Celebrated artist Mohammad Iqbal and his soulmate, artist Maksuda Iqbal Nipa shared their mutual understanding, love, lending a hand in each other's professional endeavours and more, in a conversation with The Daily Star ahead of Valentine's Day.
Mohammad Iqbal is working as assistant professor at the Drawing and Paintings Department of Faculty of Fine Arts and Nipa is a freelance artist. The couple is blessed with two children. They tied the knot in 1993 within the three-months of their relationship. Iqbal said, “I first saw her prior to the celebration of Pahela Baishakh at Charukala. I did drawing while she did painting for the occasion. I fell for her at first sight. I admired her quiet and soft-spoken nature and attractive personality. During that time, I was the student of masters and she was the student of first year. Mollah's shop at Charukala and other part of the Dhaka University were our favourite hubs.”
The couple said, “At that time, celebrating Valentine's Day was very rare in the city. Very few celebrated the day. After a few years, teenagers started to celebrate the day.” The couple likes to think of love and romance and sweet gestures incorporated in their daily lives, and not restrict it to a certain day.
However, the pair got the real taste of Valentine's Day when they stayed in Japan for their higher education in painting from 2000 to 2006. Iqbal said, “The youngsters of Japan eagerly wait for the day. Chocolates of varied flavours are the only significant gift of Valentine's Day in Japan. I feel that it's a wonderful day to show your loved ones that you care, and it's a way to spend time together. I think Valentine's Day should be a celebration of your love with someone else, or a celebration of independence. Presently, when both of us are very busy with our professions and managing family life, we try to celebrate the day.”
About Nipa's nature and her working style, Iqbal said, “As a person, Nipa is simple, friendly but uncompromised too. She is very sensitive and careful about her works. Her dedication to painting is praiseworthy. She is very cautious about using of pigments and technique. The works used to have a hyper-realistic touch. Her current works are mature and do have a scholarly touch. Her purpose has been to capture the beauty of nature in evanescent moments. Her canvases are lavish in abstract images of colour.”
About Iqbal, Nipa said, “His emotion is not easily decipherable as he is very reserved. He is very supportive and caring. Though we are very different on subjects of our paintings, I am very much impressed by Iqbal's using of colours, method of the blending of colours and technical aspect of his paintings. I am very much influenced by his paintings. It is very difficult to comprehend only by visualisation.”
Both the painters consider each other as a source of inspiration. “As we both had the same area of interest –arts -- it has allowed us to discuss contemporary arts, subject and technique of paintings. Being the wife of an artist, it is helpful for a woman in Bangladesh for getting a congenial working place,” said Nipa.
The couple has a great similarity in their love to entertain people of their surroundings. The couple is closely associated with the people of different sectors in the society like poets, architects, singers, art writers and more. Having ample space, their studio consists of several rooms and sometimes the place is best for hangouts. The painters feel that the studio is also a recreational and spiritual place for them. The accommodation helps them to rediscover and reconsider his thinking process, subject matter and procedure of application.
Artist Shameem Subrana, a close friend of the couple, said, “I have been close to the couple for over twenty years. I was one of the witnesses when they courted. The couple is very charming and friendly. I always appreciate their great hospitalities and tranquil behaviour. I enjoy their cooking and humor. When I feel lonely, their company make me lively.”