Poignant, profound, tranquilizing – three words that describe the work of Bangladesh-based artist Liza Hasan. The recurring blues and constellations of specks make all the subjects of her portraits look as though they’ve just stepped out of a galactic pool in an alternate universe. Whether they’re looking straight at you or immersed in their own world, they all have an air of fragile nonchalance about them, the kind that simultaneously scares you and makes you want to hold them.
In short, Hasan’s pieces are powerful, accompanied by short narratives that add even more depth to the portraits.
Do I Dare Disturb The Universe?, courtesy of Liza Hasan
One would never guess that Hasan leads the humble life of a single working mother, painting during her spare time. Like most artists, Liza never even considered art as a career when she was younger. She pursued a graduate degree and joined her family business as the director of the marketing division.
But the artist that had awakened in her when she first took art lessons at the age of 13 never really went away. With the encouragement of her friends, Liza decided to try her hand at sketching again. Then she fell in love with the works of Silvia Pelissero aka Agnes Cecile, and the rest is history.
The Weight I Carry, courtesy of Liza Hasan
Even as she did MBA, she religiously worked on her paintings every evening, watching watercolor videos over and over again, and trying every technique. Although she tried other mediums, nothing spoke to her the way watercolors do. “Just watching the colors fuse with the water, brought peace to my chaotic mind,” she says.
In her paintings, she plays with the translucence of the pigments. Layering her work this way helps her “create depth and breathe life into the eyes of the subject, to bring out their emotions.”
Wrenched Between Kindness and Wisdom, courtesy of Liza Hasan
Hasan’s work has been recognized by many prominent art blogs and organisations, like Talenthouse and hitRECord. Just last year, her paintings were featured in a project called hitRECorder of the Week by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Hasan’s pieces have also been displayed at several art exhibitions, and with good reason.
All artwork featured in this article are part of her latest series, ‘The Water Impala’.
In The Embrace of the Void, courtesy of Liza Hasan
Aside from the introspective nature of her work, Hasan also believes that it can be used to revolutionize the entire art world in Dhaka and influence how the society thinks. She strongly voices her unhappiness with the state of the world and the need for change, for which she will do her part.
Hasan signs off with this: “Given the exposure I have had so far, I do have a voice; I know it is not very loud, but for now, it will do. However, I still have miles to go before I sleep.”