The river is my master
Promiti Prova Chowdhury Arts & Culture

Bangladeshi painters in their quest for identity

    Photo- Sheikh Afzal-Childhood Memory
    Photo- Madonna - Nizar Hossain
  • Self Analysis - Ranjit Das  
    Photo- Mehedi Hasan

Every artistic piece, be it painting, literature or film, can be considered an attempt of the creator to reach his roots. In line with that practice, 50 pieces by 50 Bangladeshi artists are being presented in this exhibition.  

Soul Searching aims to look into the roots of the modern era of Bangladeshi art, which sprang from the influence of Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin, SM Sultan, Qamrul Hassan and Safiuddin Ahmed. To discover their own identity within a newly formed nation, they eventually relied on the cultural and environmental heritage of Bangladesh. 

“The river is my master,” Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin famously said, and he always identified the river of Brahmaputra as the muse of his artistic exploration. After many explorations across South Asia and the globe, he mastered his artistic identity by returning to nature – back to the riverbank where he was born. 

Even as the urban entity grew prominent in contemporary Bangladesh, the artists of that generation sought their own identity through the local vernacular, be it urban or rural. 

The work exhibited will portray elements like soil, nature and different aspects of the nation. Most of the work is done with oil and acrylics. 

“Each of the paintings has a language. However, the interpretation depends on the spectator, how they choose to analyse it,” Md Muniruzzaman, the curator of the exhibition, told the Dhaka Tribune. 

Muniruzzaman said he believes these prominent artists created something new in order to reach back to their past, be it culture, country or one’s existence. However, every artist tries to bring out their best on the canvas, but only a few of them can become immortal, he opined.   

The exhibition incorporates both the internationally acclaimed legends as well as the subsequent generation of artists who learned from them.

This collection will allow viewers to see how these influences directly or indirectly affected the next generation of artists.



Participating artists

Sheikh Afzal
Jamal Ahmed
Kazi Salahuddin Ahmed
Shahabuddin Ahmed
Najma Akhter
Abul Barq Alvi
Rashid Amin
Atia Islam Anne
Murtaja Baseer
Golam Faruque Bebul
Kanak Chanpa Chakma
Samarjit Roy Chowdhury
Ranjit Das
Chandra Shekhar Dey
Mohammad Eunus
Tarun Ghosh
Bishwajit Goswami
Mahmudul Haque
Mustafizul Haque
Naima Haque
Gulshan Hossain
Nisar Hossain
Mohammad Iqbal
Monirul Islam
Syed Jahangir
Fareha Jeba
Tejosh Halder Josh
Saidul Haque Juis
Shahid Kabir
Kalidas Karmakar
Hashem Khan
Hamiduzzaman Khan
Hasan Mahmud
Dhali Al Mamoon
Nazlee Laila Mansur
Khalid Mahmud Mithu
Rafiqun Nabi
Ahmed Nazir
Maksuda Iqbal Nipa
Imran Hossain Piplu
KMA Quayyum
Wakilur Rahman
Dilruba Latif Rosy
Shyamal Chandra Sarkar
Abdus Shakoor Shah
Ahmed Shamsuddoha
Biren Shome
Rokeya Sultana
Farida Zaman

Promiti Prova Chowdhury

Promiti Prova Chowdhury is a journalist.

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