Ekushey Padak-winning sculptor Syed Abdullah Khalid, who modelled renowned sculpture Aparajeyo Bangla to commemorate 1971 Liberation War, passed away on Saturday night at the age of 75.
The artist had been suffering from diabetes and respiratory problems for a long time, his son Syed Abdullah Zahir told the Dhaka Tribune.
He was undergoing treatment at the Intensive Care Unit of BIRDEM Hospital in Dhaka, where breathed his last around 11:45pm on Saturday.
Family members said Khalid had gone to Sylhet to attend a programme on April 21, where he fell ill. He was first admitted to Sylhet's Royal Hospital and transferred to the Central Hospital in Dhaka on May 2. Later, he was moved to BIRDEM on May 10.
His body was taken to the Faculty of Fine Arts of Dhaka University and then to Central Shaheed Minar on Sunday morning where students, artists, prominent personalities and admirers paid him their last respects.
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Admirers of sculptor Syed Abdullah Khalid leave bouquets of flowers in tribute at his famed work Aparajeyo Bangla on Dhaka University campus on Sunday Mehedi Hasan
His namaz-e-janaza was held at Dhaka University Central Mosque, and he was buried at the Martyred Intellectuals Graveyard in Mirpur.
Born in Sylhet in 1942, Khalid completed Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in painting in 1969 from East Pakistan College of Arts and Crafts – presently the Faculty of Fine Arts of Dhaka University – and Masters of Fine Arts in painting and sculpture in 1974 from Chittagong University.
He was a professor at Dhaka University until his death.
Besides Aparajeyo Bangla, Khalid’s works include distinctive commissions like the terracotta relief on socio-cultural heritage at the Bangladesh Bank head office and a 447sqft mural named Abohoman Bangla at Bangladesh Television Centre.
Khalid was awarded first prize in the Second National Sculpture Exhibition organised by Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in 1983. In 1987, he was appointed leader of the team participating in Saarc Workshop on Traditional Terracotta held in Madras, India.
On various occasions, he was nominated a judge by Shilpakala Academy for national exhibitions.
His works are a part of the permanent collection of the National Museum of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Ganabhaban and other important private and institutional collections.
He was honoured by the state through issuance of a commemorative stamp in 1990–91 and a silver coin in 1998 for Aparajeyo Bangla.
The pioneer sculptor of the country was honoured with the Ekushey Padak in February 2017.