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A Western Sydney Writers' Festival hosted by NWG Inc and supported by
Parramatta City Council's 2005 Community Grants Scheme

Guest artist - Fida Haq

Fida Haq presented an innovative word-based animation featuring text of NWG Inc writers for our HomeWord Festival panel "Politics In Art". Here we present a very different example of Fida's work (where he uses his own text!)



Time's Up (Ish Kathata Thak Shoi)

Fida Haq, a New Media artist, is in Dhaka, running away from a gang of vicious cyber-criminals who have followed him all the way from Sydney. He is running for his life. While escaping, in his haste he unwittingly enters an auditorium where - just by chance - Rabindranath Tagor's dance-drama Chitrangada is being staged by * Nrityanchal - the dance company that stars Shibli Mohammad and Shamim Ara Nipa - probably the most famous dance artists from Bangladesh.

In the darkness among the tiers, Fida hides himself and brings out his small digital camera to take shots from the dance-drama to tell the story that he has to tell and leave behind - in case the killers get him. He manages doing that by rapidly manipulating the images on his palm-sized mini computer. We do not know what happened to Fida after that, but here is what was retrieved from an abandoned hand-held the next morning inside the auditorium...

Medium: Photomedia Dimension: WxH : 60cm x 150cm
Photo and text by Fida Haq


"Time's Up" - Artist's commentary: This work is based on the dance-drama 'Chitrangada' (1936) by the Bengali Nobel laureate (1913). Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore appropriated 'Chitrangada' from a small episode of Mahabharata involving Arjuna and Chitrangada. But with its take on perception of beauty, self and gender reversal, I have always found Tagore's version to be a very contemporary and intriguing piece. On top of that, I have laid my work out basing it on the narrative genre of Rickshaw art, literally sizing the work to the elongated proportion of the back-panel of Rickshaws. The Bengali name of the work which translates as 'I am too shy to say it, beloved friend' is a palindrome (so far the longest one I've been able to discover) which relates to the symmetry of the piece.

But the work is not just about the things I've mentioned above, it's also a send-off of sorts to people's desire to read too much of secret meanings and symbols in artworks per se. The spiel that goes with the work (see above) is all about taking the mickey out of people who do that including the author of that oh-so-famous 'religious' thriller. And the English name "Time's Up" is a nod to the irreverent sense of Aussie humour where a Westerner - unaware of all these 'deep and meaningful' things happening in the background - might just think the figure at the back (Kuroopa or ugly/boy Chitrangada) is checking time on her wrist-watch and tapping on the male dancer's back (Arjuna trying to express his love to Shuroopa or beautiful Chitrangada) saying 'let's go, time's up'. " Fida Haq

For more examples of Fida's art visit his website.
*UPDATE! The dance group 'Nrityanchal' (translates as 'Dance Zone') have used Time's Up as the cover of their Eid Card this year. Eid is the festival at the end of Ramadan. The group has been invited to perform at Oslo when Professor Yunus of Grameen Bank accepts this year's Nobel Peace Prize.