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This article by Pat Summers published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on
November 3, 1999. All rights reserved.
East (Pakistan) meets West
Bangladesh? On the map, it’s to the right of the
subcontinent, above the Bay of Bengal. Formerly part of Bengal, it
became East Pakistan when India achieved independence in 1947. After
civil war with West Pakistan in 1971, Bangladesh formed a separate
nation, with Dacca (or Dhaka) as its capital and largest city. It
is in the same latitude as Egypt, south Florida, and the Gulf of
and its current population is about 126 million. It’s a long, long
way from exotic-sounding, tropical Bangladesh to a suburban,
street in West Windsor, New Jersey, and it’s even longer with an
stopover in Colorado.
Painter Zakia (Za-KEY-a) Aziz Sayed, described as "Bangladesh’s
most prominent contemporary woman artist," has come that distance.
And now, a wife, mother and area resident, she is poised to make her
East Coast debut as an artist. Starting Saturday, November 6, Sayed
will exhibit her oils, watercolors, and mixed media works at the West
Windsor Library Lobby Gallery. Although large, expressionistic
street scenes, domestic scenes, and portraits predominate, some of
Sayed’s images of Native Americans — drawn from memories and
of her sojourn in Fort Collins and Denver — will also be on view.
Painting these scenes from the American West, she says, caused her
to move away from the blue and green tones that are "her natural
choices" to warmer shades. So the colorful garb and jewelry of
American Indians are shown with a predictably bright palette that
is softened through somewhat abstracted shapes in thin paint layers.
Even in her portrait paintings, Sayed conveys posture, body language,
and clothes, though not facial details. A mixed-media portrait of
a young girl, in watercolor, colored pencil and pastel — or
as she liltingly puts it in her animated English — is the
a finely wrought picture of a young woman with long, light hair and
For a recent interview at her home, Sayed dressed in traditional
style: a soft, green-toned "shalwar kamiz" that included a
shawl and pants, with her bare feel in sandals. Her dark and wavy
shoulder-length hair was pulled back, showing jeweled earrings and
a sparkling nose stud. She may be petite, but her smile is far from
that, and she speaks in a bubblingly confident manner.
Born in Pakistan in 1958, Sayed was the third of five children. Her
homemaker mother raised the family, while her father was in charge
of ground training for pilots with the country’s airline. The family
moved to Bangladesh in 1973. Although she was academically successful,
she eschewed the science and technology paths toward medicine and
engineering ("I thought, `This is very boring.’"), opting
instead to study at the Institute of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka,
Bangladesh. Her experience there provided the first formal art study
for the young woman.
"I was the one who used to draw, also making some kind of crafts
when I would have time. On my own I would get some clay from the
— if it was available in the market to be used, I didn’t know
because in my family nobody was an artist."
One of few women in the Institute program, she studied in the
of painting and drawing, and was first in her class by the time she
earned a BFA in 1978. She remembers the college as "very modern,
with instructors from all over the world, and just like colleges
When by popular demand the institute developed a master’s program,
Sayed was ready. She had tried the workaday world: "I started
to work for two months. It was commercial, and I said no, this is
not for me. I knew I’m not happy there. Since morning till evening,
making some sort of design." Her dip into commercial art convinced
her that fine art was where she wanted to be, so she returned to the
Institute, earning one of the earliest MFAs it awarded, in 1983.
Even before finishing her graduate program, Sayed had
her first solo exhibition, a notably successful one, in Vienna,
where two of her siblings then lived. There, she showed the village
scenes, landscapes, and portraits that characterize her work and
a sense of her country’s culture. Although over time she has moved
from darker, textured canvases to lighter tones in thinner layers,
her subjects are essentially unchanging.
She has "always been fascinated by the beauty of the
she says, recalling childhood train trips to her grandparents’ village
and "the green landscape!" That affinity with nature, coupled
with her sympathy for Bangladesh’s working class people — "80
percent of the people are poor, so poor" — helps explain the
popularity of her paintings, which sell out each time she revisits
southern Asia, something she may do again as soon as next summer.
When she married Sayed Ahmed in 1986, Zakia appended his first name
to her full name for her "nom de brush." Ahmed is a
with Cyanamid, and the couple’s son and daughter, Rayyan, 11, and
Sabaha, 9, Ahmed, attend West Windsor’s Upper Elementary School. Now,
while she hopes the library exhibition will lead to area gallery
for her work, Sayed still does the traditional wife, mother, and
things before getting to her painting. And, as she is multi-lingual,
she also cooks in a few cuisines — Bangladeshi, Indian, and that
familiar local specialty, busy-family food.
After about a year in West Windsor, Sayed gives thought to the here
and now. Where can she show her work? How should she price it? How
does she break into the art scene, as she did during the time she
lived in Colorado — even with time out for visits to Bangladesh?
Committed to two very different parts of the world, she’s juggling,
balancing. Her debut at the library gallery signals the start of her
New Jersey art career — one, she must hope, that will win her
a level of acclaim comparable to her artistic celebrity in Bangladesh.
— Pat Summers
Post Road, Princeton Junction, 609-799-0462. In the library’s lobby
gallery, an opening reception, slide show, and discussion with Zakia
Sayed, one of Bangladesh’s best-known artists. Show continues to
30. Free. Saturday, November 6, 2 to 4 p.m.
Illustrators," a show featuring several national children’s
events, original illustrations, and prints by seven children’s book
illustrators. Artists represented are Dyanne Di Salvo Ryan, Caldecott
Medalist John Shoenherr, Thomas Sperling, Karel Hayes, Ponder Goembel,
Charles Santore, and Michael Dooling. To November 11.
609-799-6706. Group show featuring Inga Shteinberg, David Thurlow,
Maina Kalinovsky, Apo Torosyan, and Sydney Neuwirth. Gallery hours
are Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 7
p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
watercolors by the Russian-born illustrator Gennady Spirin from his
new picture book, "Jack and the Beanstalk," re-told by
author Ann Beneduce. To November 30. Gallery hours are Tuesday to
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and by appointment.
Pastels art show by Kathy Shumway-Tunney, to November 18. In the
Unit Library, landscapes and house portraits by Betty Hirschmann,
to December 9. Part of proceeds benefit the medical center. Open 8
a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
609-683-8092. Showing works by area artists Patrice Sprovieri, Wayne
Mathisen, Annelies van Dommelen, and Susan Setteducato. Also
Hsu Dan, Tom Chesar, Larry Chestnut, Calvin Hart, Clem Fiori, Leslie
Neumeyer, Leyla Spencer, Janet Landau, Jacob Landau, Ellyn Gerberding,
and Marge Levine. Also posters and limited edition etchings,
and serigraphs. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday to 9 p.m.;
and Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Road, 609-924-6700. Lore Lindenfeld’s, "A Journey in Fiber Art:
Design at Black Mountain College and Beyond." A small
that spans four phases of the fiber artist’s career: from design and
color studies for courses taught by Josef and Anni Albers at Black
Mountain College to Lindenfeld’s work in the fashion industry. More
recent works include woven wall pieces and multimedia fiber
To November 19.
Thomas George, a recent series of abstactions in oil and watercolor.
Show runs to November 20. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11
a.m. to 5 p.m. Website at http://www.wmgallery.com.
"From the beginning, mountain landscape, the sea and the sky have
been the primary sources for my abstract paintings," says the
internationally-recognized artist. "The color and structure in
these works come out of studies done from nature in places as diverse
as Norway, China, and the United States. The canvases in this
are a further step along a road fueled by a preoccupation with the
natural landscape which for me lengthens and grows with the
Gala Exhibition," the annual exhibition of work by area artists
and supporters for its gala auction set for November 6. Gallery hours
are Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 4 p.m.
609-586-0616. Fall-Winter Exhibition. In the Museum and Domestic Arts
Building, "Beverly Pepper," one-artist show. On the mezzanine,
a thematic photography show, "Focus on Sculpture." Shows
to April 16, 2000. Gallery hours are Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m.
to 4 p.m.
New additions to the 22-acre landscaped sculpture park include works
by Michele Oka Doner, David Hostetler, J. Seward Johnson Jr.,
Leiro, John Martini, and Joseph Menna. The park is on the former state
fairgrounds site, with indoor exhibitions in the glass-walled, 10,000
square foot museum, and the newly-renovated Domestic Arts Building.
609-292-6464. "New Jersey, A Sense of Place," the 30th
Garden State Watercolor Society show, juried by Leah Sloshberg,
of New Jersey State Museum, and Margaret O’Reilly, assistant curator
of fine arts. The Dagmar Trebble Memorial Award goes to Elizabeth
Lombardi for her painting, "Cecelia: Telling the Story." To
January 2. Tuesday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Sunday, noon
to 5 p.m.
Also, "The Modernists," an exhibition of gems from the
collection by Charles Demuth, Arthur Dove, Marsden Harley, Georgia
O’Keeffe, Alfred Stieglitz, Helen Torr, and others, to January 23.
"The Regionalists and Precisionists," with works by Thomas
Hart Benton, Charles Burchfield, Stuart Davis, Francis Picabia, and
George Ault, to January 30.
On extended view: "Dinosaur Turnpike: Treks through New Jersey’s
Piedmont"; "Amber: The Legendary Resin"; "The Moon:
Fact & Fiction."
Urban Word Cafe, 449 South Broad Street, Trenton, 609-989-7777.
Alan Taback’s "Dance Rhythms," a series of paintings based
on music and dance. The Trenton-based artist has been painting and
exhibiting for the past 20 years.
Lear’s Greece," an exhibition of watercolors, sketchings, and
letters from the Gennadius Library of the American School of Classical
Studies in Athens, Greece. Also "The Trappings of Gentility:
British Art at Princeton." Both shows to January 2. "What
Photographs Look Like," to November 14. The museum is open Tuesday
through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Free tours
of the collection are every Saturday at 2 p.m.
609-586-4800. Frank Rivera & Joan Needham, an exhibition of recent
work by two members of the MCCC faculty. To November 5. 8 p.m.
Trenton, 609-394-4095. Physicians’ exhibition features works by CHS
physicians Anthony Chiurco, Joseph Eberhart, Leon Fraser, Jay
Robert Gould, Alfred Monkowski, Horace Shaffer, Iradj Sharim, Richard
Siderits, Joseph Wood, and Lee Yazujian. Lobby gallery is always open.
To November 12.
609-921-9000. In the Conant Gallery Lounge B: Gary Peterson and Roger
LaPelle, oil paintings, to November 19. In the Brodsky Gallery of
the Chauncey Conference Center, charcoal drawings by Alexandra Sax,
to November 29. Exhibits are open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
732-524-3698. "Work from the Art Centre of New Jersey," a
group show of oils, watercolors, pastels and acrylics, to November
30. In the New Jersey Artist Series, "Portraits" by Nicole
Maynard-Sahar, an exhibition of expressionistic portraiture, to
4. Free by appointment.
609-896-9060. "Departures," an exhibition by the Art Group,
featuring Princeton area artists Liz Adams, Nadine Berkowsky, Eva
Kaplan, Edith Kogan, Judith Koppel, Stephanie Mandelbaum, Helen Post,
and Gloria Wiernik, and curated by Gary Snyder of Snyder Fine Art.
In the reception area galleries to November 12. Monday to Friday,
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
609-987-3200. "The American Indian Artists’ Exhibition," a
group show that continues to November 29. Daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Street, New Brunswick, 732-846-5777. "The Hungarian Spark in
an exhibit highlighting Hungarian contributions to the arts, sciences,
humanities, commerce, religious and civic life in America. To January
31. Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday,
1 to 4 p.m. $3 donation. Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
v to 4 p.m. $3 donation.
Brunswick, 732-932-7237. "A Sense of Wonder: African Art from
the Faletti Family Collection." Show features 80 works, dating
from the 15th to early 20th century, presenting an overview of the
variety of style and sensibility in African art. To November 24.
through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to
"Cats," a group exhibition with works by artists including
Bill Giacalone, Hanneke DeNeve, Elizabeth Lombardi. Gallery is open
Tuesday through Sunday (call for hours) and by appointment. To
The gallery celebrates its fourth year and a new exhibition season
featuring 12 gallery co-op members presenting shows that change
Working with owner Eric Gibbons are curators and artists Beverly
and Lana Bernard-Toniolio.
Other co-op members are Maura Carey, Sarah Bernotas, Richard Gerster,
Robert Sinkus, Mike Pacitti, Michael Bergman, Jane Lawrence, Charlotte
Jacks, Dorothy Amsden, Carmen Johnson, John Wilson, and Bob Gherardi.
Gallery hours are Wednesday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday to Saturday,
11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Drive, Jamesburg, 732-521-0070. "Favorite Things," an
of watercolors by Joanne Augustine and Barbara G. Watts, both of whom
work with subjects from nature. To January 4.
Road, 609-921-3272. "Iron and Ink," an exhibit and sale of
contemporary art from Africa by Kwela Crafts, to December 31. In the
Upstairs Gallery, "Impressions of Nature," new works in
by Elizabeth Roedell and Gloria Wiernik, to November 30. Public
for both shows is Sunday, November 14, noon to 3 p.m. Gallery hours
are Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"American West," an exhibition of 36 new oil paintings by
Robert Beck chronicling his recent journey from Colorado to Canada,
and from the Western Range to the Rockies. To November 20. Gallery
hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, non to 3
908-725-2110. "Viewing Contemporary Culture," a national
exhibition of prints and photographs. In the library gallery, works
by Philadelphia artist Kelli Costa. Both shows to November 30. Gallery
hours are Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 1
to 4 p.m.
609-397-2226. "Painterly Impressions," an exhibition of
by Chinese-American artist Oliver Tang inspired by recent visits to
Venice, Alaska, and the Jersey shore. To December 3.
Annual Fall Exhibition features paintings by Albert L. Bross Jr.,
watercolors by Harriet Ermentrout, and pastels by Mike Filipiak. To
November 14. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Burlington, 609-386-4773. "Wildfowl Decoy Exhibit" by master
Burlington carver Jess Heisler (1891-1943), whose best work ranks
among the finest of the Delaware River school of carving, and works
by his friend and pupil John Marinkos (1915-1999). To January 9. Hours
are Monday to Thursday, 1 to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 2 to 4 p.m.
215-345-0210. "Edward Hicks Country," a companion to the
Museum of Art comprehensive exhibit on Edward Hicks, an exhibit on
the professional and spiritual environment in which the lifelong Bucks
County artist worked. Three related displays explore the 19th-century
craft of ornamental painting, the Quaker meetinghouse environment,
and the iconography of William Penn and the Society of Friends. $5
adult; $1.50 youth. Museum hours are Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to
5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; and Tuesday evening to 9 p.m.
215-340-9800. Celebration of American Art features "An Edward
Hicks Sampler," featuring an 1837 version of "Peaceable
and "The Landing of Columbus." Also an exhibition,
Washington: Icons and Images of America’s Founding Father." $5
adults; $1.50 students; children free. Museum hours are Tuesday to
Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday evenings to 9 p.m.; Saturday
& Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"Intimate Vistas: The Poetic Landscapes of William Langson
a major retrospective of more than 50 works spanning a 50-year career,
from 1884 to 1939. Curated by Brian Peterson, it is one of the
ambitious scholarly undertakings to date. Show runs to January 9.
For a 30-year period, from the late 1890s through the 1920s, Lathrop
was known as one of the nation’s premier landscape painters,
association with the Tonalist movement. Essaying to convey the many
and varied moods of nature, the Tonalists often employed a darker
palette than their Impressionist colleagues, and painting in their
A native of Illinois and raised on a farm in Painesville, Ohio,
studied in New York and in 1899 moved his family to Phillips Mill
near New Hope, providing the hub of the growing art colony that became
known as the New Hope School or the Pennsylvania Impressionists. Henry
Snell and Daniel Garber were among the painters who relocated to Bucks
County because of Lathrop.
Also "From Soup Cans to Nuts," an exhibition of prints by
Andy Warhol, on loan from the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. The artist,
who died in 1987, is best known for his flamboyant, multiple
prints that explore icons of popular culture from the famous soup
to Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy. To November 21.
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