CAS Acquisition: Rana Begum explores the infinite possibilities of geometry in her works

26 April 2022 By
Image credit: © The artist. Courtesy Kate MacGarry   Work Details:       Rana Begum   WP414, WP415 and WP416   2020   Pen on paper 45 x 70 cm (each)

The Contemporary Art Society has supported the acquisition of 3 pieces by Rana Begum RA for the UH Arts and Culture, at the University of Hertfordshire. Begum’s work focuses on the interplay between light and colour, blurring the boundaries between sculpture, painting and architecture. Her use of repetitive geometric patterns – found both within Islamic art and the industrial cityscape – takes its inspiration from childhood memories of the rhythmic repetition of daily recitals of the Qur’an. Begum’s work ranges from drawings, paintings, films, and wall-based sculptures to large-scale public art projects.

Begum explores the infinite possibilities of geometry in her works. The acquired prints display the prevalent process of repetition through geometric forms and colours. Repetition, for the artist, retains an element of ritual. Begum weaves a western-influenced minimalist approach with a search for the divine and the unknown steeped in Islamic tradition. 

The University of Hertfordshire (UH), chose to acquire these three prints WP414, WP415 and WP416 by Begum to celebrate the success of an alumna of the University within the field of contemporary art. Begum studied her foundation course at UH, which she has said had a pivotal impact on opening her up to new ideas and disciplines. Additionally, Begum lived in St Albans from the age of 8 having moved there from Bangladesh with her family. The year 2025 will see the 150th anniversary of St Albans Art School – which became the School of Creative Arts at UH, and to mark this anniversary St Albans Musuem and Gallery aspire to partner with Begum for a solo project.  St Albans is also the site of UH Arts + Culture’s partner institution St Albans Museum + Gallery and we aspire to be collaborating with Rana Begum on a solo project in her former home city, to coincide with this significant anniversary. 

The University’s Art Collection is exhibited across its campuses rather than within a dedicated museum space, and Begum’s striking drawings will enhance the university environment by introducing contemporary art in places where people study, work and visit. The Collection works offer fresh subjects and alternative perspectives that invite our community to think and question beyond their chosen disciplines.  

If you would like to see some of her work in person, Begum currently has a solo exhibition at the Pitzhanger Gallery, which is on until September 2022. 

Rana Begum (b. 1977 in Sylhet, Bangladesh) lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include Pitzhanger, London (2022); Mead Gallery, Warwick, UK, (2022); Kate MacGarry, London (2021); Wanås Konst, Sweden (2021); Tate St Ives (2018) following the Tate St Ives Artists Programme residency at Porthmeor Studios. Selected group shows include Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2021); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2019); Frieze Sculpture Park, London (2018). A new publication, Rana Begum: Space Light Colour was published by Lund Humphries in 2021. Begum was elected a Royal Academian in 2020. 

Credit Line: Presented by the Contemporary Art Society, 2021 
Image credit: © The artist. Courtesy Kate MacGarry 
Work Details:  Rana Begum, WP414, WP415 and WP416, 2020. Pen on paper 45 x 70 cm (each)