Eminent artist Murtaja Baseer has been undergoing treatment at the ICU unit of Apollo Hospital, Dhaka since Thursday night. His elder daughter, Munira Bashir said that he was admitted to the hospital due to severe respiratory problem and reduction of oxygen consumption rate, along with other old age problems. Doctors have confirmed that him being positive for COVID-19.
"The doctors at the hospital are suggesting life support. However, my father is still talking to me, and is not willing to undergo treatment under life support," said Munirah Bashir.
The artist has been given oxygen artificially for several years. He had a heart failure due to increasing fluid in his lungs last year. He needs to stay under observation until his breathing is stable. His family has sought dua/prayers from everyone for her father's early recovery.
Murtaja Baseer is considered as one of the most prominent painters of Bangladesh. He is known for working with abstract realism. The Wings and Epitaph for the Martyrs series are among the finest works of the artist. He is the son of scholar and linguist, Dr Muhammad Shahidullah. The painter is still actively exploring the diverse world of art. He has done a series of works articulating contemporary life and issues.
Baseer is also a poet, short story writer, novelist, researcher, numismatist and filmmaker. He was acclaimed for his meticulous style and unique choice of themes in his novels. In 1954, he wrote a Ultramarine, based on the contemporary life in Kolkata and the social issues of the time. He published a collection of short stories called Kanch-er Pakhir Gaan in 1969. He wrote two more novels — Mitar Shangey Char Shandha and Amitakkhar. He has a collection of selected works, Murtaja Baseer: Murto O Bimurto.
Baseer has also worked as a screenplay writer, art director and chief assistant director for the Bangla film Nadi O Nari in 1964, and as an art director for the Urdu film Kaise Kahoon in 1965. In 1987, he received a fellowship from British Council to carry out research on folk and traditional art of Bangladesh.
The artist was born in 1932. He joined Dacca Art College (now the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka) as a student in 1949. During the Liberation War, he left the country for Paris with his family. Baseer stayed in Paris till June 1973. While in Paris, he studied mosaic and etching at Beaux Arts in Paris. In 1973, Baseer returned to Bangladesh and joined Chittagong University as an assistant professor. He retired from teaching in 1998.