An international icon of Bangladeshi Art | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 11, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 11, 2017

An international icon of Bangladeshi Art

Happy Birthday, Shahabuddin Ahmed

Today is the 67th birth anniversary of internationally-famous Bangladeshi artist Shahabuddin Ahmed. He was born on September 11, 1950. The freedom fighter's bold brush has famously depicted the epic Liberation War of Bangladesh.

Shahabuddin's paintings delve into the contemporary life and times. He is an optimist and this is evidently expressed in his paintings. Bold strokes, vibrant colour and figurative expressions are the hallmark of his works. The conscience and the indomitable spirit of the Liberation War have frequently appeared as prominent connotations on his canvas.

Many artists work while listening to the music of Beethoven, Mozart, or stalwarts of Indian classical music. Shahbuddin Ahmed rather renders his melodic thoughts into his canvas. “Creativity or invention is the crop and legacy of world civilisation. We should make the best use of this for the overall benefit of humanity,” believes the painter, who has exhibited his artworks worldwide, including prestigious venues such as the same gallery in Paris, France where Francis Bacon's works were exhibited.

The artist hoisted the Bangladeshi flag in erstwhile East Pakistan Radio at 11:30am on December 16, when the Pakistan army was yet to surrender. But, he knew what was going to happen. “This was the indomitable spirit and I kept that up. I take pride in that. I fought a nine-month battle of freeing my motherland. This is the glorious part of my life,” said Shahabuddin Ahmed in a previous conversation with The Daily Star.

“I was deeply influenced by the magical motion and movement of the artworks by my Guru, Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin, prior to my entering Dhaka Art College (Now Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka). From then, it was my dream to be like him someday. I obtained scholarship to study at Ecole des beaux-arts de Paris. I have been influenced by almost all world-renowned artists, except Vincent Van Gogh. I feel like masters such as Goya, Rembrandt, Eugène Delacroix, Michaelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci are my family,” he added.

Shahabuddin's paintings are displayed in many prestigious galleries across the globe, including Museum Olympic Laussane, Switzerland and Bourn-En Brasse Museum, France. He was bestowed with an award at the Olympiad of Arts, Barcelona, in 1992 and awarded the French title Chevalier De L'ordre Des Arts Et Des Lettres (Knight in the Order of Fine Arts and Humanities) by the Ministry for Cultural Affair and Communication of France in 2014. He also received the Shadhinata Padak in 2000 and Bangla Academy Award in 1974.

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