Today marks the 5th death anniversary of eminent painter and printmaker Shilpaguru Safiuddin Ahmed. One of the founders of Dacca Art College (now the Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka), he was a friend and colleague of Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin. From 1948 to 1979, he served as head of the Department of Printmaking at the institution.
He passed away on May 20, 2012 at the age of 90.
Safiuddin Ahmed's art mainly focuses on rural panorama, pastoral life, landscapes, memories of 1971, the Language Movement, floods and other natural calamities as well as Santal life.
Safiuddin was known for his woodcut engravings. He devoted much time to a single piece of painting and print. Black is the predominant aspect in his work. From the beginning, the maestro experimented with black and its mysterious tones, tenors and layers of colour. Most of his colours look muted and he conveyed the message of peace and harmony. His paintings are technique-oriented as well. His lines have created a distinct language where one can learn about his perseverance, longing and devotion to art.
Some of his outstanding achievements as an artist included the President's Gold Medal (1945) by Academy of Fine Arts, Calcutta; first prize in the category of black and white in International Contemporary Art Exhibition, New Delhi (1946); first prize in the category of black and white (etching and drawing) in Inter-Asian Art Exhibition in New Delhi (1947) and Patna Maharaja's Gold Medal (1947). He was a proud recipient of the Ekushey Padak and Shadhinota Puroshkar.
His first solo exhibition was held in 2008 by the Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts, on his 86th birthday. A two-part exhibition was later held in December 2010, with all his works, titled “Shilper Oshesh Alo”.
Faculty of Fine Art of University of Dhaka, Bengal Foundation, Gallery Chitrak and other organisations are set to pay tributes to the artist by placing wreaths at his grave at the mausoleum premises of our National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.