Reetu Sattar lives and works in Dhaka. A performance artist working with video, text, objects and photography, she makes time-based pieces exploring presence and absence, memory, loss, resilience and the ephemerality of existence.

Sattar is interested in the similarities, overlaps and clashes of forms in theatre and performance art, and the relationship between the body and ego. She dissects the traditional tropes of theatre through conversations, space and sculptural elements.

Reetu Sattar’s film Harano Sur (Lost Tune) took over the Playhouse theatre’s rehearsal studio. It focused on the harmonium, a musical instrument that is tightly integrated into the traditional culture of Bangladesh but is in danger of disappearing. The film documented a performance that took place earlier in the year at Dhaka Art Summit and brought together many performers, each playing three of the seven notes of the harmonium. The artist used the sustained droning sounds as a way to explore the violence and social upheaval that have recently affected Bangladesh and as a wider metaphor for issues of cultural control, diasporas and partition. By playing a sustained note, the performers make the powerful statement that they and their traditions are here to stay.

Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial and Dhaka Art Summit, as part of the New North and South, the work took the form of a film presentation of the performance that took place at the recent Dhaka Art Summit 2018, which involved 33 musicians, 29 harmoniums and four oboe-like instruments called shehnais.

Recent exhibitions and performances include Para/Site, Hong Kong, China (2017); Jim Thompson Art Centre, Bangkok, Thailand (2017); Fierce Festival, Birmingham, UK (2017); Chobimela ix, International Photography Festival, Bangladesh (2017); 16th and 17th Asian Art Biennale, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2014 and 2016); National Art Exhibition, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2015); South Asian Media Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2014); and Dhaka Art Summit, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2014).

Reetu Sattar at Liverpool Biennial 2018

Harano Sur (Lost Tune), 2018
Video, 13:03 min
Exhibited at the Playhouse theatre
Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial and Dhaka Art Summit, as part of the New North and South