Promising artist Sumon Wahed, also a lecturer at the Department of Drawing and Painting, Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka (DU), showcases an array of his brilliant artworks at Zainul Gallery 1 and 2, Faculty of Fine Art, DU. The six-day (August 12-17) exhibition titled 'A to Z Zainul' is open daily from 11am to 8pm.
As part of his five-year long History Study Project-1, Sumon intensively studied Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin, the founding father of fine art in Bangladesh. Sumon's artwork named A to Z Zainul (Glass marker pencil on ply board) is a collection of 26 small pieces of work, each of which is entitled with a unique word closely related to the life and artistic journey of Zainul Abedin, covering all the letters of the English Alphabet.
A conceptual display of Zainul's 29 portraits is displayed at the exhibition. “We have many layers and grey zones regarding Shilpacharya,” says Sumon.“I have tried to represent the portraits with acrylic, glass marker pencil and Nepali paper on canvas.”
“Rembrandt was a favourite of Abedin Sir while I regard Van Gogh as a great source of passion,” he adds.“I have tried to depict my favourite artists along with my self-portrait in the cycle which I have named, 'Passion of Art is Life.'”
Another series showcases the familial affairs of Zainul Abedin. We all know that his mother sold her gold necklace to educate her child. Sumon depicted the mother and son inside a gold necklace to refer to that memory. The series also includes a literary publication marking Abedin's marriage ceremony, a letter written by the Shilpacharya to his elder son and another letter [written from Tehran] to his youngest son.
The famous sketches on the famine of 1943 are the focal point of Zainul Abedin's art. Sumon portrayed oxymorons in his work; he depicted the portraits of Shilpacharya and painter Winston Churchill, also the then British premier, who is responsible for the crisis of famine and the mass killing, and merged the famine sketches of Abedin with the landscape paintings by Churchill in the series. The artist also positioned a dark room inside the gallery to display these sketches.
Sumon beautifully represented the portraits of Zainul Abedin and Ramkinkar Baij coupled with their fond features of paintings like indigenous people in his work.
The artist also showed the portraits of Abedin and architect Muzharul Islam with the landscapic architectural designs of FFA in another series as he thinks their archival images are very important. “As the landscape creates space, their presence, personalities and activities create space for the artists of Bangladesh,” he says.
Books and documentary films on the Shilpacharya are also exhibited.