Renowned artist Syed Jahangir passed away yesterday at 11 am at his residence in Iqbal Road, Mohammadpur in Dhaka. He was 83 years old at that time. His body was taken to the Faculty of Fine Art (FFA), University of Dhaka (DU) for paying last respects. The deceased's Namaz- e - Janaza was held yesterday after Asr prayers at the central mosque of DU, and he was buried in Satkhira where he was born in 1935.
The Ekushey Padak winner was involved in fine art since the 1950s. In 1958, he received a Ford Foundation Fellowship and travelled to the USA, where he became familiar with various American artists. During the Pakistan era, Jahangir worked as a television news presenter. He was stuck in Pakistan when the Liberation War broke out, and was removed from television.
He returned to Bangladesh in 1973. Slowly, his paintings took a more realistic turn from abstraction. The colours of rural Bangladesh became the highlight in his paintings. He began working at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) in 1977 and served as the director there for 16 years. He took on various initiatives to advance the fine art industry in Bangladesh. It was under his tenure that the BSA launched the Department of Fine Arts. He had a notable contribution in the inception of the Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh.
The inspiration for Jahangir's paintings was an in-depth observation of rural Bangladesh, its people and the economic hardships they endure. His popular paintings include - Attmar Ujjibon, Ullas, Dhoni and Ojana-Oneshya. Osoni-Sangket, one of his paintings, was based on the socio-political issues in Bangladesh.
Dynamic and dedicated, this master of painting also brought about aspects of impressionism and symbolism in some of his works concentrating on nature. Jahangir combined his studies under the Bangladeshi masters -- Zainul Abedin, Quamrul Hassan, Safiuddin Ahmed and Anwarul Haq -- along with lessons from western impressionists and contemporary painters.
Jahangir would meditate over his work, before he touched his brush and canvas, and took his inspiration from sketches and photographs for his numerous landscapes, still lifes, and portraits, often set against the horizon with its scintillating colours of blue, gold, brown and red.