his family. His son had only seen him through video calls since he was born. The man asked me to paint his family. I took four photos from him and painted them together as a family on the canvas. When he got the painting, I saw tears of joy shining in his eyes. Many people message me each day, telling me to paint a father, mother, grandparents, pets who have passed and they don’t have any photos together to remember them by.”

At the moment Fahim Monwar Nazia is working as a freelance painter, taking orders on her page and website ‘Nazialogy’. She has a book cover painting to be released during the upcoming Ekushey Boi Mela. In her spare time, she enjoys experimenting with the female form in her works.

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Zariat Mushfique Khan

A journalist creating a world within the lens of art, fashion, philosophy and corny puns.

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