Milkshake Collective: The art movement

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by Tajnim Imami

The Milkshake Collective is a group of 22 local artists, specialising art forms starting from pop to modern and graphic. The group began its journey around April 2016. Many of the artists had been in a street art exhibit prior to it called ‘The Invisibellas’. Right after, Liza Hasan from Liza’s Brushes decided to approach everyone to come together for another exhibit. But this time it would be run by the artists, eliminating the middle man, the gallery. Liza, working closely with Kazi Istela Imam from Istela Illustrated, brought the initial round of artists together.

When they were looking to hold the first exhibit at a yard, that’s when the word ‘Milkshake’ came into play. Coined by Saria Saguaro of Pretty Shitty Art, the name ‘The Milkshake Collective’ became the name of this great collaboration of artists. When asked about the significance of the group’s name, Liza explained, ” Our mission is to showcase the individuality of each artist by bringing different types of artistes such as painters, illustrators, graphic designers, pop-artistes, photographers, architects and many others on one single platform. We are all different kinds of artistes bringing our own ingredients and throwing them in a blender, much like a milkshake.”

The response they received in their exhibition had been surprising and exceeded all their expectations. With an eager, youthful crowd hungry for something new, the Milkshake Collective appeared on the scene as just the right kind of exploration of Dhaka art scene. The exhibit showcased different methods of these artists who have come together to display their work. Canvas, paper, digital, and sculptural works were on display next to art prints, textile, décor and other merchandise.

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Apart from assortment, the young and thriving group of artists promised to hold one of the most exciting underground exhibits- which they successfully pulled off, being completely run by the artists themselves without links to sponsors and galleries. The exhibits on display perfectly encompassed the pop culture consumed daily, in the form of modern and street art. Diversity is the word that comes to mind when exploring the various little ‘corners’ of the exhibition, each showcasing the styles of the individual artists who participated.

This is the first of many unique exhibitions that gives platform to the many already established artists as well as new one. After two successful events in 2016 and 2017, the group has firmly established itself as a serious art movement. The atmosphere of their exhibitions is unlike most other high brow art gatherings. Here, everything is casual and down to earth. Artists sit on the floor chatting with their fans as smooth tunes fill the background. The crowd and the creators mingle like friends at a party with humility in the air. It is a calm, relaxing event that nurtures the ‘milkshake’ of Dhaka’s underground artists.

The Milkshake Collective helps various underground artistes of the country to come together under one umbrella and embrace the freedom to express themselves. They want to do what they want and love without having to account for it. The group is not only an art movement, but it is also a great medium of the artists’ personal and professional growth. It includes instances of being able to discover each artist and his/her process and learning and feeding off of one another.

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Also, those who’ve followed their work and journey to discover other artists who are out there learning to work together, sharing spaces, dealing with different temperaments while also learning new techniques and philosophy from each other is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the learning experiences that the artists go through while working in the group. Without a sponsor or any gallery backing, the process of promotions, logistics and space curation are all on the shoulders of the artists, who seem to do it deal with it with great professionalism and finesse. The lack of art space in Dhaka poses much challenge to the organizers. But building and nurturing such culture and space is precisely the aim of the Milkshake Collective.

The participants of the group are Alia Kamal, Dibarah Mahboob, Farah Khandaker, Gazi Nafi, Ismail Ferdous, Istela Imam, Kabir Ava, Liza Hasan, Mahenaz Chowdhury, Maleena Dhrity Gomez, Manik N Ratan, Nuhash Humayun, Nuzhat Tabassum, Saiqa S Chowdhury, Saria Saguaro, Sayeef Mahmud, Shevi Vee, Syed Rashad Imam Tanmoy, Tanzia Haq, Tausif Sabir, Wasi Ahmed and Waseka Nahar.

 

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Members of the Collective include:

 

Alia Kamal

Bloom City

Dhaka Yeah

Dibarah Mahboob (Deeory)

Farah Khandaker (Farah Khandaker Illustrations)

Gazi Nafi

Ismail Ferdous

Istela Imam  (Istela Illustrated)

Imam & Don

Kabir Ava (Kavayra)

Liza Hasan (Liza’s brushes)

Mahenaz Chowdhury

Maleena Dhrity Gomez (Mxnster)

Manik N Ratan

Nuhash Humayun (Hesh)

Nuzhat Tabassum (Nuzart)

Art of Murphy

Saria Saguaro (Pretty Shitty Art)

Sayeef Mahmud (Inksmith)

Veevinci

Syed Rashad Imam Tanmoy  (Tanmoy Cartoons)

Tanzia Haq

Tausif Sabir (T-Pot)

Wasi Ahmed

Waseka Nahar (Triory)

 

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