Firoz Mahmud stands with Layapa Stencil painting
The fortnight long Layapa Stencil paintings exhibition of Firoz Mahmud titled ‘Reverberation’ ended on Saturday at the Abinta Gallery of Fine Arts Dhaka with his continued exploration of history, narratives, myth, and belief with his unique stencil techniques oil painting on asymmetrical shaped canvases and rough-hewn edged heterogeneous media based work on paper. Said a press release.
The works have quondam roots as storytelling and artistic devices, and most of Firoz’s works have traditional fables or narrativity with varied techniques and materials used. In his paintings and paper works Firoz uses idioms of backstories—such as old palace, fort, mansion, spice tree or herbaceous plant, tiger or skeleton of tiger, owl and symbolic shape of owls, blessing of the fairy, citizens, colonial trade and more. He revived links of British Raj-era, 1905’s Partition of Bengal, East Pakistan Era and connection of independent Bangladesh with his own signature style.
Firoz has been creating Layapa Stencil painting on uneven canvas, which he calls `Layapa Art [stencil painting]`. He initiated this technique during his research program at Rijksakademie VBK in Amsterdam in 2003/04. The ‘Layapa’ is a Bengali word that means anoint or plaster. ‘Layapa’ is the term he uses for applying paint on canvas or on objects in a manner used for anointing or plastering by women on clay hut in rural Bangladesh.
Initially color of Layapa painting was predominantly raw green color, which he painted on canvas and installation objects. Though in recent years he uses multiple colors in his paintings. Two of his remarkable green painted works are families with green eyeglass project titled ‘Soaked Dream’ which he has been creating and exhibiting globally on emerging, refugee and migrant families and another project is ‘Halcyon Tarp’ installation exhibited at Sharjah Biennale in UAE.
Bangladeshi artist Firoz Mahmud was born in Khulna and now based in New York. He has been one of the significant contemporary artists from Bangladesh for his large-scale artworks and long running art series of paintings for last few years. He was a fellow researcher artist at Rijksakademie VB Kunsten, Amsterdam, and achieved PhD from the Tokyo University of Arts, MFA from Tama Art University and a MFA and BFA from Dhaka University.