Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com
Today is the 109th anniversary of the birth of Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin.
On the occasion, different organisations and admirers will pay tribute to Zainul Abedin placing floral wreaths on his grave on the Dhaka University premises in the morning.
Zainul is best known for his sketches of the Bengal famine of 1943 and spearheading establishment of the DU fine arts faculty.
Vice-chancellor of the university professor ASM Maksud Kamal will inaugurate a three-day Zainul Utsab at Bakultala of the FFA at 10:00am today. Besides, the faculty will organise discussions and an awards ceremony.
Zainul Abedin was born in Kishoreganj on December 29, 1914. He developed a passion for fine arts in his early teens.
He enrolled at Kolkata Government Art School in 1932 and completed his graduation with distinction. The artist left Kolkata after the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947.
In the following year, he pioneered the establishment of Dhaka Art Institute and became its principal in 1949.
The institute, later made the fine arts faculty of Dhaka University, was the hub of fine arts practices in the then East Pakistan and remains so to this day.
He also played a key role in establishing the fine arts department at Peshawar University in the then West Pakistan.
Zainul Abedin blended the traditional ways and styles of fine arts and the western ones. He always patronised traditional crafts and paintings at every festival the institute held.
He collected a large number of traditional crafts, ceramic works, nakshi kanthas and preserved them.
In 1959, Zainul was conferred the Hilal-e-Imtiaz, the second highest government accord, by the then Pakistan government.
He took early retirement of his own accord from the Dhaka Art Institute in 1967 and was conferred the honorary title of Shilpacharya, great master of fine arts, by the institute.
In 1970, Zainul painted a 65-feet narrative scroll titled Nabanna, depicting rural Bengal, and another 29-feet scroll titled Manpura, portraying the effect of the 1970 cyclone that devastated the coastal areas of the country.
In 1971, Zainul formed the Charu O Karu Shilpi Sangram Parishad and also repudiated the Hilal-e-Imtiaz.
In 1973, Zainul received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Delhi University. He was made a national professor in 1975.
He founded the Folk Art Museum at Sonargaon in Narayanganj and the Zainul Abedin Sangrahashala, a gallery of his own works, in Mymensingh in 1975.
The versatile artist died on May 28, 1976, after suffering from lung cancer for a few years.