Saju Art Gallery in Gulshan is now touching 40 years of promoting contemporary Bangladeshi art. It is a flagship enterprise within the fraternity, having witnessed the evolution and growth of art in the country. Established in 1974 by Ramij Ahmed Chowdhury Saju, the gallery was intimately acquainted with the artists of the first generation in the country. And the gallery also spawned many others, to be followed by generations after them. Young artists of the '60s and '70s, recognised as celebrated artists of today have all had their first solo shows at the gallery. The gallery caters to collectors of the paintings of masters, and investors; it also showcases works purely for aesthetic reasons for those with a deep and enduring passion for art.
The gallery started an art exhibition, titled “Grand Group Art Exhibition”, in 1977 which has gradually become the biggest annual art show in this country. At this year's exhibition, masters, renowned as well as emerging artists are showcasing their works. About 127 artworks featuring 87 artists are on display at the exhibition. Artworks of Quamrul Hassan, SM Sultan, Safiuddin Ahmed, Aminul Islam, Murtaja Baseer, Syed Jahangir, Shamsul Islam Nizami, Samarjit Roy Chowdhury, Rafiqun Nabi, Monirul Islam and others add a distinct value to the collection of artworks on display.
Quamrul Hassan was recognised for retrieving our folk and traditional elements through his art. At the exhibition, his woodcut mingles romanticism with realism, focusing on strong curved lines, contours, and contrasted use of shade.
As a self- taught painter, SM Sultan delved deep into rural life, especially fishermen, peasants, labourers and their simple lives. His two drawings are on display, where a dancing figure in one and a primitive face in the other have been highlighted.
At 83, Murtaja Baseer has been critically ill recently, but his impressive drawing at the exhibition reveals his unparalleled creativity in the field of arts. The simple drawing articulates mingling of a woman's beauty with a mystic vibe.
Monirul Islam always produces different genres of prints. However, over the years, he has focused more on painting. Currently, his application of paint is profound and the lines are more minimised; colours give the impression of being both quiet and vivacious. His “Lemon Rain” attracts with mellow base and subdued colours.
Also on display are works of artists Abu Taher, Mahmudul Haque, Syed Abdullah Khalid, Abul Barq Alvi, Biren Shome, Abdus Shakoor, Kamal Kabir, Shahabuddin Ahmed, Ranjit Das, Mohammad Eunus, Kanak Chanpa Chakma, Mohammad Iqbal, Goutam Chakraborty, Anisuzzaman and others.
As a painter, Biren Shome's growth has been slow and steady. Over the years, he immersed himself in semi and pure abstraction. At the exhibition, his painting on display delves deep into abstract expressionism. Flamboyant colours, both mellow and uneven textures as well as composition are the main features.
Ranjit Das is a painter who focuses on time, life and various social, political and cultural issues. The artist has been consistently experimenting. His works appear to us with a novel appearance and contemplation on our existence.
Kamal Kabir is an introverted painter who particularly concentrates on the underwater world. He subsumes himself deep in a world of tranquility. Fish are the predominant aspects of his works. His canvas is a space where rich texture and thick colours join into one another.
Mohammad Eunus' “Composition” bears witness to the madness of current times in an eruption of vicious shades in different layers. The eruption of colours is accompanied by contrast, and the reality of texture is created in the abstract expression.
Goutam is known for his miniature paintings. In search of perfection, he devotes much time to a single piece of work. The painter has distinguished himself as a remarkable artist, revealing his creativity by using alluring forms, subtle and subdued colours on canvases with refreshing and lyrical forms.His world of animals is rich in symbolic effects. It consists of cats, horses and elephants.
Anisuzzaman, who is known almost exclusively for his delicate and intricately balanced woodcut prints of structures or construction materials, has recently been drawn to traditional boats of Bengal of various shapes and sizes. He loves to capture boats in close-ups.
Jamal Ahmed, Ahmed Shamsudohha, Sheikh Afzal Hossain and Mohammad Muniruzzaman have great similarity in their mode of expression, particularly realism.
Jamal Ahmed is presently the chairman of the Department of Drawing and Painting of the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka. For a long time, Bengal's scenic beauty as well as nubile women in all their curvaceous beauty, bucolic panoramic view, metropolis, bauls, mendicants, working class and more have been supremely depicted by the realist painter.
Ahmed Shamsudohha's photo-realism always captivates art enthusiasts. His “Sundarban” denotes the riverbank where some boats are scattered on the sand. Tranquil blue water of the river touching the bank and the image clearly demonstrates a sweet sunny day.
Among the participating artists, Hamiduzzaman Khan, Abul Barq Alvi, Alokesh Ghosh, Chandra Shekher Dey, Farida Zaman, Gulshan Hossain, Samiran Chowdhury, Anukul Majumdar, Abdul Aziz and others are earnest painters in the Dhaka art scene and regularly exhibit their works at various galleries in the city. At the exhibition, a number of painters' intellectually driven works are also set to get a new look with the exposition. The artists include Swapan Chowdhury, Mizanur Rahim, Mostafizul Haque, Mokhlesur Rahman, Laila Sharmeen, Faruque Ahmed and others.