October 05, 2010

Shahabuddin Ahmed: Painting Bangladesh With His Heart And Mind

One of the most renowned Bangladeshis painters in the world is Shahabuddin Ahmed. He was born in 1950 and studied at the Academy of Fine arts. In 1971 he joined the Liberation war for Bangladesh and fought for independence. Later Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman learnt about his painting skills and met him. He told him to go to Paris and learn painting like Picasso, Van Gogh et al. His life cherished desire was to become a Zainul Abedin, the master painter of Bangladesh, who was also his mentor. In October 1974 he went to Paris to study painting on a scholarship and has been sharing his time between France and Bangladesh ever-since. He comes to Bangladesh regularly to stay, paint and to exhibit. He lives with his wife Anna Shahabuddin and they have two daughters named Chitra Shithi and Charyapad Shahabuddin.

Shahabuddin's works are displayed in many galleries across the globe including the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland and Bourg-en-Bresse Museum France. In 1992 he received the 50 Master painters of contemporary arts, Olympiad of the Arts, Barcelona, Spain. In Bangladesh he received the Independent Day Award (Shwadhinata Puroskar) in 2000.

Here is an introduction of his art work from The Arts Trust. Some excerpts:

Shahabuddin’s works reflect contemporary life and times. Its essence glorifies life’s struggle-he fought an actual battle for the liberation of Bangladesh-with victory in the end, transcending time and space. With great erudition and skill, he relies heavily on the power of motion as his mode of artistic expression. His endeavour to unravel the mysteries of the cosmos through the use of colour – most often monochromatic with splashes of bright unusual colours – canvas and brush has perfectly amalgamated life and art. [..]

What has made Shahabuddin, who has been greatly influenced by Francis Bacon and the European movement, to be one among the 50 best painters of the world? His baroque like figures turned towards space seeking light and energy, are a strange mixture of Western influence rooted to his place of origin. He emerges as an international painter with an unmistakable individuality.

Here is a review of his 27th solo exhibition which took place last year in Dhaka. You can view some of his paintings in The Arts Trust Website and in Bangla Gallery. Here are more of his paintings on auction.

I was watching an interview of him in a Bangladeshi TV channel and I was very inspired by his words. What I found disheartening that Shahabuddin Ahmed does not have any website of his own. I hope someday we will see his work and words reaching every corner of the world via his website/blog.

Image courtesy Bdnews24.com and other sites.


  1. So, I wonder what's the minimum his paintings get?

  2. this is really mind blasting...............................