Group show depicts Mujib as iconic statesman

Tanzil Rahaman | Published: 23:12, Nov 25,2020


A group art exhibition featuring works by some of the leading painters of the country portraying the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as an iconic statesman of an era is under way at Gallery-4 of National Art Gallery, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.

The five-day exhibition, titled ‘Bangabandhu: Statesman of the Era’, has been organised by the Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre and the High Commission of India in Bangladesh in collaboration with Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy as part of the programmes marking the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

It features a total of 27 artworks by 12 Bangladeshi painters who created portraits of Mujib using a wide range of mediums, including oil, acrylic, soft pastel, waste fabric and mixed media.

The portraits are a homage to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. They are also an attempt to recall his contribution to the independence of Bangladesh. Most of the paintings have been inspired by photographs of the iconic figure.

The curatorial says that as a leader, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman never separated himself from his people and he inspired both the intelligentsia and the working class.

At the show, most of the painters have portrayed Mujib in contemplative or jovial moods. Some have also painted him in his political, social roles as well as in his family environment. The assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman also served as a point of departure for a few, says the curatorial note.

The participants are Abdul Mannan, Mohammad 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.

Education minister Dipu Moni inaugurated the exhibition as chief guest virtually while former cultural affairs minister Asaduzzaman Noor and Sheikh Mujib’s birth centenary celebration national implementation committee chief coordinator Kamal Abul Naser Chowdhury were present as special guests.

Bangladesh Shilapakala Academy director general Liaquat Ali Lucky gave the welcome speech at the event, which was presided over by Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram K Doraiswami.

To mention a few works, Abdul Mannan, who is known for his portraits and landscapes in the Dhaka art scene, painted a smiling Mujib.

The acrylic painting titled ‘Bangabandhu-2’ places Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s portrait one the right hand side of the canvas leaving a vast empty space evocative of the hope that once infused the nation following the war of independence. 

Artist Proshanta Karmakar Buddha explores pop sensibility in six of his paintings. The themes were varied and his tendency to overlap the leader’s portrait with blown-up photographs of people lends his own language a unique dimension.

Proshanta’s acrylic painting titled ‘Bangladesh-5’ shows two circles. The smaller circle at the top shows Mujib in a pensive mood while the backdrop of the image is covered with green and red colour — an obvious reference to the national flag. The larger circle shows a huge crowd and to make the image look interesting the artist has daubed some of the human heads with primary colours.

Proshanta’s another acrylic painting titled ‘Bangladesh-2’ shows Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his daughter, the incumbent prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, in a jovial mood. The national flag again pops up in the background.

While most of the works seek to glorify Mujib, Syeda Mahbuba Karim Mini’s acrylic painting titled ‘Hard Pain’ depicts the aftermath of the assassination of Sheikh Mujib along with his family members on August 15 in 1975. His pair of spectacles and the pipe are also shown bleeding.

Artist Sanjib Das Apu’s acrylic painting titled ‘The Thinker’ shows Sheikh Mujib in meditative mood while his eyes are shown closed. In the painting Mujib is smoking a pipe which became his signature late in his life.

The exhibition will remain open till November 28.

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