LIBERATION WAR IN SCULPTURE | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 23, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 23, 2012

LIBERATION WAR IN SCULPTURE

Aparajeyo Bangla at Dhaka University


Syed Abdullah Khalid is regarded as one of the most brilliant sculptors of our country. A multitalented artist, Khalid has not only excelled in sculpture but also made an impression with his paintings.
Khalid's “Aparajeyo Bangla” on Dhaka University campus has become an evocative icon. The sculpture is a reflection of the Bengali consciousness and indomitable yearning for freedom. The project was launched in 1973 when this artist was a young teacher at the Department of Fine Arts, Chittagong University. Throughout the making of the sculpture, Khalid had to face religious anarchism and negative reaction from the bigots.
Nevertheless Khalid -- high on patriotism -- was determined to finish the work of art.
xHasina Ahmed, Syed Hamid Moksood and Badrul Alam Benu, who are very close to Khalid, modelled for “Aparajeyo Bangla”. The artist closely observed the models' personalities and his close association with them enabled him to do justice with his portrayal. On August 15, 1975, the work suddenly came to a halt because of the heinous murder of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Political instability and the arrest of the then Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University, Abdul Matin Chowdhury, also disrupted the work.
The project remained incomplete till the end of 1978. Some fundamentalist groups tried to demolish the sculpture in 1977. However, the brave students of Dhaka University fiercely guarded the work. After a long hiatus, the work began once more in the beginning of 1979 -- with a new vision. At last the project was finished on December 16, 1979. The sculpture was inaugurated by wounded freedom fighters.
“There are monuments recognised and commissioned by the government, and then there are those made by the people. 'Aparajeyo Bangla' falls in the latter category. I wanted to do doing something for my country and fellow citizens. After the Liberation War, I contemplated a plan to create a symbol which would inspire generations of Bangladeshis,” asserted Khalid.
Losing himself in nature, Khalid takes themes from this infinite source and plays with colours on the canvas. He likes to experiment with different forms and adores breaking and constructing them in many ways. In many of Khalid's works, one finds a great interchange between abstract and realistic forms. Works of Mustafa Monwar, Rashid Choudhury, Quamrul Hasan and Zainul Abedin inspire Khalid.
Today Khalid has become the model of an ideal artist. Unfortunately he has received no assistance from the government or any organisation. However, the artist has no complaint. Imagination, love for nature and motherland continue to drive his artistic endeavours.

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