Vol. 5 Num 571 Tue. January 03, 2006  

Ahmed Nazir
Powerful print-maker and painter

Ahmed Nazir's oils and mixed media work have recently been on view at the Divine and Chitrak galleries. Here is an artist whose worldview goes beyond just Bangladesh. A painter and print-maker of international repute, he shies away when reminded that he is Safiuddin Ahmed's son. If genius is transferred by genes, as commonly believed, Nazir's several feats have their roots in the enlightened ambiance of his home.

His earlier paintings were idyllic and positive -- although they too were post-modern pieces -- dwelling on dreams and the symbolic moon image. Today, he dwells on bullet marks on walls, with dripping red blood, and dark X-ray vision, with X-ray plates. His prints are powerful, and produced after a tremendous amount of deliberation and care. To distance himself from the turbulent world around him, Nazir goes back to his romantic paintings, which he does with pastel colours and fine brushwork.

Tracing Bangladesh and his personal achievement, the artist says,"The Liberation War has had a definite impact on every artist's work. My Moon-Dream series, have been seen at different venues since 1995, "He says that his X-ray images, seen recently, are positive too." Current developments both in Bangladesh and abroad should be examined deeply. While most people don't want terrorism, many people suffer because of this phenomenon," says Nazir.

What you see internationally and at home, whether one calls it terrorism the world over, or what one experiences in the recent past in Bangladesh, should be examined deeply. We must turn inwards and examine ourselves. This is a must for progress. Most people on our globe don't want anything evil," he adds.

Nazir believes that everyone has an inner drive. If expressed properly, he believes, this will culminate in success. No man was deliberately created evil: thus there is something beautiful and admirable in all God's creatures, he says. In his words, " Whether rough or crude, a human being is the product of his or her environment. We tend to blame the First World, while we reside in the Third World. Yet, I insist, this is not correct. The majority in USA and Europe don't want destruction.. There is a definite need for preservation of the earth's flora and fauna -- and we the artists, try to do this in our own way, both at home and abroad."

What does the young but mature artist prefer -- print-making, in which he is nonpareil, or painting in which he surpasses many in his generation? The artist says that both are equally his passion and occupation, as he gives a considerable time to both. For quite some time now, he does more prints. This is not for easy sale, as prints are cheaper. Yes, he has to earn a living for himself and his family of four. This is even though his wife, Sharmeen, is a professional painter too. Ahmed Nazir labours in his gallery corner at Chitrak, and makes etchings galore This requires physical labour.

To get away from heat and dust of the city, he takes a respite in painting. He listens to a wide range of music in the course of his work, The music varies from instrumental to Rabindra Sangeet, Nazrul Geeti to folk music and even heavy metal. In his leisure time he looks after his Alsatians and partly-coloured pigeons and reads volumes of books on various subjects, especially art.

An art work by Ahmed Nazir, a portrait of the artist (inset)