Rubina Akhter – An artisan’s journey

by Alvee Khan

Rubina Akhter is an artist with flair and versatility. She will embark upon a new journey as an artist as well as showcase her eclectic craftwork at her gallery. Her gallery- ‘Gallery Rubina’ will be launched by the final week of January.
Rubina Akhter embarked on the life of an artist when she was admitted in Art College (currently the Institute of Fine Arts under University of Dhaka) at 1979. Throughout her student life, she discovered her knack for designing and worked on various projects part-time. She was involved with Surayia Rahman’s Skill Development for Underprivileged Women’s Nakshi Katha project from 1982, where she joined full time in 1986. Soon after, she went to London for higher studies but her stay in London was short-lived as a dark cloud flew over her family, and she had to return due to a family emergency. All that happened in 1987, and after sitting idle for a while she worked for Aarong in 1989. Soon afterwards she went to Bangkok for training and development.

Throughout her student and professional life, she was a known face in the fashion industry. She worked as a model from 1982 till 1993, being featured in magazines like Femina. She also worked as a sub-editor for a magazine named Dialogue.
After getting married in 1997, she took a break from her relentless working life, but work was always on her mind. Whenever she was alone, she would doodle and keep practicing what she was taught at art school. Eventually, her work developed and was appreciated with adoration from her contacts at the glamour industry. This opened another gate for her journey towards expanding her crafts: interior designing. She was invited by Farzana Shakil on 2000 to paint and design her salon’s interior. Since then, she worked consistently on many interior design projects for various firms and start-ups, till her retirement in 2016.
Throughout her busy life, she drew on her free time. The paintings started as practice for her lessons at art school, sand then slowly grew to become her self-expression on a palette. The anger towards the shackles she faced throughout her journey as a progressive woman in a conservative society, the lamentations of the loss of loved ones, and the fiery spirit she carries within herself, all blend together and find life in her canvas.
She painted and crafted home decors, and stored them away. Over the years, she discovered that she had over 200 paintings and over a thousand home decor and fashion items.
When asked how she views art, Rubina stated ‘I feel life is art itself. Everything we create, even the routine ones, there lies art in it. A mother making breakfast for her children is artistic, if we know how to look at it.’
Rubina’s paintings also depict her interior designer self, as the framing of her work is always emphasized in an aesthetically pleasing way. Each and every painting comes with a different and unique framing, complementing the colour tones of the original painting. Most of them have hand-crafted, tasteful designs similar to the subjects and techniques of her paintings.
She shows her exquisite taste and knowledge by using a wide array of colours as well as contrasting them to add mood to her images. The use of so many complementing vibrant colours in such a way shows her experience as an interior designer, as well as her subject matters and techniques that exhibit her background and root of arts.
The vibrancy is prominent in her craft works as well. She has crafted a number of household utensils including boxes, coasters, mirrors, trays, tools, tables, lamps, lampshades, lanterns, chests, trunks, bin boxes of unique designs. There are bags, toiletry bags, napkins, plain kaatha, tablecloth, pillow cases, kaftas as well. These items were previously sold through her Facebook page: /fashion.house302/
Rubina Akhter described her gallery as her ‘pilgrimage’. ‘My parents always supported me; their dream was to let me be known as an artist. I have given up everything for this. As a Muslim, I always wanted to go to Hajj. Unfortunately, my luck did not allow me to do that, so this is my Hajj now.’
Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply looking to brighten your house through beautiful house décor, pay a visit to Rubina’s Gallery at Apartment #302, House #8A, Road #4, Gulshan-1 later this month as it opens for everyone.


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