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Chittagong 2019

Artists of 2019
Jamal Ahmed

Jamal Ahmed | জামাল আহমেদ

Jamal Ahmed is a Bangladeshi artist and professor. In recognition of his contribution to fine arts, the government of Bangladesh awarded him the country's second highest civilian award ‘Ekushey Padak’ in 2019.

b. November 1955: Dhaka, Bangladesh


1978: Bachelor of Fine Art, Bangladesh Government College of Arts & Crafts (now Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka), Dhaka, Bangladesh

1980: Research Course, Academy of Fine Art, Warsaw, Poland

1986: Master of Fine Art, Tsukuba University, Japan


Present Position: Professor, Department of Drawing & Painting, Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh


Jamal Uddin Ahmed is a bold painter. He picks his subjects very distinctively from the daily life of Bangladesh but put them in the canvas in such an aesthetic way that they appear creation of his, not of daily life. He is extensively exhibited in Bangladesh and abroad. His work has a discrete flair that ensures much warmth and substance in his vocabulary. He approaches his subjects with great empathy and passion and immortalizes them in his impressionist style. He paints with great skill and dexterity with an adventurous outlook. He masters many techniques of drawing and painting – be it casual female figure, bearded fakir, magnificent riverscapes, or a cluster of pigeons. His paintings are mobile, lyrical and poised - as if the viewers are approaching them in real life! Though his colours are minimal but the bold strokes add rhythm of poetry to his work.


As did artists from the Renaissance period, Jamal too presents the essence of the beauty of the human body in all its glory. What Sandro Botticelli and Auguste Rodin presented centuries back, in paintings and in sculpture, Jamal puts efforts to amalgamate both and translates those in his canvas in a more deshi manner. The cinema posters or the rickshaw paintings, the two very deshi style of paintings, also influence Jamal when he derives his own style.


 He prefers to work with live models the way he learnt to study human figure during his student days. He insists that there is a gulf of difference in the output when drawing a live model. He says, ‘I have always tried to portray what I see – beauty in the ordinary.’ Interestingly, the ordinary receives extraordinary treatment in the canvas of Jamal Ahmed. The other mastery that he has is in balancing light and shade in his objects. He does not use vibrant colours on a canvas unless necessary, and rather seems to have a penchant for subdued colours. 


Jamal likes to work in acrylic colour due to its more fluidity compare to oil colour. He says that it allows him to evolve his own colour scheme and capture the consistency and shade that oil does not allow. Jamal studies human and nature closely. There are no harsh edges in Jamal’s canvas but a mood of contemplation reinforced by dark colours and large, looming figures. Landscape has a brooding presence, as if he is careful to mark out a thought-content from the pictorial space. His figures are caught in a manner of repose or contemplation. Each of his work is fragment of a story. Jamal’s canvas has a sense of volume and fullness, which often contrasts with the content.  

Jamal Ahmed is an exponent of Bangladesh's realism art movement, and the undisputed master when it comes to painting the eternal muse of every artist - the female figure.Jamal's chemistry with the drawing form is well recognised. He manipulates the nuances of drawing, particularly to create a larger than real, often larger than life images of the ordinary people we come across in our everyday lives. His creative mind is as enigmatic as the picturesque setting we see in his work. There are claims that he only sees a world that was, and never is; which means he dwells in the past, and in a rustic fantasy long vanished. His charm is the dream setting in canvas.


Jamal usually portrays the moving objects and remarkable sights of daily life and living environment around him. Scenic beauty of Bangladesh, moonlit night, rural Bangali women, street people, oarsman, boat passengers, working class people, pastoral panoramic view, Bauls, mendicants, pigeons, umbrellas, and more have been supremely portrayed by Jamal Ahmed.


From the beginning of his artistic career, Jamal’s prime concerns are transparent beauty of nature, people's ecstasy, joy, longing, pain and yearning. As a socially conscious painter, Jamal closely observes the changing socio-economic scenario of the country. Pigeons, fishermen, disadvantaged people, lonely woman and their daily chores are recurrent themes in his paintings. The painter tries to express his feelings through simple compositions and colours, through soft and translucent tones. His paintings are distinct because of his malleable ground and subdued tone.His colours are romantic and dreamful, which is why his paintings are admired by art aficionados and viewers. A depiction of an intrinsic Bangladeshi sensibility is seen in fine riverscape and portraits of rural people.


Major Exhibitions:

Teacher Student Centre, University of Dhaka (1976); Gallery Alana, Oslo, Norway (1979); Warsaw, Poland (1981); Tsukuba University Gallery, Japan (1983); Tachi Art Gallery, Rsukuba, Japan (1983); Takita Art Gallery, Mito, Ibaraki, Japan (1984); Saju Art Gallery, Dhaka (1984); Gallery Keifu Gabo, Sakura Mura, Japan (1985); Osaka Form Gallery, Japan (1986); La Galerie, Dhaka (1986, 1991); Gallery Koji, Tsukuba, Japan (1988, 1989, 1991); Aalesund Kunstforening, Alesund, Norway (1990); Divine Art Gallery, Dhaka (1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997); Gallery Hirose, Tsukuba, Japan (1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001); Art Association Gallery, Melhus, Norway (1994); ART SPACE Gallery, Raleigh NC, USA (1995, 1998); Gallery Art Vivant, Charlotte North Carolina, USA (1996); Mitsukoshi Art Gallery, Sendi, Japan (1999, 2001, 2005); Gallery Expo 825, Dallas (2000); Kunji Art Gallery, Sendi, Japan (2002); Art Gallery, London (2003); J I Gallery, Karachi (2006); Solo Exhibition, London (2007); World Trade Center, Mumbai (2008); Gallery Chitrak, Dhaka (2008); Dhaka Art Center, Dhaka (2010); Tanzara Gallery, Islamabad (2012, 2014); NM Art Gallery, Dubai (2012)

Major Awards:

2ndAcrylic Award, International Miniature Art Show, Florida, USA (1992, 1993); 3rd Prize, International Miniature Art Show, Georgia Miniature Art Society, USA (1992); Gold Medal, National Art Exhibition, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka (1994); 2nd Prize in Drawing, Saju Art Gallery, Dhaka (1999); Award in Painting, Saju Art Gallery, Dhaka (2000); 2nd Best Prize, Artist's Association Exhibition, Dhaka (2000); Best Prize, National Art Exhibition, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka (2000); Hon’ble Mention, Asian Art Biennale, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka (2001); EkushePadak, Government of Bangladesh (2019)


Major Collections:

Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka; National Museum, Dhaka; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dhaka; Art Gallery, Warsaw, Poland;Levanger Art Association, Norway.


Monirul Islam

Monirul Islam | মনিরুল ইসলাম

b. August 1943: Jamalpur, Bangladesh

1966:  Bachelor of Fine Art, East Pakistan College of Arts & Crafts (now Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka), Bangladesh

1973:  Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, Spain


Present Position: Freelance Artist


Monirul Islam is celebrated as one of Bangladesh’s most significant contemporary artists in painting and in printmaking. Though he lived and worked in Madrid for more than 45 years, at present, he mostly spends his days in Dhaka. He is equally admired and valued as master artist both in Bangladesh and Spain, and also around the globe. He participated in more than 150 exhibitions around the world, and even today he is not tired in continuously engaged himself in work. His works reflect his ideology which is very wide and open, making him non-conformist, non-aligned. He does not create this character consciously, but his works define him as different. He plays with chance and emergence, he treads a path that leads him away from pitfalls that reestablishes the idea that he believes and promotes, ‘art should not be bound to any rules.’


We have seen that he follows this philosophy perfectly when it comes to picking up media. He is extremely versatile and creative in this respect. He improvises his media. He discovers every possibility – local natural pigments, ordinary and unconventional materials. He comfortable uses coffee dust, corrugated and abandoned packing materials, various papers from the waste, register books, old text books, periodicals or newspaper, marble chips, brick powder, vegetable dyes etc.


When he uses the old abandoned papers, sometime he plays with the printed portion of those and mysteriously allows some portion to be visible and forms an element of his message that comes to him with the power of epiphany. It means he reconstructs the meaning of an otherwise useless letterings or ordinary images. In this manner he easily brings newer dimension and texture in his work. These images often surprise him with their vividness. There Monir becomes content with his creation. He likes his art to surprise him every time he creates one. This gives him further energy to go to the next level.


While a student of Art College in Dhaka, legendary teachers like Safiuddin Ahmed and Mohammad Kibria had a crystalizing influence on Monir. But Monir went further. The basic achievement of his is to bring a flow in his etching and prints, making them alive like painting. In Spain, he had enough the entire world as his inspiration, Joan Miro and Antonio Tapies in one hand, Francisco Goya and Diego Velazquez on the other. As a result, he established himself as Monir – accomplished in using technique which made either his canvas or paper both reposeful and sublime while he cashed in on the transparency and fluidity of the colours. In the formative stage of his career in Spain, his openness to alternatives and innovative and improvising skills helped to shape the revolutionary form of the Spanish avant-garde artists’ works and his own works as well. He became known for his innovation of panoramic graphic art. The simultaneous referencing to Eastern and Western modes of imagery coupled with his innovations has given rise to what can be termed the ‘Monir School.’ This school also refers to Monir’s unique wash-like etching technique that gives the impression of a watercolour. Through this technique, he achieves fluidity and transparency that accentuate an element of sensuousness.


Nature in Bangladesh reveals itself in strong horizontal lines. Perhaps, therefore, Monir’s basic composition maintains that horizontal spread, and a subsuming spatial arrangement. Within this vast created space, he then puts his images – mostly in abstract contours. Monir blends familiar objects into the background to diminish their distinctiveness. A detailed and evocative use of colour adds force and meaning to his composition. Monir often garnishes his work with calligraphic jottings, many a time with Bangla script, and the lines from a poem that he quotes, or a stray thought that he records are important to understand a particular painting.


Artist Monirul Islam’s works talk of mankind – bliss and distress, fond memories and more. He consistently attempts to include new dimensions and original themes in his works. He ponders on structure and colour. Each work of his has a balance. But again, he claims, ‘everything is nothing.’ Therefore, he creates ‘nothing.’ He promotes ‘nothingness.’ His thoughts, his philosophy, emerging out of nothingness, translate into forms, little doodles, scribbles, sharp and bold lines, dots, small motifs, a great deal of symbols and fluid shapes that define the space he constructs as he keeps shifting between form and formlessness – maybe everything out of nothing.

Major Exhibitions:

Chandpur Public Library, Chandpur, Bangladesh (1965); Gallery Griffe & Escoda, Madrid (1970); Homage to Bangladesh, Gallery Daniel, Madrid (1972); Sala Meliá, Gallery Luis, Madrid (1972); French Club, Vienna (1972); Gallery Atenas, Zaragoza (1973); Atelier Kunst & Wohnen, Nürnberg, Germany (1974); Taksim Sanat Gallery, Istanbul (1975); Oxford, UK (1975, 1985); Gallery Formas, Alicante, Spain (1976); Gallery Mota, Madrid (1978); Karstad Geschafts Leitung, Cologne (1979); Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka (1979); Kunsthalle Roelant, Amsterdam (1980); Sultan Gallery, Kuwait (1981, 1989); Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Boston (1984); Salon National des Galeries d'Art, Hanover Fine Arts, Montreal (1984); Sala Conca, Tenerife (1979, 1986); Bronx Museum of Arts, New York (1986); Art Society of IMF, Washington DC (1986); Gallery Lienzo y Papel, Sevilla (1988); Gallery BAT, Madrid (1988, 1993); Iber Art Gallery, Bogota (1989); Gallery Tolmo, Toledo, Spain (1992, 1997);  Shilpangan Gallery, Dhaka (1993, 1997, 1999, 2004); Gallery Estampa, Madrid (1988, 1993, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001); Urban Gallery, Zaragoza (1997); Gallery Najera, Madrid (1998); Galería La Aurora, Murcia (1998); Gallery Arteko, San Sebastian, Spain (1999); Galería Bozzetto, Bilbao (1999); Rohtas  

Gallery, Islamabad (1999, 2000); Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts, Dhaka (2001, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2014); Galería de Arte, Madrid (2002, 2005); Galería Nuevo Arte, Sevilla (2007); Gallery Chitrak, Dhaka (2001, 2011); UNESCO, Paris (2015); Biennale Azuréenne, Cannes, France (1975); Print Biennial, Krakow (1975, 1980); Biennial of Graphics, Ljubljana (1977, 1979, 1981, 1985, 1987); FIAC Art Fair, Paris (1975, 1977, 1978); Exhibition of Original Drawings, Rijeka (1978, 1980); São Paulo Art Biennial, Brazil (1979); Impact Art Festival, Municipal Museum of Kyoto (1980, 1983); Intergraphic, Berlin (1980, 1984, 1990); ARCO Art Fair, Madrid (1982, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1993, 1994); Arteder, Bilbao (1982); San Francisco Museum of Modem Art (1983); Print Exhibition, Taiwan (1983, 2000); Norwegian Print Biennial, Fredrikstad (1978, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1989); Print Biennial Varna, Sofia (1985, 1989); Print Exhibition, El Ferrol, Spain (1985); Biennale of Graphic Art, Baghdad (1983, 1986); Asian Art Biennale, Dhaka (1983); Artes de San Fernando, Calcografía Nacional, Madrid (1984); Prints Biennial, Wakayama, Japan (1984, 1986); Bharat Bhavan Biennial of Prints, Rupankar Museum of Fine Arts, Bhopal, India (1986); SAGA, Grand Palais, Paris (1988); FLECHA Art Fair, Madrid (2000, 2001); Art Fair, Gallery Dionis Bennassar, Madrid (2006, 2014)

Major Awards:

Carmen Arozamena Prize, Egam Gallery, Madrid (1974); Palm of Gold, Beaux-Arts, Art Guild, Monte Carlo, Monaco (1976); Prize Winner, Norwegian International Print Biennial, Fredrikstad, Norway (1982); Prize Winner, International Print & Drawing Exhibition, Taiwan (1983); Purchase Award, Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California (1983); Accesit Award, El Ferrol, Spain (1985); National Award, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka (1985); Prize, Graphic Art, Baghdad (1985); Prize Winner, International Biennial of Print, Ljubljana, Yugoslavia (now Slovenia) (1985); Saddam Merit Prize, Baghdad International Art Festival, Iraq (1986); Prize Winner, International Biennial of Print, Ljubljana, Yugoslavia (now Slovenia) (1987); Special Mention, Bharat Bhavan Biennale of Prints, Bhopal, India (1987); Accesit for Prints, Calcografía Nacional, Madrid (1993); National Award of Etching, Calcografía Nacional, Madrid (1997); Ekushey Padak, Government of Bangladesh (1999); NRB Award, Scholars of Bangladesh (2007); Cross of Officer of the Order of Queen Isabella, Spain (2009); Berger Lifetime Achievement Award, Dhaka (2016); Royal Spanish Order of Merit, Spain (2018)


Major Collections:

Museum of Modern Art of Taiwan; Museum of Modern Art, Amman, Jordan; Museum of Modern Art, Baghdad; National Museum, Dhaka; Museum of Modern Art, Fredrikstad, Norway; Museum of Modern Art, Rijeka, Croatia; Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, Slovenia; Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan; Hanover Fine Arts, USA; Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama, Japan; Museum of Modern Graphic, Cairo; University of Minya, Egypt; Calcografia, Nacional, Madrid; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid

Rafique Nabi
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b. November 1943: Chapai Nawabganj, Bangladesh


1970: Bachelor of Fine Art, East Pakistan College of Arts and Crafts (now Faculty of Fine Art), University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

1976: Printmaking, Athens School of Fine Arts, Greece


Present Position: Supernumerary Professor, Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh



Rafiqun Nabi has earned quick fame with his witty cartoons but he is a veteran landscape and figurative painter. He is also a leading master in the country in wood engravings and printing. His works reflect an artist's reactions to the mysteries of nature. Sharp shadows and melting tones give his paintings a transcendental appeal. Nabi feels that landscape paintings have an ethereal touch.


Rafiqun Nabi started his career with watercolours. He colours the changing seasons, rivers and the quiet and contented rural households. His colours are iridescent and immediate, as if rising from green fields, dark clouds and blue waters. His strength in drawing and watercolour lies in the way he evokes a feeling of empathy in his viewers. The world he portrays is never remote, indeed like Marc Chagall’s village of memory, it is some place we are never far away from. Nabi has something of the spirit of Paul Gauguin when he interprets nature in his watercolous. Nabi discovers the dynamic relationship between various tones and their inner harmony.

Nabi uses his landscapes and figurative paintings to evoke memories of the past. The noted painter still recollects the memories of his childhood in his birthplace, Chapai Nawabganj. Consequently, a number of distinctive themes have appeared recurrently in his paintings: life of fishermen and boatmen, herds of cows and buffalos, day labourers, crows, kingfishers, goats, wild flowers and people at leisure chatting. Interrelationship - among man, animal and nature - is another noticeable subject in his paintings.


Nabi loves to depict stories in his canvas. He has chosen a certain language for describing the stories; as part of his experiment, he has been eagerly studying movements of figures and arrangements of compositions for a long time. In this sense, he is very meticulous about his composition and arrangement of figures. The painter is known for his subtle approach. His works are seemingly time-consuming and the artist goes great lengths to detail his subjects. The paintings' backgrounds are usually engrossed with large compositions and diverse vague forms, which carry his personal hallmark.

Nabi is an artist who adheres to experimental realism. Mingling romanticism and impressionism, at times, the artist also portrays urban milieu where architectural lines and thorough use of space are highlights. His continuous changes in his compositions make his works interesting and impressionistic. The artist also arranges motifs in different combinations according to light and shade. The manner of drawing is a predominant aspect in his paintings. The painter feels that drawings are a reflection of personal observations of an artist. It is the fundamental foundation of art.


Throughout his works, Rafiqun Nabi demonstrated his brilliant skill in composition. This he achieved through line and tone, through light and shade and through organization of figurative elements or landscape. He creates pictorial space in his canvas through his composition. He often breaks the symmetry for highlighting his subject, and generates depth of his canvas.

Rafique Nabi | জামাল আহমেদ

Major Exhibitions:

Solo - Campion School, Athens (1976); Bangladesh Collage of Arts & Crafts, Dhaka (1981); Bishwo Shahitto Kendro, Dhaka (1983); Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka (1985); Non-Aligned Countries’ Gallery, Titograd, former Yugoslavia (now Serbia); Shilpangan Gallery, Dhaka (1998); Gallery Chitrak, Dhaka (2004, 2010); Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts, Dhaka (2006, 2013);  Dhaka Art Center (2013); Group - 16 Painter’s Show, Dhaka (1964); Tehran Biennial, Iran (1966); Cartoon Exhibition, Dhaka (1971); Sketch Exhibition, Dhaka (1972); Exhibition of Contemporary Art of Bangladesh - Kolkata (1973, 1994); New Delhi (1973, 1994); Mumbai (1973, 2004); Beijing (1989); Paris (1992); Moscow (1995); Bonn (1999); Agartala, India (2005); National Art Exhibition, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka (1977-2005); Prints of Bangladesh, Yugoslavia (1977); Germany (1977); Poland (1977); Rumania (1977); Asia Pacific Museum, Warsaw (1989); Kolkata (1993); International Saloon of Cartoons, Canada (1978); Asian Graphic Design Biennial, Tehran (1979); Inter Graphic, Berlin, GDR (1980, 1984, 1988); Contemporary Asian Art Show, Fukuoka. Japan (1980); Asian Art Biennial, Dhaka (1981-2006); Festival of Asian Art, Hong Kong (1981); Triennial India, New Delhi (1982); British Print Biennial, Bradford, UK (1984); Print Biennial, Oslo (1984); Drawing Exhibition, Rejeka, Yugoslavia (now Serbia) (1986, 1988); Graphic Print Biennial, Ljubljana, Yugoslavia (now Serbia) (1987); Print of Asia &and Africa, Vienna. (1988); Contemporary Art of Islamic World, London

1989); Osaka Triennial, Osaka (1994); Saju Art Gallery, Dhaka (2000); Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts, Dhaka (2000, 2005); Gallery Chitrak, Dhaka (2000, 2001)


Major Awards:

Promoter’s Prize, Intergraphic, Berlin (1980); Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Award, Dhaka (1989); Ekushey Padak, Government of Bangladesh, Dhaka (1993); Agrani Bank Award, Children Book Design, Dhaka (1995); Agrani Bank Award for Juvenile Novel, Dhaka (1995); Tri-Taranga Gold Medal, Chottogram (2000); Artist SM Sultan Padak, Narail (2002); National Book Centre Prizes for Children Book Cover for 13 times, Dhaka (1968-1990)

Farida Zaman
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Farida Zaman | ফরিদাজামান

b. April 1953: Chandpur, Bangladesh


1974: Bachelor of Fine Art, Bangladesh Government College of Arts & Crafts(now Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka), Dhaka, Bangladesh

1978: Master of Fine Art, Maharaja Sivaji Roy University, Baroda, India

1995: Ph.D,Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan, India


Present Position: Professor, Department of Drawing & Painting, Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh


Farida Zaman has developed a very distinct style of painting at a very early stage of his artistic career. Human life and nature of Bangladesh is the prime focus in her painting. A noticeable feature of her works is the representation of riverine life in Bangladesh. She painted the fishing community which she observed in her childhood very closely with extreme passion and fervor. Her works movingly articulate the lives and struggle of fishermen and women. Fish, fishing net, bird, cat, flora and fauna, boat, river, pond and dusky women are some recurring subjects in her paintings. All of these are like indispensable members of the riverine fishing community. Women in her canvas have discrete character. They do not come with their beautiful look rather her women reflect flexibility, sometimes reflect helplessness and vulnerability. Her women, like other living beings, often takes surrealist form with elongated neck and thin body parts, perhaps to express their susceptibility. Her distinct style of painting comes from easy flowing brush with thinly applied paint, transparent and often dominated by browns and blues. In addition, she also uses crimson, blue, yellow, orange, brown, black and other bold hues. This enabled her to create vibrant, cool and warm canvas and able to create very beautifully balanced visual experience. 


Increasingly Farida has become concerned and anxious with water, and now indeed with its scarcity rather than abundance. She looks at Bangladesh’s landscape from above like a bird and finds small and narrow strips of water. It reflects the scarcity of water, perhaps due to climate change, a global phenomenon. The fish has disappeared, yet the fishing birds still hang around searching for fish but with little luck. Even the fishing nets are often empty in her canvas. Therefore, Farida does not reflect only on the natural beauty of the rivers and fishing ambience but more on the struggle that various elements and characters face day to day in the fishing villages and rural areas. This way, Farida expressed her social commitment and reminds us that she hails from an area in Bangladesh which is known for river and for fishing.


Farida Zaman has a wonderful sense of balance in her compositions in terms of spatial forms, lines and detail design within forms. Her colours compliment her composition. Sometimes she creates large void in the canvas. This is inspired by the presence of waterbody in the landscape of Bangladesh. In addition, she uses lines and dots to fill up the voids to expand it even further. Her paintings are mostly expressive, abstract in form, soothing for eyes, provocative for mind. One of the interesting features about her painting is that she uses very less elements in the canvas, but she brings in huge variation of colour tone to fill up the absence of more elements. Thus, her paintings are comfortable to watch.


Her canvas pulsates with movement – the fish jumping to escape the net that closes in on them, the swirling water with numerous light points flowing all around. The details are only suggestively put the fishing net, for example, maybe only a few tangled lines of gray and black with strong vertical accent. One may read a sociological interpretation in the images; the fish represents human beings locked up in a struggle for survival and the net as repressive agent. This is how Farida Zaman expresses her social consciousness.


Major Exhibitions:

Solo - Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka (1979, 1983); Divine Art Gallery, Dhaka (1995), Chitrak Art Gallery, Dhaka (2000, 2002); Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts, Dhaka (2006, 2013); Nature & Life, Jamini Roy Gallery, Rabindranath Tagore Center, ICCR, Kolkata (2010); Group -White Chapel Art Gallery, London (1979); Asian Art Festival, Fukuoka (1980); Noma Konkor, Tokyo (1984); EIMAS, Hiroshima (1986); Salon de Tokyo (1987); 5th Art Triennial, New Delhi (1982); Busan Biennial, Korea (1987); National Art Exhibitions, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka (1975–2004); Asian Art Biennale, Dhaka (1981–2008); various exhibitions, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka (1994, 1996, 2006, 2011); Women Artists Association of Bangladesh Art Exhibition, Dhaka (2004, 2005); Beijing Olympic, China (2008); and Contemporary Bangladesh Art Exhibitions - Hong Kong (1979); Beijing (1981); Bulgaria (1982); Bonn (1994); Kolkata (1994); Germany (1999); Gallery Hill Gate, Kyoto (1999);Sudo Art Museum, Tokyo (2001); Paris (2002); Seoul (2010); Maldives (2011); Australia (2014); Katmandu (2016); Chelsea, New York (2016); Bangkok (2016)


Major Awards:

1stPrize in Painting, Baroda, India (1977); Young Artist Gold Medal, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka (1979); Commendation Award, 5thTriennial, New Delhi, India (1982); National Book Center Award for Children Book Illustration, Bangladesh (1986); Gold Medal, Beijing Olympic, China(2008); Bangladesh Mahila Parishad Award, Dhaka (2009)

Major Collections:

Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan; Kusan International Art Gallery, Korea; Bangladesh National Museum, Dhaka; Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka; Shahid Smriti Museum, Rajshahi, Bangladesh; Asiatic Society of Bangladesh; President’s House, Dhaka.

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Mohammad Iqbal

Mohammad Iqbal | মোহাম্মদইকবাল

b.June 1967: Chuadanga, Bangladesh


1987: Bachelor of Fine Art, Dept. of Drawing & Painting, Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka

1989: Master of Fine Art, Dept. of Drawing & Painting, Faculty of Fine Art), University of Dhaka

2001: Diploma in Oil Painting, Dept. of Visual Arts, Aichi University of Education, Japan

2003: Master of Education in Painting, Dept. of Visual Arts, Aichi University of Education, Japan

2006: Completed Doctoral Program Coursework in Oil Painting, Hiroshima City University, Japan

2007: Research Course in Fine Arts, Dept. of Oil Painting, Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan

2010: PhD in Fine Arts in Oil Painting, Dept. of Oil Painting, Faculty of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan


Present Position: Associate Professor, Department of Drawing & Painting, Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka


Mohammad Iqbal appeared in the art scene in the 1990s with his strong philosophical themes, experimental paintings and impulsive spirit. Distortion of human form opens up the possibility of abstraction in painting. In Iqbal’s work, an ambivalent relationship is detected between the representation of the human form and the abstract possibility of the picture plain. The expressiveness soften encountered in German expressionism as well as in some form of late cubism has a weak hold over the artists’ recent oeuvre making his area of exploration – especially the pictorial possibilities – rather uncertain. He tries to transform matter into force and shape and forms into visual metaphors. Iqbal presents the ‘seen’ and ‘unseen’ models using human faces.


For him seen is purposefully deformed in order to evoke the unseen. Dual faces, dual images, multiple images – as a result naturalism that he draws on no longer remains natural.


In his own words, Iqbal describes his recent works under the title, ‘Tranquility in the Time of Uncertainty:My dispute, My Painting.’ The excerpts are as under:


‘The war and crime, religious grudge and racial conflict arbitrarily exist in this civilized world. The development of philosophy, science and technology have contributed enormously in achieving human development and betterment of the mankind. Unfortunately, while at the peak of the evolution of human development, certain acts against nation, society and environment have jeopardized the progress. At the same time, the civilization has gradually been transformed into a mechanical state and has incorporated practice of anti-humanism and fanaticism. This imbalance has affected our environment that accommodates both the humankind and animal class. As an artist, I try to portray the environment as well as the living beings – the helpless, tortured and conflict stricken children as a subject of my dispute to the cruelty of anti-humanism. My representation of face reflects happiness and sorrow, grief and pain, and uncertainty and fear. The expressions are unambiguously expressed through eyes and faces. This is why children’s faces have become subject of my painting. The pain, insecurity and fear of the mentally disabled children are mirrored through their eyes and faces. The issues of my paintings are derived from the reality, various media information and other sources in my surrounding.


The subject and introductory thoughts of my paintings are sequentially illustrated in the thesis entitled “Civilization and Destruction”. I believe the subject is very important in my painting and thus, the hints and introduction in the subject selection are divided into three parts with relevant information and sketches. The focus on the subjects include mentally shattered children in the war and conflict; environmental pollution and the children affected by the environmental imbalance; and child labour, slavery and children troubled by the acts of anti-humanism.


Some childhood memories stay forever. Some of my childhood memories are horrific and still fresh. I was four years old in 1971 during the Liberation War of Bangladesh. The fear and suffering of the war have comes back to my mind seeing the consecutive wars and conflicts in recent time. The dead bodies of the innocent children and the faces of the survived - handicapped or orphans make regular headlines in the mass media. These recollect my childhood memories of the frightening 1971 war. Losing their parents and family, many orphan or street children are growing up in today’s world. In some region, war and conflict have been a common phenomenon. Children in these parts of the world have spontaneously adopted the consequences of the war. They are becoming young within an environment of aggression, fear and uncertainty.

Mental disruption in a child’s life shakes me with deep empathy and sorrow. Therefore, the evidence of the subject selection of my painting has emanated from the experience of unkindness to children.Their oppressive and shattered condition has been my focus. I gave special concentration on the figuration of children’s facial moods and expressions by using subtle lines and deep shades. In doing so, I created paintings like a chiaroscuro effect - distributing light and shade giving a two-dimensionality with grey and transparent background.


Facial expression of the human being is my prime interest. I tried to express the emotions of human nature - sorrow, happiness, melancholy, illness and laughter through face. My faces are universal and impersonal. Usually they are drawn from my imagination and recollection of the past which reflect my thought and view point on different phenomena of life. In drawing the faces, I try to show the big facial portrait of a number of faces in a transparent manner. I use oil colour for painting. From top to bottom, the ground was created using ten or twelve layers of oil colour. The whole background was brought into an engraved effect. In the backdrop of greyish tone, a thin line of sketchy style was drawn to bring out the details of the faces. It may also be noticeable in general that I have tried to keep the monochrome in executing the figuration and background.Round and curvy dot-like background shapes in almost all my paintings are my unique trait and style. These dot-like shapes symbolize the air and environmental pollution. This symbol is derived from my own imagination which is nevertheless my own psyche. These round dotted shape or bubble like form spreading all over the background are my imaginary aesthetics, projecting the imbalance in the nature. Again, this symbol is a reflection of the urge to create a secure livelihood, a good future, a beautiful habitat and a war free and pollution-free environment for the children. Furthermore, the dotted shapes in my paintings have become the symbol of my dispute.’


Major Exhibitions:

Solo - La Galerie, Dhaka (1992); Gallery 21, Dhaka (1998);Toyota Municipal Museum of Art Gallery, Toyota, Japan (2003);Gallery Kikyu, Okazaki, Japan (2005);K's Gallery, Tokyo (2006);Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts, Dhaka (2007); Gallery MoMo, Tokyo (2009); Yoseido Gallery, Tokyo (2010); Gallery Koseto, Tokyo (2013); Gallery Kaya, Dhaka (2015); Galerie Ciel, Mito City, Japan (2015); Gallery Chayamachi, Osaka (2016); Edge Gallery, Dhaka (2018); Holbein Gallery, Osaka (2018); Group - Sharjah Art Biennale, UAE (1995, 1997); Art Triennial, Osaka (1996); Asian Art Biennale, Dhaka (1997, 2018); Triennial India, New Delhi (1997); Bonn (1999);Las Vegas Art Museum, USA (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004); Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum (2002); Two Allen Center, Houston, USA (2002);Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art (2002); Koriyama City Art Museum, Fukushima, Japan (2003); Axes Gallery, Tokyo (2005); Asia House, London (2010); National Art Gallery, Maldives (2010);University Art Museum, Tokyo (2010);National Academy of Arts, New Delhi (2011); Korea Foundation Cultural Center, Seoul (2011); Alliance Française, Paris (2011); Museum Art Gallery, Mumbai (2011); Setouchi Triennial, Japan (2013);Alliance Française, Melbourne (2014); UNESCO, Paris (2015); Dhaka Art Summit, Samdani Art Foundation, Dhaka (2016);ICCR Gallery, Kolkata(2017); Nepal Academy of Fine Arts, Katmandu (2018); Atrium City Hall, the Hague (2018); Dangjin City Hall Gallery, South Korea (2018)


Major Awards:

Special Prize, Painting Triennial, Osaka (1993); Grand Prize, Young Artists’ Exhibition, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka (1994, 1998);Silver Prize, Shinwa Art Exhibition, Okayama, Japan (2002);City Mayor Award, Maebashi Art Compe Live, Maebashi, Japan (2005);Grand Prize, National Memorial Exhibition of Aoki, Kurome City, Japan (2005);Grand Prize, Doctoral Program Final Exhibition, Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan (2010);Shortlisted for International Emerging Artist Award, Dubai (2013)


Major Collections:

National Art Gallery, Dhaka; Contemporary Art & Cultural Center, Osaka, Japan; Bangladesh National Museum, Dhaka; Prime Minister’sOffice, Dhaka; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dhaka; Central Bank, Dhaka; Bengal Foundation, Dhaka; Alliance Française, Dhaka; Bridge Stone Art Museum, Tokyo; University Art Museum of Tokyo University of the Arts;National Academy of Art, New Delhi; Prime Minister of Japan H.E. Mr. Shinzō Abe.

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Mustapha Khalid Palash
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Mustapha Khalid Palash | মুস্তাফাখালীদপলাশ

b. September 1963: Dhaka, Bangladesh


1986: Bachelor of Architecture, Department of Architecture, Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology, Dhaka, Bangladesh


Present Position: Freelance Artist and Architect in practice


Mustapha Khalid Palash is one of the most acclaimed architects in the country. Though he studied architecture and adopted the discipline as his prime profession, yet from his childhood, he was a prolific painter and even today he is such passionate in art that he wrote his name among the leading contemporary artists of the country. Palash is an architect, a painter, graphic designer, publisher, musician and also a connoisseur, promoter and a strong advocate of music, art, architecture and culture. He is a modernist by instinct. He is inclined towards abandoning the realm of appearances in pursuit of absolute, pure form. It implies not only for his paintings but for his architecture as well as graphic design. For him abstraction is not simply self-referential rather it represents a powerful way of perceiving and ultimately transforming the world. He believes that art does not lose any of its expressive power or meaning when divorced from the tangible world. In fact through the formal expression of pure sensation he hopes to discover a universal visual language able to transcend mundane experience and place the viewer in touch with ultimately the spiritual world.


Many terms have been employed to describe and identify this kind of non-imitative works of art produced throughout 20th century, including abstract, non-objective and nonrepresentational. All these terms refer to an art that depends solely on colour, line and shape for its imagery rather than motifs drawn from observable reality. Early exponents of pure abstraction were Kupka, Maveirch, Kandinsky, Arp, Delaunay and Mondrian among others. The paintings created by Palash are of pure colour, fractured by light, virtually eliminate any recognizable vestiges of the observed world. He abandoned even the presence of subject creating an abstract world of vibrating colour forms with pure musical sensation.


In his pure abstract paintings, composition is the fullest expression of his art. Rationally ordered structure suggests that harmony supersedes the apparently chaotic upheavals of the surface of the painting. In some of his paintings colouristic aspects merge with the architectonic approach of his painting. In his work, at all circumstances, he performs with great aplomb.


His pure abstract painting is the result of the articulation of the constructed colour, space and structure on the canvas. His abstract or non-objective painting purifies itself by rejecting description, story or illustration so that the viewer can experience pure aesthetic pleasure like that of instrumental music. From the outset he learned to translate sensuous, visual experience into broad fields of colour structured in relation to the flatness of the picture plane. A cool formalist and colourist and in the context of his art he eschewed almost personal association of his experience in favour of meanings more generally evocative of the interaction between inner and outer world.


Additionally, contrast of freedom and control in his work seems to evolve from his personal struggle to mitigate between intuitive expression and calculated abstracted form. He needs now to continue and gradually evolve and devote more towards drawing and painting in order to achieve greater insight.

Major Exhibitions: Solo - Water Colour, Drawings, Dhaka (1978); Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka (2009); Dhaka Art Centre, Dhaka (2011);Hot Bread Cool Wall, Dhaka (2013);Abinta Gallery of Fine Arts, Dhaka (2013);Group - Asian Art Biennale, Dhaka (2016, 2018); and several other group exhibitions at home and abroad


Major Awards: ShilpacharyaZainul Award for Painting, ShilpacharyaZainulParishad (2012); Berger Commendation Award for Excellence in Architecture, Berger Paints, Dhaka(2011);3rdPrize, Holcim Green Built Bangladesh for designing Grameenphone Corporate Head Office (2011); 1stPrize, Design Competition for the head office building of Jamuna Bank, Dhaka (2010); Berger Award for Excellence in Architecture,Berger Paints, Dhaka (2007);Award Winning Entry, in an international design competition for Grameenphone Corporate Head Office Focus Countries’ ‘Architect of the Year Award’ instituted by JK Cement, India (2003);IAB Design Award, Institute of Architects, Dhaka (1998); 1stPrize, Design Competition for the head office building of Peoples Insurance, Dhaka (1998); Best Award, Charred Competition, Chetana & Aga Khan Programme for Islamic Architecture & MIT-Harvard University (1987); Habibur Rahman Award, Department of Architecture, Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology, Dhaka


Major Collections: Various corporate and private collectors in home and abroad