DILHARA BEGUM JOLLY | SARDONIC VISUAL COMMENTARY
Dilhara Begum Jolly | Sardonic visual commentary
Dilara Begum Jolly, winning the ‘Bengal Foundation Award‘ in 2002 from the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, is well known for her feminist art who is tackling prevalent gender and sex related social issues of today. She has been selected to participate in Dhaka Art Summit (DAS) 2018. Hosted every two years since 2012, DAS is an international, non-commercial research and exhibition platform of which ARTRA is happy to be the official media partner from Sri Lanka. While re-examining forms of art both regionally and internationally, it has been a significant tool in connecting artists within the South Asian context while promoting them globally.
Jolly, by happenstance began an art career in 1976 at the Government Art College - Chittagong, where she studied painting and printmaking. Although, painting was not a practice that she planned to pursue, it was one that came to her naturally. “Art is a discipline through which I could express my feelings visually, and this excites me” she states.
Jolly pursued a Masters in fine arts, focusing on women’s issues including that of ‘Domination over Women’, ‘Women in Advertisements’ and ‘Women and Politics’. The artist’s inclination towards the stories of women comes from her personal childhood experiences. She says that her reference to the treatment of women developed from her memories of her mother who was a school teacher. Having to endure many hardships alongside the demise of her father, Jolly’s mother brought up her five daughters as a single parent. Jolly recalls her mother constantly reaffirming the fact that that none of her daughters were to be married before their tertiary education. This stemmed the birth of the artist’s core values which she addresses in her collections through varying symbols. “My Mother is a big part of my professional & personal life as I draw my inspiration from her” she shares in admiration.
Although Jolly’s conceptual focus was established, her techniques and work were in a state of transformation in the past few years. While she experimented with the mediums of oil painting and mixed media, the characteristic that maintained itself evidently was her tenacious curiosity and rebellious nature. Her collection, ‘Womb Series’ (2001) questions society’s ignorance in understanding the critical role of women not only in the private domains, but also in the public domains.
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