Lecture focuses on Novera Ahmed

Cultural Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Aug 30,2019


Rezaul Karim Sumon delivers a lecture on Novera Ahmed at ULAB. — Ali Hossain Mintu

Sculptor Novera Ahmed’s works should be preserved with care, said Rezaul Karim Sumon, assistant professor of Shanto-Mariam University of Creative Technology at a public lecture on Novera Ahmed held at campus A of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh on Wednesday.

The programme titled as ‘Life and Works of Novera Ahmed, Pioneer of Modern Sculpture’ was organised by the general education department of ULAB.

Vice chancellor of ULAB Dr HM Jahirul Haque gave the welcome speech at the programme. Professor of the general education department at ULAB Dr Shahnaj Husne Jahan, students of the university and others were present at the programme.

Rezaul Karim Sumon analysed the life and works of Novera Ahmed, who is considered the first modern sculptor of Bangladesh. Her distinctive works have been inspired by western, folk, indigenous, and Buddhist themes.

‘We don’t know much about Novera as she never spoke to the media about her life. She even did not leave behind an autobiography. No research work was conducted on her until she was awarded the Ekushey Padak, the second highest civilian award of Bangladesh, in 1997,’ said Rezaul Karim Sumon.

‘After that she settled in Paris and cut all communications with Bangladesh. No one was even sure if she was alive or dead,’ he added.

Novera Ahmed’s memories live on through her work. Steps should be taken to preserve those, he articulated.

‘ULAB has been arranging such lectures regularly to provide a platform to researchers where they can share their findings with the new generation,’ said professor Dr Shahnaj Husne Jahan.

Novera Ahmed was born in Kolkata on March 29, 1939. Her mother used to make dolls and clay houses and this triggered Novera’s early fascination for making sculpture.

She studied design at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts in London and graduated in 1955. Then she received further training in Florence and Vienna.

Novera Ahmed, along with Hamidur Rahman and Danish architect Gean Deleuran designed the Central Shaheed Minar.

She rose to prominence in 1960 with Inner Gaze, the first-ever solo sculpture exhibition by any sculptor in the then Pakistan.

Within the period of 1956 to 1960, Novera had worked on about 100 sculptures in Dhaka. Out of 100, 33 sculptures were collected by the Bangladesh National Museum (BNM). Her sculptures have become a part of history.

In her sculptor career Novera Ahmed travelled a lot and worked in various countries independently. She has exhibited her works in Lahore, Paris and few other places around the world.

Amid all the turns and twists in her life, she finally settled in Paris in 1963. Novera Almed married photographer Gregoire de Brouhns in 1984.

She suffered a stroke in 2010 and was in a wheelchair since then. Later the eminent sculptor died on May 6, 2015 at a hospital in Paris, France.

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