When we are children, we don't dream after careful analysis of all career options along with their financial feasibility. But as we grow up, these concerns and opinions shape how we see the world around us and limit our choices to those with the least risks and uncertainties.
Regarding career choices, options get filtered to even fewer categories as challenges prevent the majority from pursuing their passion, such as fine arts.
In a country like Bangladesh, harvesting the desire to pursue fine arts as a career is often met with snide remarks, cautious advice, and unsolicited opinions. Parents, in general, want the best for their children and often want their children to pursue their education in fields where they are more likely to be financially secure, such as doctors, engineers, business managers, etc.
Sometimes, guardians' concerns arise not just from career uncertainty but also from their subconscious or impulsive tendency to compare their children's achievements and salaries with those of relatives and neighbours' children.
Raviya Humaira is a young Bangladeshi artist who began exploring her passion for art before her O Levels. She took Arts in her A Levels and performed well. As she kept painting, she found peace; it became a subject and a method of releasing stress.
"As my performance improved and interest grew, I finally decided to pursue my education and career in arts. While many people questioned my decision to go an unconventional way, I stood firm in my decision," said Raviya, who shares her art on her Instagram page - Tinyrayoflights. She plans to go to Canada to pursue her studies in Animation soon.
Her art has portrayed her amazing talent in different exhibitions, the first of which was in Chitrok. While she has her parents' support, she realises that their concerns are not entirely unfounded.
Challenges Many Young Artists Face
"Despite there being many career options in art which can pay sufficiently well, they are not explored in Bangladesh and many artists do therefore, have to change their career line to survive, especially young artists who often feel the burden of the world and responsibilities grow suddenly on their shoulders. It is daunting and scary to say the least," remarked Raviya on the practical challenges young artists face.
However, the challenges of young artists in Bangladesh do not remotely end here.
"There is an insufficient number and variety of educational institutions offering professional fine arts, animation and related courses. There is a lack of affordable resources needed to paint, such as decent quality acrylic paints, paper, paint brushes. Many good brands are not even sold in Bangladesh yet and what is available is often too costly."
The financial constraint prohibits many potential aspirants from pursuing an education and a career in arts resulting in our society losing some talented artists just because they couldn't afford the right classes and the art supplies of professional quality.
As Raviya said, "So many young artists have talent, but they often just can't afford to pursue them."
Art is not a talent only the rich can possess, but sometimes, it is one that only the financially strong can explore. Many talented young individuals cannot afford to spend the hard-earned money they earned from toiling around the city, giving tuition, on just a few tubes of paint and two sheets of substandard paper.
"Only a few get the support needed from peers and friends, and even fewer can muster the courage to go against all odds to follow their dream. Sometimes a bit of support is all you need."
Bangladesh's lack of professional standard platforms to learn different art forms has pushed Raviya to seek options abroad.
"My plan is to pursue a higher education in animation abroad and entering the world of Disney as an animator," said Raviya on her plans. Just like Raviya, there are many young artists with the talent to take on the world but are restricted by our society's lack of facilities.
A major challenge young artists face is the absolute intentional disregard for some of their main assets. We often don't realise the importance of every art piece to the artist and keep asking for gifts.
While Bangladesh is advancing in economic growth, we are still behind in artistic development. There needs to be an improvement in real infrastructure and facilities and our perception of art as a career option so that today's talented youth can successfully walk on their journey of creative exploration.
As Raviya said, "Art is an unspoken language where one can disseminate all their thoughts and emotions without speaking at all."