The show is open for public viewing from November 24 to December 2 at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy
The Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre (IGCC) and the High Commission of India in Bangladesh in collaboration with Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy have organised an art exhibition as part of the celebration programmes marking the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Under the title, “Bangabandhu: Statesman of the Era” the exhibition features twelve leading and promising Bangladeshi painters with their twenty seven artworks in different mediums.
No one can deny that Sheikh Mujib was a larger-than-life figure in the political, social and cultural landscape of the sub-continent. After independence of Bangladesh, he not only focused on the people of his country but also concentrated to make a bridge between the neighbouring countries of Bangladesh. Bangabandhu lives in the hearts of the people in every segments of the country. Every patriot here believes that Bangladesh and Bangabandhu are one and inseparable.
The exhibition focuses on Bangabandhu – a leader who never separated himself from his people. He inspired both the intelligentsia and the working class people. At the show, Bangabandhu has been depicted in miscellaneous ways by the artists. Most of the painters have portrayed his contemplative face, jovial mood, sombre temperment and musing mood. Some have also painted his political, social and familial lives. The historical killing of Bangabandhu is also vivid at the show.
Painters have captured his intense eyes and introspective mood on their canvases. They have captured the spirit of Sheikh Mujib in his most outspoken moments as well, and have worked with different mediums and techniques like oil, acrylic, soft pastel, denim and mixed media. It is noticeable that most of the paintings have been inspired by photographs of the iconic figure.
The participating painters are Abdul Mannan, Md Muniruzzaman, Syeda Mahbuba Karim Mini, Quader Bhuiyan, Sanjib Das Apu, Kiriti Ranjan Biswas, Proshanta Karmakar Buddha, SM Mizanur Rahman, Md Zakir Hossain Pulok, Monjur Rashid, Sourav Chowdhury and Manik Bonik.
The exhibition also brings together artists belonging to different age groups, working in different mediums – to highlight an individual theme.
Among the participating painters, Abdul Mannan is the senior most and is familiar for his portraits and landscapes in the Dhaka art scene. His works are trademarked by recurrent subjects like blue and cloudy sky, riverside, green horizons and hills. Of his two potraits on Bangabandhu at the show, one delineates a jovial mood of the Father of the Nation while the other represents his pensive mood. Mannan likes to go into details and uses sensuous hues and unembellished texture. His creations appear neat as a result of his eloquent and time-consuming technique.
Md Muniruzaman is the secound most senior painter of the group, who is a socially and politically aware artist. As a painter he feels he has some responsibilities towards the society and strives to open the eyes of people around him. He has been involved with social and cultural movements since his teenage years. He has always taken a strong position against social inequity and oppression. At the exhibition, his acrylic-based painting depicts the leader in a contemplative mood. Red, yellow and brown shades mingle with one another in the painting.
Proshanta Karmakar Buddha lends his strong voice through pure realism. He has not confined himself with any singular theme or working process in his career. He has worked on varied themes and has always tried to capture the theme’s minutiae through his personal language and style. At the exhibition, his range of subjects are varied –one work depicts a familiar gesture of Bangabandhu waving possibly at a cheering crowd. Another work depicts the affection between the father and his daughter – Bangabandhu and the present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Some other canvasses are condensed, and the figures as well as the crowds of jubiliant freedom fighters are the focal points of the paintings.
Artist Kiriti Ranjan Biswas is recognised for his portraits and realistic paintings. Both of his portraits depict a blissful mood of Sheikh Mujib, and he has occupied himself with malleable texture while delving deep into subdued hues. The artist has given special attention to detailing the eyes and facial expressions. Throughout his life he has produced numerous artworks on Bangabandhu in diverse moods.
Sanjib Das Apu’s using of background is commendable and space plays a vital role in his two paintings. Eyes have also been focal points of his works and the painter has given considerable time to complete the works. One of the paintings shows the Father of the Nation in a contemplative posture and smoking a pipe. The artist has given special attention to detailing the attires.
At the exhibition, Zakir Hossain Pulok’s acrylic-based three paintings demonstrate various gestures of Bangabandhu. One shows him in a simple pose and the second one thinking about a serious issue while holding glasses against his clean-shaven chin. In another portrait, the great leader holds his glasses and a pipe in his hands. The canvas is spacious and the figure is the focal point in the painting. White space is also a significant aspect in the painting. Black and white convey a distinct look where polished textures also add to the allure of the work.
Monjur Rashid is one of the painters of the group who is cerebrally sound and his paintings force us to ponder on someting novel and refreshing. He is a very earnest painter and always takes part in different group exhibitions. In recent years, his two solo exhibitions received accolades for his selection of topics and narrative-based works. He is also a good musician, but he does not hanker after any fame or wealth. Monjur’s two acrylic-based paintings beautifully project Bangabandhu on envelpoes. Tiny stamps and seals have been placed in the upper part of the paintings. The envelopes also are predated as is evident in the vague datelines in the upper portions, providing a sense of nostalgia.
The other participating artists have also taken part with their creative urges and have tried to document the great leader’s life and contributions to the nation. It can be comprehended with certainty that the participating artists have a great zeal and penchant for Bangabandhu, the country and the people. Their thinking processes, acute observations and devotion to Bangabandhu have made the exhibition an unique and remarkable show.
The exhibition has been curated by ARTcon. The show is open for public viewing from November 24 to December 2 at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. The exhibition will be also travelling to other cities of the country including Rajshahi, Sylhet, Jessore and Chittagong.
The writer is an art critic and cultural curator