Bangladesh through Naib Uddin’s lens
Progga has organised a weeklong photography exhibition titled 'Amar Bangla', featuring works of Naib Uddin Ahmed, one of the pioneering Bangladeshi photographers. The exhibition was inaugurated on November 7 at the exhibition hall of National Museum, Shahbagh. Progga published an album of selected photographs by Naib Uddin on the occasion. A documentary on the veteran photographer's life and works was also screened at the programme.
A discussion was held where Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid was present as chief guest. Noted artist and cultural personality Mustafa Monwar was present as special guest. Dr. M.A. Sattar Mandal, vice chancellor of the Bangladesh Agricultural University, presided over the programme.
Taifur Rahman, chairman of Progga, said, “'Amar Bangla' is our tribute to photo-artist Naib Uddin Ahmed. His photographs are our national treasures. Like any other artefact, photography also has an aesthetic value. That is why preservation of photography is so important.”
Mustafa Monwar said, “Naib Uddin Ahmed made his breakthrough in the 50s and 60s. His photographs highlight the diverse beauty of Bangladesh and our nature. His images are lively and impressive.
“The 50s and 60s were tumultuous times for us as a nation. Naib Uddin and his camera witnessed all the movements of Bangladesh. I was introduced to him during the Language Movement. During the Pakistani period I painted a series. He photographed each of those paintings.”
Naib Uddin Ahmed said, “I love Bangladeshi villages and the villages love me back. When I was a child, I wanted to be a painter. In 1941, one of my maternal uncles gave me a baby brownie camera from Calcutta (now Kolkata). I developed the films myself.
“After completing the Matriculation, I got admitted at Calcutta Islamia College in 1943.
“During that time, I had opportunities to meet Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin and Patua Quamrul Hassan.
“Art is the expression of emotions. This expression can be articulated through literature, painting, film or any other medium. I pre-selected some of the subjects of my photography -- children, shepherds, peasants, potters, women, riverine life, green horizons etc.
“The beauty of nature and the simple lives of people attracted me the most. I have tried to capture the beauty of 'Bangla' in my own way. I left photography in 1971 as the brutality meted out by the Pakistani army affected me profoundly.”
Nurul Islam Nahid said, “Naib Uddin's photographs are our national assets. His images are the perfect evidence of our glorious times and moments.”