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The Queer Quest For ‘Subodh’

Morshedul Alam Mohabat   

25 October, 2017 16:53 PM



The Queer Quest For ‘Subodh’

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‘Subodh’, a mysterious graffiti character, has made headlines and created quite a stir on social networking sites in the last few months. The graffiti of ‘Subodh’ are often accompanied by some thought- provoking texts and a sun inside a cage.

These graffiti definitely express some kind of connotative meaning. Though graffiti art is not so popular in Bangladesh, it is much acclaimed in other countries of the world. In fact, this form of art can be used as a powerful tool to convey messages.

1

Through the graffiti the artist asks, “Subodh, when will the dawn come?” Subodh is seen holding a cage with the sun locked inside it and talking to a young girl. What does this piece of graffiti mean? Three things are important here – the text, the sun inside the cage and the young girl. The first thing to consider here is the sun that symbolizes ‘hope’. Interestingly that sense of hope (sun) is not possible as it is locked inside the cage. An invisible force is obstructing its (sun) movement, consequently forcing a gloomy situation. So, the graffiti character ‘Subodh’ is talking to the young girl who represents the power of youth. Only youths are capable of bringing about some revolutionary changes in our society. So, most probably depressed ‘Subodh’ gets some glimpses of hope among the youths. But the question is - will there be renaissance? The artist asks ‘Subodh’ when will the dawn that signifies a new beginning come? Some kind of connotative confusion is also found such as will it really come?  

2


In another piece of graffiti the artist says, “Subodh, run away, time is not in your favour now; humans have forgotten how to love.” Through this one the artist is suggesting ‘Subodh’ to abscond owing to the fact that the time is not appropriate for the character and people are no more loving. The artist may have strived hard to portray the prevailing socio-economic scenario of our country. To be frank, time is not on any of our side (with a few exceptions) now. Everything happening around us does not seem to be always ethical and reasonable. Soaring price of daily essentials is making it hard for the lower and middle-class people to earn their bread and butter; corruption in the government offices is taking a heavy toll on the service seekers; deteriorating situation of law and order is making all living in the society fed up with the law enforcement system – all these point to the fact that time is not really favouring us now. And as far as our love for humanity is concerned, this is beyond question that it is nowhere to be found, especially in the perspective of busy modern life. For example- whenever someone encounters an accident, people gather around the spot and start whispering among themselves. In most of the cases, not a single man steps forward to help that moribund man. By the time someone makes an attempt to help a seriously injured man lying on the road, he/she seems to be dead. This single instance is enough to assert that the feeling of humanity is fleeing away from our souls and the notion of philanthropy is getting obsolete.

3

In another graffiti it is written - “Subodh is now in jail! A sense of sinfulness is safely dwelling in people’s hearts.” The very question that comes to our mind after seeing this is ‘why is Subodh imprisoned?’ What does the artist try to convey through this text? The artist may indicate to the turbulent political scene existing in the country. There is no denying the fact that we are going through a transitional period when our political culture is shrinking due to absence of a strong opposition party. Moreover there is not enough space for other political parties (except the ruling party) to put forth their political demands and thoughts before mass people. Under such chaotic circumstances many activists and leaders have been jailed. And even intellectual practice by journalist and writers are not always welcome in the way it is supposed to be in a free country like Bangladesh.

Often journalists are implicated in false cases and sued with a view to harassing them taking undue advantage of Section 57 of the ICT Act. In the meantime mass people are not performing their duties as well because they are not vocal against such oppressions and incongruities of society. Consequently a sense of sinfulness is making them corrupted from inside and they are getting numb gradually. Moreover they are those who are unable to empathize with others. As a result, their own pleasures and desires are of paramount importance. They are selfish, self-absorbed and sadistic. In fact, other people only have value for them to the extent that they can help them satisfy their own desires, or to which they can exploit them. Moreover they can’t sense other people’s suffering, can’t see the world from other people’s perspective and have no sense of other people’s rights. In plain words, we are losing the grip on our social values and going through moral degeneration. 

    

‘Subodh’, a mysterious graffiti character, has made headlines and created quite a stir on social networking sites in the last few months. The graffiti of ‘Subodh’ are often accompanied by some thought-provoking texts and a sun inside a cage.

These graffiti definitely express some kind of connotative meaning. Though graffiti art is not so popular in Bangladesh, it is much acclaimed in other countries of the world. In fact, this form of art can be used as a powerful tool to convey messages.

The graffiti works by ‘HobeKi’ (a term common in all of the graffiti) are examples of stencil graffiti, a form of graffiti that makes use of stencils made out of paper, cardboard, or other media to create an image or text that is easily reproducible. In this method, the image is transferred to a surface through the use of spray paint or roll-on paint.

The initiation of this kind of stencil graffiti began in the 1960s. John Fekner was one of the pioneers who began to showcase his works outdoors.

Later on, Blek le Rat, known as the father of stencil graffiti, started creating graffiti on the streets of Paris in 1981. Many famous graffiti artists including Banksy were heavily influenced by his works.

At the beginning graffiti was simply another form of art but now this form has reached a new height owing to the fact that graffiti are very expressive and can go on to express so many connotative thoughts.

It is also seen as an alternative way of revealing an underlying social or political message. Graffiti are also constantly challenged by the state authorities and controversies are often sparked among people. ‘Subodh’ is no exception in this case. People are talking about it and trying to derive meaning from those painted on the city walls.

Source: Daily Sun


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