Abu Naser Robii
Personal involvement, impersonal act
Mostly interested in Chinese Zen and Indian mythology as well as Islamic and Christian lore with spiritual implications, Abu Naser Robii has enabled the language of the performance art to speak for the 'self' that is under fire while entangled in the exterior realities of the present. The limits of modernism – the not so well-defined way of life that easily turns art into commodity and also privileges archival efforts – are negated through the intervention of the body, this is how one may explain the efforts of this 30-plus artist.
The physical presence that actually is an investment in egotism in real life, is allowed to enter a transcendental stage, as is evident in many a performance by Robii.
The body or self (as the two are interchangeable) is offered as an alternate manifestation of the forces that still frustrate our effort in knowing through endoscopic and other means of intrusions. The body as the site of action as well as the subject to act upon, contrary to the concept of it as merely a form, is what inspire many an artist to resort to performance art, and Robii is no exception.
He sees his own evolving physic as what it is – an act of nature, on which the rational mind of the artist simply acts upon to educe meaning, or to narrate ideas and emotion. Robii believes art is a form of communication, as such he frames the body 'to occupy the space in a fragment of time,' to borrow the artist's own words. He does so to put forward a commentary on the grave situations that ominously preside over the present-day realities. Among his subject matters, destruction of nature and self are two of the most frequently tackled ideas.
For Robii, the negotiation of the body begins with the actions that frame not the state of mind, nor even emotional heights, but a concept born out of the concerns of an ecologically-inclined social seer, who wants to bear the testimony of the wrongs done to the mother earth.
Since completing his MFA from the University of Chittagong in 1999, he let his energies coagulate into ideas best expressed in performances. As part of his activism, Robii, with the support of some of his contemporaries, launched Porapara Space for Artists, an artist-led organization that facilitates artists in their efforts to frame new ideas and expressions that strive go beyond the modernist traditions and norms. He is the founder director of Porapara Space for Artists, which began its journey in 2004.