Dhanmondi’s 3rd Space has recently been gaining a lot of popularity as a hub for young music and art lovers. December 28 was no different, when people of all ages gathered for tea and a discussion with the famous artist, A F M Moniruzzaman (Shipu). The two-hour art talk was titled, Art of Life.
Aside from being a renowned painter, Moniruzzaman is a distinguished faculty member at the Department of Media Studies and Journalism, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB), since August 2014. His colleagues, as well as old and new students alike that were present at the event, vehemently vouched about how inspiring a persona the artist has been in their lives. Some of them mentioned how he is always seen with a sketchbook wherever he goes, and on that note when the host, Arafat Ali, asked about the respected speaker’s life as an artist, he began at the beginning.
As previews of his paintings were played on a slideshow behind him, the audience remained hooked to the wonderful storyteller’s journey, from his childhood days in Jessore to his academic life abroad. As a child, Moniruzzaman had attended the legendary S M Sultan’s art school, where his desire to pursue art was ignited. Following his fascination, he enrolled into Dhaka University at the Faculty of Fine Art, and over time, kept up his own study of art at home. He shifted through years of art history, from symbolism to expressionism, and struggled on his own between creating abstract works as opposed to realistic ones. Over time, he has been known to explore painting, printmaking, installations, performance art, graffiti, comics, animations and various other mediums.
The audience was also able to experience Apon’s Bike, a 15-minute 2D animation short film, produced and directed by Moniruzzaman for the final submission of his MFA in Filmmaking at the Osaka University of Art, Japan. It has been screened at multiple international film festivals.
Moniruzzaman’s unique style of art include playing with light and shadows, and most of his watercolour or acrylic paintings have the theme of people in Dhaka streets. He has painted intellectuals such as Mishuk Munir and Tarek Masud. One of his significant works was the public art installation Shobuj Manusher Nijoshsho Bondityo, where he locked himself up in a jail prop to represent the destruction of nature through pollution.