Born at Kishoreganj in Mymensingh, Zainul Abedin is one of the pioneers in the modern art movement in Bangladesh. Of all his creations, the famine series of 1940s, which was exhibited in 1944, were his most critically acclaimed significant work. The thoughtful use of colours and bold strokes in his paintings, mixed with the great sense of compassion for distressed people, made him earn the title- Shilpacharya, the great master of the Arts.
"My ambition was not to be a great artist, but I have always wanted to be a man like any other man, and I have always tried to live in the society of man as one of its ordinary members."
"I drew the famine series almost feverishly. Why did I do that? Why did I at all draw those sketches? It was from a sense of anger and of protest that I sketched the famine scenes. It was my statement against the situation, terrible human sufferings, which I thought and still think was created by man, man-causing sufferings for man. I only tried to record my opinion and feelings."
"I had entered into the world of painting because of an uncontrollable pressure from within when I was still very young."
Source: The quotes were taken from Zainul Abedin’s address on occasion of being awarded an Honorary DLitt degree by the University of Delhi, India in its convocation in 1974.
This lecture in English was drafted by Nazrul Islam based on ideas orally expressed in Bangla by the artist.