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Remember those good old days when you used to draw? Sitting on your knees, bending over your favourite art book, crayons scattered all around, delving into a world of your own? Remember those amateur drawings? May be some are still hanging on your walls with your signature right at the corner. Those with a thatched hut, banana trees (only the leaves visible from behind the hut!), a river with a boat, the descending sun and flying birds? Then came the days when you had to give up 'aka aki' (drawing) for a more serious affair, 'porashona' (studies). Sigh!
However, what happens when one decides to take a more academic approach to drawing, creating figures and colours?
In this rapidly changing society, Fine Arts has evolved as an area of study that has become a popular choice amongst the youth. A range of opportunities has opened up for the young artists to pursue a career and meet other creative minds. Generally, a degree in Fine Arts include departments like, Drawing and Painting, Printmaking, Graphics Design, Oriental Art, Sculpture, Ceramic, Crafts, History of Art etc. Abdul Baten Sohel, a Senior Visualiser at Grey Advertising Bangladesh Ltd, completed his graduation from the Department of Graphic Design and Multimedia at Shanto-Mariam University of Creative Technology in 2009. He says, "The best thing about studying Graphic Design is that you do not necessarily need to depend on one job. Through freelancing you can create your own market and earn quite well. Moreover, these days, a lot of business can be done online. Clients can order online and you can make your own identity. Young people can start with their friends and acquaintances and, eventually, one will find many clients. One can work on designing cards, logos, calendars, pattern making and much more with these skills."
Touhin Hasan is a freelance artist who has weaved his path to success and has set examples for many young artists. After graduating from the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Development Alternatives (UODA) in 2007. He started working as a freelancer and today owns his own art studio. As a professional Graphic Designer he designs mainly T-shirts, book covers, album covers etc. "At one point, while freelancing, I realised that the number of my clients were increasing and so I was inspired to established Touhin's Cave, which is my own art studio." For the past two years, Touhin worked with Laser Vision and last year won the 7th Citycell-Channel i Music Awards for best album cover.
While the seniors are riding on the road to success, the current students are not lagging behind either. Anika Mariam Ahmed, a student in her third year at the Faculty of Fine Arts (popularly known as Charukala), University of Dhaka, started an online boutique -- Orange Theory -- on Facebook in April this year. With her unique hand painted fatuas, kameezes, and out-of-the-box jewelleries she has already won the hearts of many young fashion fanatics. "With the help of my sister and friends, I started the boutique and within a very short time, experienced a tremendous response from people. This online business is convenient and cost-saving as I do not have to rent a place and bear other expenses." As for future endeavors, Anika wants to be a painter and establish her own jewellery store.
Raffles Institute of Higher Education, previously known as Raffles Design Institute, is a unique education institute in Dhaka which blends fashion design and its commercial aspects through an array of subjects like Fashion Design, Visual Communication (Graphic Design), Fashion Marketing and Management and other subjects. Musarrat Rahman, a second year student majoring in Fashion Design at Raffles, looks after the graphics and layout of a fashion magazine called Gloss. "As we are taught the basics of graphic design at the very beginning of our curriculum, we are able to work in different areas, in spite of having a particular major." Another student from the same department, Rima Naz (Ezmat) is in her first year. Alongside studying, she takes orders through facebook for designing dresses. "By studying Fashion Design, you have numerous options to take up as a career -- designer, fashion entrepreneur, pattern maker, fashion photographer, merchandiser, fashion consultant, fashion event manager and so on. It is a booming industry right now. I want to work as a fashion designer and I don't want to limit myself to a particular genre. I want to design everything, from traditional to western, from men's wear to women's wear."
On a different note, Sadatuddin Ahmed Amil, Cartoonist of The Daily Star states, "I feel that every student of Charukala comes with a desire to grow as an independent artist. I got admitted there with the same aspiration. However, in a poor country like ours it is a bit difficult to pursue this dream. Being an artist means to create something and then earning through the creation, in simple words, selling your creations. The signatures of Fine Arts students are visible at every corner of the society nowadays. Set design, web page design, cyber games design, interior design, illustration of billboards, newspapers, magazines, art direction of plays and cinemas, everything is related to fine art," continues Sadat. He adds, "Some people think that one does not need to study much at Charukala, which is not exactly true. Moreover, studying Fine Arts can turn out to be a little more expensive compared to other subjects, so one should work hard to get the best results." Currently, Sadat is doing his Masters at Charukala.
Now, let's have an overview of the fashion industry in Bangladesh which is highly dominated by the Fine Arts students. Being one of the pioneers of Bangladeshi fashion today, Aneela Haque, CEO of AnDes Ltd (ANeela's DESign) is an idol to many who dream to stand out as successful professionals in the field of fashion design. "AnDes Ltd was born in May 29, 1995. I was a freelance graphic designer from 1991 to 1994.
I studied four years at Stephen College, Missouri, USA, and then went to Parsons School of Design, Paris, to enhance my graphic skills. My focus was mixed-media, painting, photography and graphic design," states Haque. "Our fashion industry has two sides-- one, garment industries: manufacturing international brands which are a lion share of our economy creating jobs for billions. Two, a very small but thriving sector: creative art fashion designers. But many are importing clothes from abroad and calling them boutiques. The word 'boutique' has been misused without knowing its actual meaning," continues Haque. She suggests, "Bangladesh has good schools like BGMEA, Shanto-Mariam, Design Inspirations and others. I have judged student shows in these schools. There are big time opportunities in garment industries for fashion merchandising, mostly because all global giants of fashion brands are manufacturing in Bangladesh for cheap labour. They need smart creative people." "Fashion is becoming a light matter nowadays. It is high time people start promoting our history, heritage and roots through fashion. It took me four years to start a company of my own with small savings. I never had partners but ran my show with a team who I trained over the years. So if you have a drive in life you can achieve any career," says the ever optimistic Aneela Haque.
Besides the above mentioned institutes, there are other institutions offering certificate courses and diplomas on Fine Arts and Design, like Incrux School of Design and Bangladesh Academy of Fine Arts Ltd (BAFA). So if you have realised that an honest compassion for art lies in your heart, then just move with it! Choose the track that you love and enjoy as you have a bright prospect ahead of you! With a positive attitude, perseverance and indomitable spirit you can create wonders!