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b. 1977, Bangladesh

Rana Begum Biography

Rana Begum is an Anglo-Bangladeshi contemporary artist who experiments with the boundaries between painting, design, and architecture. She is influenced by both Minimalism and her childhood experiences of Islam and Islamic art and architecture. Born in Sylhet, eastern Bangladesh, the artist moved to England when she was only eight years old. She now lives and works in London and describes it as a city that is 'constantly morphing and changing'. She combines her early childhood's sense of steady repetition and calm contemplation with urban structures and industrial materials to create a conversation between form, colour, and light. The artist finds inspiration in her childhood memories of light hitting the water in Bangladesh's rice fields, as well as the ritual of praying five times a day.

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Initially Begum's works were representational, but as she became exposed to artists such as Ellsworth Kelly and Sol LeWitt, she carried her interest in line, colour, and light towards an abstracted exploration of repetition and materiality. During her Masters degree, the artist gained inspiration from Latin American artists including Jesús Rafael de Soto and Hélio Oiticica, and Constructivist artists such as Charles Biederman. She introduced colour and light slowly into her works, determined to approach these complex phenomenona with care. The quietly intense process of concentration with which she treats each level of her artistic process allows the work to act not as spectacle, but instead quietly grab the viewer's attention until he or she is immersed in the work's own elucidation of time.

Begum's highly geometric sculptures are both static and in constant flux. That is, though the physical artworks themselves stand still, as the light changes within the space throughout the day and as the viewer moves around the artwork, bright colours may turn to more subdued tones and short and sharp shadows may enlarge and fade. In an interview with Stephanie Bailey for Ocula Magazine, the artist stated: 'In life we are in constant motion, seeing things change and shift around us. I felt the need to reflect these transitions and changes within my work.' In this way, the moving viewer activates the work and may experience a new moment at each angle.

Though London provides a great deal of inspiration to Begum, equally influential are the many residencies the artist has undertaken in cities like Bangkok and Beirut. During these residencies, the artist develops her art in reaction to the new environments in which she finds herself, absorbing each unique context and incorporating it into her style and process. In a 2009 residency in Beirut, she took inspiration from the city's skyline to make sculptural drawings with straws from a Lebanese corner shop. She has since extended this exploration, replacing straws with steel and pairing the steel with reflective sheets placed on the wall or the floor.

In 2016, Begum won the Abraaj Group Art Prize, for which she was awarded $100 000 to realise a project for Art Dubai 2017. The exhibition that accompanied this prize, curated by Omer Berrada, brought together works by three other shortlisted artists and Begum's commissioned work. In the commissioned work, the artist developed her conversation between light and colour by extending a series of painted MDF studies into a three-dimensional transparent glass installation. A monograph written and produced by Berrada was also published.

Begum's work acts architecturally in reaction to both the exhibition space and its broader environmental location. She reflects on moments where she is able to find 'unexpected silence amidst the clamour' of the urban environment, taking readily available industrial materials and presenting them in patterns and forms that reflect the feeling of infinity found through meditation. In this way, the artist blends past memories and present context to dissect questions of materiality and form.

Casey Carsel | Ocula | 2019

Rana Begum Featured Artworks

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No. 988 by Rana Begum contemporary artwork
Rana BegumNo. 988, 2020Paint on powder-coated alumnium
185 x 95 x 5 cm
Kate MacGarry Contact Gallery
No. 683 Painting by Rana Begum contemporary artwork
Rana BegumNo. 683 Painting, 2016Paint on mirror finish stainless steel panel
100 x 80 x 4 cm
Kate MacGarry Contact Gallery
No. 681 Painting by Rana Begum contemporary artwork
Rana BegumNo. 681 Painting, 2016Paint on mirror finish stainless steel panel
100 x 80 x 4 cm
Kate MacGarry Contact Gallery
No. 917 by Rana Begum contemporary artwork
Rana BegumNo. 917, 2019Paint on powder-coated aluminium
125 x 95 x 5 cm
Kate MacGarry Contact Gallery
WP383 by Rana Begum contemporary artwork
Rana BegumWP383, 2020Paint on paper
28 x 21 cm
Jhaveri Contemporary Contact Gallery
WP377 by Rana Begum contemporary artwork
Rana BegumWP377, 2020Paint on paper
28 x 21 cm
Jhaveri Contemporary Contact Gallery
WP386 by Rana Begum contemporary artwork
Rana BegumWP386, 2020Paint on paper
28 x 21 cm
Jhaveri Contemporary Contact Gallery
WP382 by Rana Begum contemporary artwork
Rana BegumWP382, 2020Paint on paper
28 x 21 cm
Jhaveri Contemporary Contact Gallery

Rana Begum Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Rana Begum, Solo Exhibition at Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai
Closed
19 September–2 November 2019 Rana Begum Solo Exhibition Jhaveri Contemporary, MumbaiMumbai
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Collector's Focus: Tarana Sawhney Online Viewing Room at David Zwirner, New York
Closed
30 January–18 February 2019 Group Exhibition Collector's Focus: Tarana Sawhney Online Viewing Room David ZwirnerOnline Only
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Fifteen at Kate MacGarry, London
Closed
11 November–16 December 2017 Group Exhibition Fifteen Kate MacGarry, LondonLondon

Rana Begum Represented By

Rana Begum In Ocula Magazine

The Armory Show 2020 Ocula Photolog The Armory Show 2020

The Armory Show (5–8 March) features presentations by leading international galleries, innovative artist commissions, and dynamic public programs. The 2020 edition of The Armory Show, welcomes 183 exhibitors from 32 countries, convening Midtown Manhattan at Piers 90 and 94.

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Rana Begum Ocula Conversation Rana Begum By Stephanie Bailey, Dubai

It has been said before that my work creates illusions in colour and light, but actually it really has nothing to do with illusion. The work reveals itself as you interact with it, communicating the material from which it is made and the way the colour is used—it’s not hiding anything.

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Rana Begum In Related Press

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Rana Begum is exhibiting memories of Bangladesh at Frieze art fair Related Press Rana Begum is exhibiting memories of Bangladesh at Frieze art fair 27 September 2018, Evening Standard

At Frieze art fair next week, among thousands of artworks, it will be difficult for any one artist to stand out. But the sensual beauty and formal rigour of the works of Rana Begum, the British-Bangladeshi artist, should be a balm for the eyes and the soul amid the visual cacophony. Begum is showing in the Frieze Sculpture exhibition in Regent's...

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Frieze Sculpture 2018: the highlights Related Press Frieze Sculpture 2018: the highlights 4 July 2018, Wallpaper*

Between Wimbledon and the FIFA World Cup, there's been plenty of distractions from London's unusually Mediterranean weather of late.

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5 Questions with Rana Begum Related Press 5 Questions with Rana Begum 2 July 2018, National Museum of Women in the Arts

The fifth installment of NMWA's Women to Watch exhibition series, Heavy Metal, is presented by the museum and participating national and international outreach committees. The exhibition showcases contemporary artists working in metal, including those who create sculpture, jewelry, and conceptual forms.

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Fields of Light and Colour Related Press Fields of Light and Colour 21 March 2017, The Art Newspaper

The London-based Bangladeshi artist, an alum of Chelsea College of Art & Design and the Slade School of Fine Art, was awarded the coveted prize last October, receiving a bursary of $100,000 to realise a site-specific project at Art Dubai, working with curator Omar Berrada. And the prize-winning work, which was unveiled near the Abraaj lounge...

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