It's a mix of mediums

Manir Mrittik specialises in photo tapestry

The art show In The Realm of Ambivalence at Gallery Akar Prakar in New Delhi was artist Manir Mrittik’s first solo show outside his motherland, Bangladesh. His group show at the India Art Fair earlier this year interested the gallery. Part of quite a few prestigious group shows around the world, including cities like Amsterdam, Bronx and Taipei, Manir experiments with combining digital photography and various other mediums. He uses digital camera to capture the visible light for regular photography and then does a quality addition to the print using other mediums.

Layering

Some of his works are traditional darkroom prints and cyanotypes on which he adds gold leaf. Others are made using a technique called tapestry that dramatically changes his photographs into pieces of art. Traditionally, fabric is used in tapestry, but Manir uses photographs and archival papers instead. “I use photography and archival papers for tapestry; my primary interest is in creating a dialogue with master painters. Photography is like drawing for me. I can rework to capture invisible light, and I do internal modifications on my camera,” he explains.

In In the Realm of Ambivalence, Manir showcased 40 photographs, each an “aesthetically moving mix of magical realism and surrealism.” And each of his works shows his interest in exploring human beauty not as a solitary piece but as part of the nature. When he is not painting or clicking photographs, Manir is busy gardening. “There is no real line that separates us from nature. We were born from nature, and we live in nature. But strangely, we forget that link sometimes,” he says.


Manir Mrittik

 

Born in 1975 at Narayan Goj, Bangladesh, Manir earned his graduation and postgraduation from the University of Chittagong. Manir says he had it smooth as his family backed his choice. Even today, the atmosphere back home is art-friendly as “my wife Yasmin Jahan is also an artist,” he says.

Reflecting on the show, he says, “The lines and contours of the body tell a story of their own. Sometimes they are like pieces of an organic puzzle fitting together perfectly. Sometimes they carry only half a meaning individually, but the full significance comes into view when they join their reflections. This show was an attempt to bring back focus to the lines. The central idea of my work stems from the notion of the relationship between the body and the soul, material and immaterial, and the physical and spiritual thought processes within me,” he adds.

“Though I am interested in the aura of Western art and classical paintings, my interest is personal as I put myself and my dear ones inside the masterpieces. There is an ambivalence once my mundane life connects to iconic figures. It creates an auratic realm. It is probably an elusive journey or conflicting position towards the known history of art,” he adds.

Back home

“The art scene in Bangladesh is dynamic and growing,” he says, adding, “galleries are very supportive of artists, and we even have art fairs.”

“Artworks can create a certain connection not just between distant lands but also distant times,” he says, and adds, “My intention has always been to make something that I like — a classical image, a surrealistic one, collage-based, psychedelic, impressionistic… I simply follow my instincts and make what I feel.”

“Ages and ages of running after pleasure and instant gratification has dulled our souls. We have traded simplicity for complexity, clean air for smog, and machines for spirit. We have corrupted the soil we tread, the air we breathe, and the water we drink. The consequences are here now, cutting holes into the environment. We need to re-establish the link,” he rues, calling nature and colours his most exciting muses.

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It's a mix of mediums

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