Exhibition and the Judgement process

In human history, most of the judgment processes were biased and we find the story of oppressor and the oppressed mostly. Though there has been the longing and struggle to achieve the fair judgment and there will always be as long as the human being survives. Some story of struggle has become the pillar of achievement. Yet, we do not learn from it. We forget the devil never sleeps.

In the world of art, winning a prize has become questionable. Mainstream art practice has some blind spot to recognize. Nobody even raised a strong and constructive voice to develop the practice. Last decade, the online art movement tried to make waves to protest the mainstream, unfortunately, it was neither well organized nor given proper thinking toward the process. It was flawed from the start.

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In many countries, the mainstream art platform works in the same manner including Bangladesh. For national and international exhibitions and competitions, it is the same flawed format that discourages creative minds on many levels. This process does not help artists much to develop their art practice. Because of that they even exchange very little intellectual property. It has been stagnant for a very long time. Before you disagree, let us try to see the thing through naked eyes. In an exhibition, participants submit their art pieces for selection, then a primary jury committee selects art pieces from submitted works. Now, from all the participants some artworks/artists get the nomination for awards by the jury panel and they select award winners. Then the exhibition starts with the award ceremony and it ends with an ending ceremony. More or less this is the scenario of our exhibition that affects everything.

Now if you think this is ok then your mind has been caged in a little box. Indeed, our brain has been adjusted to this flawed system for a very long time. Ask yourself why some art practitioners are always running after their teachers who stay in the jury panel? Why powerful people without art-related knowledge has influence in this process? Why so many artists get disappointed? Because this typical system has a hundred percent opportunity to be biased. It is flawed. If inside the jury panel most juries are fair, not bias, then the outcome would be wonderful. Unfortunately, this ‘If’ has too much power to pollute everything and unfortunately that’s what happening all around. we are practicing and taking part in it without recognizing the root cause of this toxic practice.

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Now the question arises – Where do we belong and how do we get there? It is not wrong to have a desire for a better system where artists and practitioners get the fair opportunity to learn from each other. Exhibitions can be the festival where creative minds can exchange their insights and develop their art practice in a healthy manner.

I will discuss the possible ways to make it happen. If you have any disagreement or better proposal, we shall get to the logical discussion. After all, this is your responsibility as well.

• Participation can be open for all if the venue can accommodate all the art pieces or the primary selection team can choose art from submitted works. If an art piece is rejected for the exhibition then it is the selection committee’s obligation to explain to the participant in which areas of the art piece are not matured enough to qualify for the exhibition. The authority must assure to inform all the selected artists through an authorized medium.• The exhibition authority must select a jury panel to help find the award nominee and award winner before the exhibition starts.

• Now the exhibition begins. For example, we can consider ten days exhibition. On the first and second day of opening, participants will roam around and see each other’s work alongside the jury members and general visitors.

• On the third and fourth day, all the participants will nominate approximately 20 art pieces for the award except his own. Each honorable member of the jury panel will also nominate the same number of artworks, but each nomination by the honorable jury members will be counted as double points. Under the authority, there has to be a chart to fill all the nomination points by the participants and honorable jury members. After calculation, we will find the top 20 nominees for the award.

• On the fifth day, the nomination will be announced with the point chart.

• On the sixth day, 20 nominees will evaluate the other nominated art pieces except their own and give marks out of 100, based on technical skills, conceptual property, emotional property, and the balance in between them. They will also take notes in the process for each art piece.

• On the day of seventh and eighth, nominated artists including all other participants and the honorable jury members will sit in a hall room. Now, nominated art pieces will be shown through projector one by one and each nominee will shed their insight about their marks on that nominated art piece one by one. In the process, honorable jury members will take note and can ask any question about their evaluation. In this process, all the participants and award nominees will get the chance to exchange their insight and opinions. In the process, honorable jury members individually will also evaluate nominated art pieces and put their mark for each art piece. After this exchange program, the honorable jury members will combine and publish their evaluated marks along with the 20 nominees’ marks for each of the nominated art pieces. This way the award winners will prevail. All the marks have to be published.

• On the last day of the exhibition the award ceremony will take place.

This practice will enrich and extend our art knowledge in the long run. We will get the chance to build each other stronger with equal opportunity. The exchange of intellectual property will be effective with the fullest capacity. In this way, the artists and practitioners will get a healthy community and grow together in harmony.

Tarak Mahadi

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Tarak Mahadi is an artist. In the year 1998, he joined Mymensingh Zainul Abedin Art School. There he studied almost three years beside formal education. Later he graduated from the University of Dhaka under the Faculty of Fine Arts in 2006. He worked at Art Club Bangladesh from 2010 to 2012. He was the Vice president of WAG (NC) from 2013 to 2016. He has a book published in November 2012 along with other eleven artists across the world, titled “Shining Above The Rainbow” curated by Viet Tran.
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