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Tuesday, July 23, 2019
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Artwork by SM Sultan (left) and a view of the Narail Victoria College premises, the venue of the fair.Photo: STAR
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Every year devotees from far and wide gather at the Sultan Mela (fair), Narail, to pay homage to SM Sultan. Hundreds of stalls are erected all around an open stage and cultural functions are performed at the Narail Victoria College premises. The programme, thronged by thousands, continues till 11 pm everyday. This year the fair will end on February 18.

One of the pioneer painters of Bangladesh, Sultan was born at Masimdia village, on the outskirts of Narail town in August 10, 1923. His father was Meser Ali (a mason) and his mother Maju Bibi. Sultan got admitted at Narail Victoria Collegiate School in 1928.

In 1938, Sultan went to Kolkata and met Shahid Suhrawardy, an art critic. Suhrawardy got him admitted in the Art College in Kolkata. In1943, he joined in “Khaksha' movement. In 1943, his solo art exhibition was held in Simla, India. In 1948 Sultan's solo art exhibition was inaugurated in Lahore, Pakistan, by Fatima Jinnah. In 1950, as a representative of Pakistan government, he participated at an international conference of artists in America. At the time his artworks were exhibited in NewYork, Boston, Chicago and in various other cosmopolitan cities. His works were on display beside those of the renowned artists Pablo Piccaso and Salvador Dali.

SM Sultan known as Lal Mia in his native Narail, was a lifelong bachelor devoting his life to the well being of the people. Pursuing his dreams, he created his domain of painting embedded in purity, pleasure, fortitude and romanticism. In almost all his paintings farmers, fishermen, boatmen, potters and the struggling lives of the workers serve as motifs.

In 1953, Sultan came back to his motherland. Subsequently he established three schools, including Nanda Kanon primary school, Nando Kanan secondary school and Nando Kanon Fine Arts College in 1973 in Jessore.

In commemoration of his memory, a Shishu Swargo, a Sultan museum and a Sultan Stage have been built here.

In 1982, he was conferred the “Man of Achievement” award by the Cambridge University. SM Sultan won the “Ekushey Padak” in 1982; Bangladesh Charu Shilpi Sangsad award in 1986 as well as the “Independence Award” in 1993. He established the Fine Art Institute at Narail in 1969 and another institute “Charupeet” in Jessore in 1973. His last days were spent as a free-lance artist at Narial.

SM Sultan passed away in February, 10, 1994.

On the occasion of his 83rd birth anniversary, this fair has been arranged at the premises of Sultan Mancho.

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