Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |  Volume 6, Issue 38, Tuesday, September 27, 2011




Idylls of nature

Bimanesh Chandra Biswas, 58, who learnt at the feet of the master painter of the Bangladesh art world, S M Sultan, was acquainted with the snakes, crows, mongoose and cats, which were a part of Sultan's bohemian existence at Narail, Jessore.

Chandra Biswas recounts that Sultan had a very large heart in which he accommodated hundreds of young artists. He says that it was Sultan who helped him get a place at the Department of Fine Arts, DU. He believes that Sultan was the first artist to bring the countryside of Bengal in the dramatic and overwhelming manner that he did.

It inspired an entire nation of eager artists, who portrayed the beauty of Bangladesh's rivers and fields. He also helped the well-known creator of “Clay Bird” Tareque Masud in making his film on S M Sultan -- Aadam Surat. His solo water-colour exhibition began on 20 September 2011, and will run till the end of the month. The display is being held at the Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts.

The first pupil of the first art institute that S M Sultan set up, Chandra helped Sultan complete his ambitious and huge paintings.

In the manner that Tagore and Jibanananda Das sang of the fishermen and farmers of Bengal, taking inspiration from the vast paddy fields, rivers, rivulets, open skies, fish and fowl, Chandra takes to nature as the fountain of creation. He does not go into hyperbolic raptures as did Keats and Shelley.

Earlier Chandra's buyers were Saju's Gallery and Haque Gallery in Gulshan, during his infrequent trips to Dhaka. He is the simple singer of the joy and beauty of the countryside as were Wordsworth and Frost.

“As God has created nature, so he has made mankind,” believes the teacher of Fine Arts. He is confident of his colours, lines and themes. However, he is not complacent. Like singers, poets and musicians, he says that he pays homage to the creator by prising his roots. He is aware that if his paintings are to be seen at an international level, one would be fully aware of the origins of his home -- full of tranquillity and harmony.

“In our rush to be modernised, we are losing the beauty and healthy roots of the rural areas which are replete with elements that give peace of mind to mankind. Again, philosophers and physicians advise that a week in the countryside by the city dweller would give him the essential fillip to his existence and wipe out his confused and overworked mind,” says Chandra, with his receding hairline and steady gaze behind his bifocals.

An art professor at Khulna, Chandra had the late Mahbubul Haque, Rafiqun Nabi, Farida Zaman and Abdus Sattar as his teachers and guides at the Department of Fine Arts, DU.

The water-colour expert says that the water-colours suit him best as he can finish them in a short span of time ranging from three days to a fortnight. He uses Windsor and Newton brushes and American art paper that are unusually wide in size and so give the paintings a panoramic effect.

The colours he uses are burnt umber, sunlight yellow and emerald green. The hues have a soft, natural touch and he works on them in the daylight.

The artist soaks the paper before he works on them. He has also done sculpture pieces at the Jessore Cantonment and eight paintings based on the Liberation War for Khulna Naval base.

By Fayza Haq


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