Sadit-Uz-Zaman’s miniature drawings on discarded tea bags have drawn the attention of big companies like Ispahani Tea Limited and Kazi and Kazi Tea Estate Limited who commissioned him to create promotional drawings
A horizon full of catkins contrasting against the bright blue sky of autumn can be an appealing landscape for the artists of Bengal. In attempts to capture the beauty, they often turn to their A4-sized canvases.
People are so fond of this particular landscape that on various occasions, the catkins made their way into women's clothing in the form of hand-painted designs. But can you think of painting such grand a scenario on the small space of a used teabag?
This is what Sadit-Uz-Zaman, an artist, recently did.
He reused used teabags as his canvas. On the used teabags, he paints his emotions and daily activities, be it mundane or interesting ones.
In fact, painting on the used teabags has become an alternative to keeping a diary that offers him catharsis.
Sadit, who has loved painting since childhood, used diverse mediums like ice-cream boxes, matchboxes, and wooden surfaces for painting, with an affinity for recycling and reusing materials, although he never received academic training on painting. His love for this artform only grew with time.
When Sadit graduated in 2011, the reality of a nine to five corporate job in an ad firm kept him away from his passion for years.
However, things changed when he moved to Rajshahi with his family and started looking after his family business. He could now finally make some room for his hobbies and passion.
In 2016, while going through art videos on YouTube, Sadit came across the artworks of Ruby Silvious - an internationally acclaimed visual artist based in New York - who first recycled used teabags as canvases in 2015.
As he was always on the lookout for new mediums to experiment with, Sadit thought of adopting this form of art.
He started by collecting discarded teabags from home. After a few days, he mustered the courage and communicated with his inspiration, Ruby Silvious.
When he sent her samples of his work, to his utter surprise, Ruby praised him. This gave Sadit the boost he needed.
Encouraged, Sadit started posting his works on social media through his Facebook page "Teabag Stories".
Though it was not an original idea from Sadit's end, it was still new in Bangladesh.
His audience started to grow and it did not take him much time to draw the attention of big companies like Ispahani Tea Limited and Kazi and Kazi Tea Estate Limited.
None of the events that followed was planned by Sadit and neither had he ever wanted to paint professionally. But when he was offered to work for the branding of these companies, he could not refuse.
His contractual work with Ispahani allowed him to make a miniature jersey during the Football World Cup 2018. The popularity Sadit had earned created pressure on him to work harder.
When Sadit was asked by Ispahani to create a teabag poster for the film "Debi", he was overwhelmed.
As much as he loved working for the poster, Sadit's high spirits were marred with controversy as some people misunderstood the slogan as "Debi ashche" (Debi is coming).
This, however, was not the first time Sadit faced controversy. Sadit was criticized once before when he painted Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on a used teabag.
"I admire Bangabandhu the most. All I wanted was to express my love and admiration for him through my work, which people failed to understand," Sadit said.
"I feel as if artists have limited freedom in our country," he continued, pointing towards the public backlash he faced.
Other than making posters, Sadit also loves doing book covers. So far, he has worked on 30 book covers.
The fact that nature inspires most of Sadit's works is evident in his paintings.
Sadit's artworks are getting published regularly and at one point he faced challenges while preserving his work due to the volume of raw materials he needs every day to keep himself up to speed.
But after working with two grand names of the tea industry, Sadit never runs out of raw materials anymore. He has to laminate or bind his artworks, otherwise they easily get ruined.
Currently, Sadit only has 15 of his works laminated but the total number of his work stands at 500.
Sadit prefers not to plan anything and let things follow its natural course. But he plans to publish a book in the future with all his artworks.
"I would also like to have a solo exhibition of my works one day," Sadit expressed.