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Wakilur Rahman Wakilur Rahman Wakilur Rahman

Christinenstr. 22
10119 Berlin, Germany
Tel. +49 (0)30 - 4494982

Isländische Str. 2B
10439 Berlin, Prenzlauerberg

Bangladesh Address
4/1 Lalmatia Liberty
3/8 Kazi Nazrul Islam Road
Lalmatia, Dhaka, Bangladesh

1961 born in Bangladesh


1976-1981 B.F.A. at Dhaka Art College, Dhaka, Bangladesh
1984-1986 M.F.A. at Central Academy of Fine Arts Peking, P.R. of China
since 1988 living in Berlin


1989 Honourable Mention, Annual International Exhibition of Miniature Art, Toronto, Canada
1994 First Prize in Graphic Media, National Young Artists' Exhibition, Dhaka, Bangladesh
1995 Honourable Mention, Norwegian International Print Triennale, Fredrikstad, Norway
1996 Third Prize, Agricola-Preis für Kunst und Wissenschaft, Glauchau, Germany
Young Artist 1996, National Young Artists' Exhibition, Bangladesh
Best Award, National Exhibition, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Solo exhibitions (selection)

1991 Galerie am Prater, Berlin
1992 Galerie de l'Alliance Française Dhaka, Bangladesh. Galerie Zunge, Berlin
1994 Goethe-Institut Dhaka, Bangladesh. Galerie im Pferdestall, Berlin (with Susanne Rast and Martin Wilke)
1995 Zainul Gallery, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Galerie D19, Chemnitz
1997 Indian Cultural Centre Gallery, Dhaka, Bangladesh
1998 Sharaknama, Liberation War Museum, Dhaka, Bangladesh
1999 Galerie Himmelreich, Magdeburg (with Kerstin Gürke)
2000 Studio Bildende Kunst, Berlin
2001 Goethe-Institut Dhaka, Bangladesh
2002 Villa Oppenheim, Berlin. Galerie F92, Berlin
2003 Gallery Chitrak, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Staedtische Galerie Eisenhuettenstadt
Galerie GLUECK21, Berlin
2004 Strandhalle Ahrenshoop (with Eberhard Hartwig). Galerie Ostpol, Berlin (with Simon Neidhard)
Galerie Abadi, Berlin (with Jürgen Kellig)
2005 Galerie de l'Alliance Française Dhaka, Bangladesh
2006 Galerie 100, Berlin (with Stefan Friedemann)
2007- Shilpangan Contemporary Art Gallery, Dhaka, Bangladesh
2009-2010 'Written Image' Gallery Kaya, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
2010 'In the Shade of Paper', Bangladesh National Museum, Dhaka, (With Dhali Al Mamoon)
2010 'Books you can read!', Dhaka Art Center, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
2012 'Reading Images', Bengal Art Lounge, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Participations in exhibitions (selection)

1995 Bangladesh - Andere Bilder, Kunstforum in der Grundkreditbank, Berlin
1996 Maloka, documenta-Halle, Kassel
Küchengeister, Galerie am Körnerpark, Berlin
Ein Hauch von Sicherheit - Inszenierung eines öffentlichen und privaten Gefühls, project exhibition at University of Arts, Berlin
2004 ZwischenWelten, 48 hours Neukölln, Berlin
Workshop and exhibition, Dhaka, Bangladesh
� graveurs du Bangladesh“, Atelier Lacouriere, Paris
2006 Kunst und Umwelt, Städtische Galerie Wollhalle, Güstrow
2011 Asia House, London, UK.
2011 Gallery T27, Berlin, Germany.
2011 New York, Washington DC, USA.

Since 1991 participating in international fairs, biennals and triennals in Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cuba, France, Germany, India, Japan, Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Taiwan, and United Arab Emirates

News Link at newspaper

Avant-garde Art in Old Dhaka
by Akram Hosen Mamun

The Daily Star, Friday, May 13, 2011

A recent exhibition of installations, titled 'Longitude Latitude 4', showcased at Beauty Boarding, on Sirish Das Lane, in Old Dhaka featured the works of contemporary artists. The choice of the venue, by a dingy lane, may seem a little unusual to many. But the group of artistes who put together the event wanted "an art happening at Beauty Boarding." The term "happenings" was coined by American painter Allan Kaprow in the late 1950s and his counter cultural, interactive works shaped much of the course of late 20th century art. In his views, the distinction or hierarchy between artists and viewers are superfluous and viewers' reaction determines the art piece, making each "happening" a unique experience. Blurring the lines among different genres, the installations usually involve different mediums of art at a single event.

Walking into the age-old premises of Beauty Boarding, one could hear the voices of opera legends Enrico Caruso and Maria Callas. Ronni Ahmed's fairly large installation, titled “The golden days of the golden nights...” was set at the yard. The blackened bamboo structure, holding a lot of objects, wrapped up in flashy golden paper created a spectacular effect by echoing the yellowish distemper of the surrounding building. Back in '60s and '70s, most of the progressive writers and thinkers of our country used to hang out in this area. “The golden days of the golden nights....” reflected the spirit of that period, according to the artist. Nostalgia and retro (without arguing for a possible future) are some of the many defining characteristics of post-modernism. Like some of his earlier works, this one was also post-modern in essence.

Wakilur Rahman's installation was brilliant in its artistic endeavour to represent the memories of the numerous boarders of this place. He put worn-out clothes, toothbrushes, old suitcases, cheap cosmetics and a lot of everyday objects and accessories that invoke the image of working class people who stayed in the room over the decades. Letters written on postcards -- hung in the air over the bed, gave the whole set up a human touch. However, the refined language in many of the letters, and the postcards suggested a taste and sensitivity that seemed rather inconsistent with the overall theme and intended effect of the installation.

Samsul Alam Helal's series of photographs, titled “Hijra”, was displayed in a newly painted room with a flashy green ceiling. The glittery clothing of the hijra (eunuch) in the photos could not have been a better match for the setting. Alam's work could also have become an effective artistic resistance against the dehumanisation of transgender individuals in our culture, had it attempted to provide an insight into the transgender community, rather than sensualising them.

Digital prints on the second floor had a strong anti-war message alluding to the conflicts that shaped the history of 20th century and also the ongoing wars around the world.

Filmmaker Yasmin Kabir screened her “Last Rite”, a documentary on the ship-breaking industry of Bangladesh and its negative impact on the environment and the workers.

Dia Alam and Arfan Ahmed's works were among the many other installations at the exhibition.

Moving Images 9, A testament to the Bangladeshi art revolution
by Nazia Andaleeb Preema

The Daily Star, Friday, October 7, 2011

“Moving Images 9” is an exclusive preview of contemporary art by nine groundbreaking Bangladeshi-born artists. The show illustrates a silent revolution taking place in Bangladesh -- a revolution in the exploration of newer forms of art -- and is running from October 6 to 9 at the Saffronart Gallery in Fuller Building on Madison Avenue, New York, and will also be shown in Washington DC.

The exhibition is an initiative of Art Bangladesh and is being fully commissioned by Bangladesh Brand Forum (BBF) on the occasion of “Meet Bangladesh: Asia's Next Big Opportunity”, a business and investment conference to facilitate communication between prospective American investors and leading Bangladeshi business houses.

Why “Moving Images 9”?

As the BBF advisor, it was my idea to have an art exhibition as the closing ceremony of “Meet Bangladesh”. The idea itself may seem counter-intuitive at first, but has a strong underlying reason.

When art flourishes in a region, it essentially indicates improvement in the quality of the social and economic lives of the people. History has witnessed and validated this notion many a time, the Italian Renaissance being the strongest example.

Arts investment can also play a vital role in the economy by fuelling creative industries and by being central to tourism (for example, in countries like France). In Britain, between 1997 and 2006, the creative economy grew faster than any other sector, accounting for 2 million jobs and £16.6 billion of exports in 2007.

Today, Bangladesh has a community of hundreds of artists who are vibrant in their own methods after having explored the myriad of styles originating from various parts of the world. Not only that, the contemporary artists of Bangladesh have successfully experimented with techniques of abstract art and equally excelled in the field of digital and other forms of modern and new media art. They are growing significantly and emerging globally.

Hence, even a brief glimpse of contemporary Bangladeshi art shows that we have come a long way, and Bangladesh is certainly more than just poverty, floods, and political instability. It is a land of vibrant culture and breathtaking talent, dynamism, and creativity.

Moreover, since BBF has embarked on its journey to uphold a positive image of Bangladesh and create its unique brand, projecting the aesthetic aspects of our country through art can give the world an idea of our strong identity and enormous potential.

“Moving Images 9” features nine dynamic contemporary artists of Bangladesh who have embraced the ideology that art is no longer static -- that art is now more than just painting.

“The Metamorphosis and Physical Existence” series of Bishwajit Goswami addresses our inability to look beyond the surface, to the human being inside, questioning the values of conventional society.

Printmaker Md. Anisuzzaman presents his latest series, titled “Complexity”, which reflects the unplanned development of the cities, especially the capital Dhaka.

Based in Berlin for the last 22 years, Wakilur Rahman has nevertheless been quite active in the local art scene with his novel ideas. His photography project, “Mindscape”, highlights what's popular among the coming generation in our globalised market scenario.

Ashraful Hasan's project “Tree-man, Newspaper and Brick” interrogates the relationship between man and nature in the light of nature being destroyed indiscriminately by industrialisation and urbanisation.

Naeem Mohaiemen is a visual artist, working in Dhaka and New York. The exhibition features his video installation, “Der Weisse Engel”. Based on scenes and music from the film version of William Goldman's book, “Marathon Man”, the piece stages an accidental encounter between a Nazi tormentor and a Holocaust survivor many years after their first meeting in the camps.

My work asserts that being a woman in a society like ours is a constant struggle between the inner identity and outer personality. Centralised on this theme, “Marry My Egg” and “Stare Continues” are my two video art projects at the exhibition. I've also curated “Moving Images 9”.

Ashim Halder, the youngest featured artist, brings us the marvelous Japanese art form, Raku. Raku, meaning delight or joyful, is a traditional Japanese art form with roots in ceramics.

Kazi Sayed Ahmed finds aesthetic delight in working with natural elements of truth and he believes his work represents the human tendency of questioning the conventional. The exhibition showcases works from his “Reconstruction” series.

Khaled Mahmud believes that an image has a life beyond its use value; after it has served its purpose there is an afterlife for us to discover. Vintage images, especially culled from the popular movies, acquire different meaning in different contexts. “Moving Images 9” features his reproduced posters of movies “Moner Manush” and “Shareng Bou”.

Art, culture and heritage are the softer aspects of our existence and they shape the unique characteristics that a nation accumulates over the years. “Moving Images 9” portrays the new dynamism that Bangladeshi art possesses. It gives an indication of our potential, our open minds, our inspirations and aspirations.

This initiative of BBF to showcase Bangladesh and its art will eventually take our art to great museums around the globe, projecting the trends in Bangladeshi art and most importantly Brand Bangladesh in a manner they truly deserve.

Cultural Fast Food
Nazir Hossain speaks to artist Wakilur Rahman at his first photography exhibition

The Independent, Thursday, 03 May 2012

Kitsch, debuting at the German art markets in the 1860s, was initially disregarded as an art form; only pieces that were thought of as substandard, tasteless copies of an existing style of art would be referred to as ‘kitsch’, a term used to insult rather than praise. Art was supposed to be beyond the means of the ordinary, away from the reach of the masses – it was meant for the exclusive pleasure and understanding of the elite. Kitsch was a source of pleasure for a mass audience and seen as a creation that was indistinctive and unoriginal, as it followed the collective norm and was a source of complete amusement as opposed to the grand insight generated by ‘true’ art.

However, with the turn of the century and with the advent of Postmodernism in the 1980s, kitsch began to be as highly valued for its distinctiveness as other high art forms. With a blurring of the binaries that separated art as the property of a sole class, kitsch art began to represent the irony and pastiche of the society, in a humorous and unpretentious way. The words of philosopher Tomas Kulka would best describe the influence and popularity of this cultural form as he once said, “If works of art were judged democratically- that is, according to how many people like them- kitsch would easily defeat all its competitors.”

Bangladeshi artist Wakilur Rahman aimed to show how “despite its acquired-taste aesthetics and concerns regarding low-priced, crude imitations” kitsch is making a comeback in the global markets, at his recent photography exhibition titled ‘Cultural Fast Food’, which was inaugurated at the Dhaka Art Centre on April 25 and went on to April 30. The artist shared his perceptions on the exhibition, his thoughts on kitsch and much more with DhakaLive.

What is the significance of the title of this exhibition?
I think it is clear that the title indicates culture, a culture of fast food. Fast food is a production of an industrial society. Whether for globalisation, or the procedure of its packaging, or the marketing, fast food is very popular for the young generation all over the world. Everybody knows fast food is not in the least hygienic. Now and then, we often consume many things like fast food and we consume it without thinking anything. If we think about it on a long term basis, we will find it’s not good for health, and I meant to address that particular culture through my work, which has the disposable, factory-processed characteristic of fast food. This is the reason why I called the exhibition ‘Cultural Fast Food’.

What themes are taken as the subject for this exhibition and why?
I start by telling about kid’s toys. If we look at today’s toys versus those what we liked to have when we played, there used to be few things made by us, things made of mud, and folk materials which resulted through long traditional art production, people who made those things had their touch on the toys. When those materials were broken down, we bought more. And these toys carried the touch of art and culture of particular areas. But today’s kids are growing with and also playing with synthetic, plastic toys that are very shiny and glossy. These toys are very cheap and produced in China or some other places, and most of the kids all over the world are growing with almost the same toys.  I believe these aspects affect in our mind’s landscape on a long term basis. These small kids understand nothing about it, rather they do not feel any appeal for any toys. So they do not have any objection to abandon these light and cheap toys and their parents can buy these things again and again. In our everyday life, we often use many things and we digest many cultures like these cheap toys, and for the time being, we feel attached for a while and then we forget them. There are some photographs about photo framing shops where people take their favourite photos of heroes and heroines of film, political leaders etc for framing. But this is very rare that someone would take any photo of litterateurs or scientists for framing – which is also very absurd and pathetic. I also have pictures of a marriage ceremony; these days it is common to use very expensive and foreign materials to decorate the venue and also spend a huge amount of money at weddings. There are pictures of artificial jewelry, flowers made by cloth and plastic; it’s like we do not feel any real flowers or things in our modern life. Artificial things take over the places of real things – which are really a crisis for our society.

Where did you take these photos? Please tell us about the places and your experience.
I have taken 80% of the photos at home and the other photos are taken in different places abroad like Germany, Greece and Cyprus. But it is not possible to identify which pictures are from our country and which are taken abroad. And this is interesting -  just like fast food culture in the era of globalization, where everything seems same and looks alike. Mcdonalds, KFC are available in our country just like other places of the world. This fast food culture destroys our cultural diversity which is threat for the civilisation.

What is the message you have for the visitors to this exhibition?
I have two messages to pass through this exhibition. Firstly, I have tried to experiment with photographic technique, how the technique creates art in photography.
We know photography plays a vital role in journalism, documentary, fashion and advertising and I tried to practice and discover where the art is in all these strong mediums. We still have a doubtful situation in our native cultural arena with this technique and I tried to pass on this message here. Secondly, I wanted to show the life where we are growing up with pop culture fun and humor.


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