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Dhaka Tribune

Aloptogin Tushar: Blending realism with aestheticism

He did live portraits of Audrey Hepburn, artists Quamrul Hassan, and SM Sultan, poets Purnendu Pattrea, and Mahadev Saha, writers Shawkat Osman, and Ahmed Sofa, Pundit Shivkumar Sharma and many more

Update : 20 Dec 2020, 06:15 PM

Aloptogin Tushar is one of the distinguished painters from the late ‘80s who enjoy making portraits of prominent men and women representing different eras in the country and sub-continent. These individuals have left legacies. They have reformed, reshaped the society and some of them have given refreshing looks to art, culture, literature and the overall thinking process. Some of them are no more today but their immense contributions remain relevant in our daily lives.

Aloptogin Tushar lent his creativity through a variety of topics in varied mediums. His themes focus on contemporary issues, social and political dilemmas and always stand against inhumanity, injustice and inequality. The artist makes great efforts to leave marks of his intelligence and perseverance in every medium of his creativities. He has developed an aesthetic quality in his paintings that works on many levels from the visual to the subconscious. The figures have been time-consuming to draw and their facial expressions carry sundry moods. Many of his paintings seem to us outstanding and make us contemplate largely due to his acute seriousness and honesty towards his works. A workaholic and preservative character, the painter spends considerable time to go into details of the subjects and he never hankers after wealth and cheap popularity.    

Needless to say, Tushar is one of the finest portrait painters in our country. It has been clearly noticeable that the artist has an in-depth understanding of the characters he portrays. He did live portraits of internationally acclaimed actress Audrey Hepburn, Bangladeshi author Shawkat Osman, Bangladeshi artists Quamrul Hassan, SM Sultan, Indian poet Purnendu Pattrea, Bangladeshi poet Mahadev Saha, Bangladeshi writer Ahmed Sofa, Indian music composer and santoor player Pundit Shivkumar Sharma and many more. He has also portrayed many legendary figures from photos like Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bongobir Ataul Goni Osmani, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Sheikh Rehana, Sheikh Jamal, Sheikh Russel, artist Biren Shome, Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin, poets Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam and many more.   

Also read: Bangabandhu reflected on canvas

At different phases of his career, Tusher has also portrayed alluring and elegant women in all their shapely grandeur. His ponderings on portraits, especially women, involve a vast range of themes from reality to fantasy, imagination to imperfection. Sometimes the artist delves deep into a psychological voyage through his surrounding characters. The artist borrows some characters of his portraits from fiction or sometimes from his imaginative world. Sometimes, Tusher portrays characters, which have no existence in the real world, play in his subconscious mind, and where one gets a touch of surrealism. He paints the figures and portraits in different perspectives and varied modes of expressions. Sensual figures, figures in pensive mood, figures in close proximity, as well as, their affections, longings, yearnings, conflicts and movements are noticeable in his works. Tusher brings in romanticism to his portraits as well. He tries to synchronise colours, textures and formation of visages. His colours are often brightened and sometimes subdued to translate the significance of the characters in his portrait works. Then there are times when the shades appear dreamy and romantic. The artist has used charcoal, pastel, pencil, watercolour, acrylic and oil on paper and canvas.

Painting portraits is considered to be one of the oldest forms of art. From ancient times this art form has been predominantly used to glorify the influential and powerful in the society. All high-ranking families had a personal painter, who only did portraits of each family member. Sometimes, the painter travelled with the royals in hunting missions. Many distinguished artists in the world were commissioned by monarchs. Gradually, this art form crossed the territories of royalty and became popular among the masses the world over.

Those who are usually good at drawing, excel in portraits. There is a serious dearth of portrait painters in the Dhaka art scene despite the art form being well-established globally. Our painters, for some reason, have not shown enough interest in this drawing-based form. Hopefully, talented young artists will show more interest in drawing, which is one of the most significant aspects of art.

The writer is an art critic and cultural curator. 

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