Professor Nisar Hossain is a renowned artist, critic, connoisseur, activist, organiser and dons the hat of the Dean of the Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka (DU) for the third consecutive time. As a socially conscious and responsible artist, he always tries to grasp the time and its spirit in his pursuit of art.
“Our founding father of art and education Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin appointed teachers on the basis of not only merit but also other qualities of their being a teacher,” says the professor. “When he was a teacher at the then Calcutta Govt. Art College, there was a course called Teachership for training teachers. The irony is that a teacher is promoted on the basis of his/her personal achievement. I don’t know how we can get out of this system.” Professor Hossain strongly suggests of reintroducing fine art, music, dance and theatre education as compulsory curriculum at school level.
According to Nisar Hossain, there was a time when an artist and teacher would eagerly seek appreciation from another scholar or critic; now they consider quantity over quality – looking at the number of artworks sold at an exhibition. “We have a rich library at the faculty, but the teachers and students seldom issue books from there,” he says. “They may argue that they can find them online, but that is no true. If you want to become a contemporary artist, one has to read the costly books we have bought for the library. Not only teachers and students, anyone interested to study art can borrow books from here with due procedures.”
A positive Nisar Hossain always regards art, culture, education, contemporary art, philosophy and even politics at the backdrop of global perspective. “The theme, aspect, language and presentation of the art must represent the specific time,” he says. “Some say that Van Gogh was 200 years ahead of his contemporary artists; but I think the contemporary artists during the time of Van Gogh were behind by 200 years.”
About setting up of a Museum of Modern Art in Bangladesh, Nisar Hossan strongly proposes private and corporate initiatives to bell the cat. “We, the artists and concerned institutions are callous when it comes to using qualitative art materials, art preservation, restoration and proper archiving,” he says. “I am personally taking initiatives to set preservation and restoration facilities in my faculty with assistance from the Delhi Modern Art Gallery.”
A permanent display of artworks by the teachers and artists will be opened soon at the Faculty of Fine Art, DU. Education minister, Dr Dipu Moni, is expected to open the display at FFA, DU, on May 20.