Today is the 97th birth anniversary of late eminent artist Quamrul Hassan, one of the pioneering artists who contributed immensely to the country’s art scene.
Patua Quamrul Hassan (1921-1988), especially known for designing the national flag of the country developed a unique style using elements from the folk art of the country.
Art historians and critics evaluate Quamrul Hassan as a master artist for his unique ability to blend traditional folk art with western cubism – an early-20th-century avant-garde art movement pioneered by Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso and others.
Hassan was called Patua for his fascination with age-old traditions that he portrayed on his canvases.
Hassan was involved with all major national movements like the non-cooperation movement in 1969 and the war of independence in 1971. His caricatures portraying the ferocious gesture of Pakistani military dictator Mohammad Yahya Khan is still considered a seminal work on the brutalities of the war.
A versatile artist, Hassan practically worked with all mediums including oil, gouache, watercolour, pastel, etching, woodcut, linocut, pen and pencil.
He was also resourceful in terms of themes as he not only depicted the colourful and pristine beauty of the rural Bangladesh but also the corrupt and degenerated politics and social conditions of the country through his sketches.
Born on December 2, 1921 in Kolkata, Quamrul graduated in fine arts from the Government Institute of Arts (now College of Arts and Crafts, Kolkata) in 1947.
He came to Dhaka after the partition of Bengal in 1947, and helped establish the Dacca Art College (now the Faculty of Fine Arts of Dhaka University) in 1948. He was also a teacher at the institute till 1960.
Quamrul Hassan died right after completing a sketch of a snake satirising the autocratic ruler Hussain Muhammad Ershad, at the 2nd National Poetry Festival in Dhaka University on February 2, 1988.
Besides being an artist, Quamrul Hassan was also an accomplished administrator. He was the chief artist of the Bangladesh government-in-exile during the liberation war and designed the state monogram of People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Bank, Freedom Fighters Welfare Trust, Parjatan Corporation and Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
For his contributions to arts, he received several prestigious awards and honours including President’s Gold Medal, Independence Day Award, Bangladesh Charu Shilpi Sangsad Honour and others.
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