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       Volume 11 |Issue 28| July 13, 2012 |


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M F Husain, Horse, serigraph.
Quamrul Hassan, Toilet, water colour.

Basilio Master Painters

Fayza Haq

Anjolie Ela Menon, The Chair, etching.

Maqsud Ahsan a painter and the proprietor of Basilio has a specific agenda besides showcasing the works of artists. He wants to cater to middle income art enthusiasts; he dreams of a gallery that will be accessible to all, not just the urban elite. 'Basilio', however, means royalty and he believes that all aspects of the cream of fine arts should be treated with great regard and care. To promote fine arts, the support of the well-to-do is vital. Like the shows he has organised in other galleries such as Shilpangan Basilio's fifth show is a collection of well known Indian and Bangladeshi artists. Maqsud has also curated similar exhibitions in Kolkatta and Delhi.

Maqsud believes that painters of the Subcontinent have many things in copmmon. Harappa, Mohenjodaro and the Himalayas, he says, belong to one all, just as do the rivers like the one that begin in Tibet and are known as the Ganges and the Brahmaputra. He feels that India's six seasons belong to everyone. He has always wanted to work with the entire Subcontinent, and not make divisions and barriers between people. Although we live so near the neighbours, we are often not aware of their peculiarities and the best of their works this curator cum painter feels. "They are often not aware of our master painters" says Maqsud, "and those of them who live in Spain, France, and USA, and contribute to our achievement and our world image." FN Souza, MF Husain are world famous just as Rabindranath Tagore, Qamrul Hassan, Devdas Chakrabarty and Monirul Islam, he says.

Sometimes, he has concentrated on an individual painter, such as MFHusain, when he passed away in the Middle East, not being given the recognition he deserved in his own country of origin. Often the artists who come to our country, are not as much recognised in India. Maqsud has tried to present those who are famous globally. In the Indian art movement, their contribution is important. He feels that art lovers in Bangladesh should be aware of painters, who dominate the art scene in India. They are from all over India: Husain came from Maharashtra, Souza lives in Goa, Angelie Menon from West Bengal is Delhi based, Krishan Khanna came from Pakistan. Paritsh Sen went from Kolkatta and Madras to study in Paris, and teach in the USA. "I myself have been in Delhi from 1994 to 2000 and have shows there practically every year even now," says Maqsud.

The prominent artists of Bangladesh often have shows in India, says Maqsud. In this show, from Bangladesh, there is Qamrul Hasan, Aminul Islam, Abdul Islam, Abu Taher, Devdas Chakrabarty, and Munirul Islam. They all work in the modern expression, says Maqsud.

MF Husain (1915-2011) was born in Bombay and joined the progressive Arts Group. He exhibited in Zurich and in 1973 was nominated for the Padma Bhushan Award. He was invited to Sao Paulo with Pablo Picasso. In 2006 he was charged with depicting Mother India as a nude woman. In 2008, he painted “Battle of Ganga and Jamuna, Mahabharata12” which fetched $ 1.6 million. He was conferred with Raja Ravi Verma award. He died in London, England of a heart attack. His exhibits include eye-catching portraits of actresses and horses, seen running in vermilion and buff colour.

Monirul Islam, Land of Rain and Tears, water colour.
Abu Taher, Women, mixed mediums.

FN Souza (1924-2002) worded in London, Paris, Venice, Zurich and New York. He exhibited in Karachi. He was founder member of Progressive Artists of Bombay. Among his paintings is one of a couple, the man being a monster. Both are seen drinking in a bar.

Paritos Sen (1918- 2080) exhibited in London, Moscow, Cuba, Kolkata and New Delhi. He had begun his studies in France and was granted a Foundation award in the USA. His exhibit too, appears like some mask of a monster.

Krishen Khanna was born in Lyllpur. He lives and works in Delhi and has exhibited his works in that city. In this show his exhibit is like a portrait in black and white fine black ink and pen.

Aminul Islam's sketch of lovers in black is intriguing. He studied in Dhaka and Florence. He exhibited in Dhaka, Lahore and Rawalpindi and his works can be found in Rome and Sao Paolo.

Kazi Abdul Baset's women carrying fish, in black sketch are on display. This is somewhat cubistic and done on parallel green and yellow lines, for backdrop. His paintings are there in collection in places like Rome, Germany and Poland.

Debdas Chrabarty was born in 1933 and died in 2008. He got the “Ekushey Padak”and won awards in Poland and Warsaw. His erotic sketches include sketches of butterflies and nude women.

Monirul Islam, born in Chandpur in 1943, has held solo exhibitions in USA, Spain and Paris. He received the Ekushey Padak and the National Award of Spain. His pale prints of “Land of Ran and Tears” in soft and muted purple, lemon green and emerald speak of imagination and dexterity of the finest order.

While there may be many contentious issues that separate the countries of the subcontinent commonalities in culture and art often bring the people together. Basilio, in its small way, is trying to break the barriers by bringing to people, the works of internationally renowned artists from the Subcontinent.

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