Diving into the trajectories of the forerunners in art
On the occasion of the golden jubilee of Bangladesh's independence, HSBC and Bengal Foundation jointly organised the tribute exhibition, "Forerunners Rashid Choudhury, Murtaja Baseer, Debdas Chakraborty – their pedagogy and modernist approach". The exhibition opened on March 16 at Bengal Shilpalay, Dhanmondi, Dhaka.
The show, curated by leading pedagogue and contemporary visual artist Dhali Al Mamoon, seeks to explore the contexts, trajectories, and interpretations that characterise fifty years of institutional art practice in Chattogram.
The Governor of Bangladesh Bank Fazle Kabir was present at the inaugural ceremony as the chief guest while CEO of HSBC Bangladesh Md Mahbub ur Rahman, Professor Dr Syed Manzoorul Islam, and the founder and chairman of Bengal Foundation Abul Khair Litu were present as special guests.
The programme began with an introductory note by Dhali Al Mamoon. He expressed how Rashid Choudhury, Murtaja Baseer, and Debdas Chakraborty foregrounded new modernist thinking that resisted conventional categorisation, setting new idioms and parametres, while keeping up with the politics of their time.
This was followed by a speech by Professor Dr Syed Manzoorul Islam. "When an artist looks into the work of their predecessors, they discover new dimensions while tying their thoughts to the old masterpieces and that's the beauty of this exhibition," he shared.
His speech was followed by remarks by Md Mahbub ur Rahman.
Afterwards, Fazle Kabir took to the stage to share his thoughts. "I got to meet these legends at University of Chittagong and I still miss their presence," he said. "We have lost them, but their work never seize to revive their legacy. Through such initiatives, we come across the opportunity to relive their heritage."
The exhibition showcases over 120 artworks, including paintings, prints, drawings, tapestries, audio and video materials, books and memorabilia, curated from several institutional and private collections. The show is open for all from 3 pm to 8 pm every day except Sundays till June 18.