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        Volume 11 |Issue 23| June 08, 2012 |


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A Spirited Artist

Fayza Haq

image: Courtesy

Shahid Kabir, went on his own to the land of Pablo Picasso, to paint as the French Impressionists did, especially Vincent Van Gogh, who painted with his whole mind and heart; he loves Gauguin, Pissaro and the rest. Shahid, a painter from Barisal, wishes to depict the ordinary, as did Frost and William Wordsworth.

He wishes to paint the earthy bathing beauty, with her hair falling down, like some cascading fountain. He wants to bring on his canvas the ordinary show flower, with all the glamour of its petals and yellow pistil. He paints the common boy, with his curious eyes, just as he does the Jamuna River connecting Sirajganj and the rest of the link to Dhaka. For him the presenting of the thick home-made bread, the grapes, the drinking vessel like the beaker, glass and cup remain of vital importance.

Shahid Kabir, who began as a print-maker in Europe, is a master painter of nature and man. He has been taught by stalwarts such as Mohammed Kibria, Rafiqun Nabi as well as Monirul Islam of Spain.

In his works meet the best of the two worlds — Bangladesh and Spain. The essence, beauty and harmony of Bengal mix and mingle with the golden honey beauty of Europe. Like Monir, he is abounding in youth and spirit of youthful existence. For him , the ordinary earth of Barisal combines with the water of the winding rivulet—to find the aging man, his uncle, with the last collection of beard—longing for his mate.

Shahid Kabir. Photo: Courtesy

Shahid gets his inspiration and rejuvenation at the age of 60 from Nature around him, and the women who breathe the phoenix-like quality of rejuvenation in him. He loves to listen to 'Lalongeeti'. The painter does his pieces, all at one go, not getting bored with any one piece. The painting on canvas develops with harmony and unabated joie de vivre.

The artist feels that Spain is like his own country. The people are so warm-hearted, he says. They accept you as one of their own so easily. Their mood changes with the flamenco dance, which says Shahid, is as emotional and integral to our soul as “Baul” singing with its dainty notes on the “ek-tara”. It is all close to our roots. “I finished painting at the Charukola and those who taught me philosophically about life and living were Kibria and Rafiqun Nabi. The other teachers were Qayyum Chowdhury, and Samarjit Rai. Abdul Baset “Sir”, Safiuddin Ahmed were among the others. Later, I was a professor for five years. When in Spain, I learnt to do work for other artists for a living, and this was not easy.”

After working for printmakers, he developed painting. This was in' 82 and he was in Spain for three decades. When he draws and paints, he takes his time. He sketches, photographs and then develops from them. He changes the shape and colour of an object or scene or portrait , layer, upon layer, until he is satisfied. The last exhibition was in 2008, in “Chitrak” He plans to exhibit this year, in 2012, in Bengal Gallery.

The paintings worth capturing are “Sukanto” six feet by six feet, the image of the full moon reminds the viewer of a burnt piece of flat hand – made leaven bread. This is based on Sukanto Bhattacharya's poetry. The image of a half-nude woman , sitting on a 'char' and getting her 'sari' dried before she can wear it, with her face covered with shyness, is told by an aging on-looker'. She has only one 'sari'.

images: Courtesy

Asked which European that he most admired, artist and era, Shahid says that it was the time of Van Gogh and it was Matisse and Manet along with Lautrec, that he felt most comfortable with. “It is Van Gogh that I admire most of all. He has painted with all the might of his being. 'Lust for life' is written after him. He was not crazy. He could not control his emotion. Pablo Picasso's personality also moves me greatly. Since 1990, I've had European and Bengali friends galore. Having a friend keeps me happy and busy. I'm young in spirit. Their spirit keeps me alive.” says Shahid with aplomb.


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