Artist Anukul Chandra Majumder has carved a niche in the field of figurative art in our country. His paintings are characterised by symbolic images. Anukul is an artist with a creative outlook.
He is one of our most respected contemporary artists, who have been playing an important role in the current art scene of the country. Born in a village of Bagerhat in 1974, his art is highly influenced by the picturesque rustic views of rivers and village life.
“I was brought up in the rural environment of Bagerhat. In that atmosphere, the people of my locality were not aware of art. But I had a fascination for painting from my early age, and I used to draw rivers, rural life and village scenes. My uncle inspired me a lot to pursue my career in painting,” Anukul said, while talking to The Weekend Independent recently.
That enthusiasm and encouragement led him to complete his Bachelor and Masters degrees in Fine Arts from the University of Dhaka (DU).
Anukul has a skilled hand for drawing and painting. He is a close observer of reality and life. In his earlier works, he tried to anchor his aesthetics on known grounds, avoiding fantasy and exaggeration.
Throughout the decade, Anukul has been working on his consuming interest to retain the ancient art of Bangladesh. The painter believes in Bengali art and culture, and tries to keep himself away from western influences. These features differentiate him from other contemporary artists.
His present works dwell on the subject of relationship between human and nature. He puts his subjective emotions into his paintings. The essence of his paintings is the expression of inner meaning. His paintings are witness to the time of origin, conveying a sense of distance, a sense of loss, and gone sensibilities.
When asked about his previous works, Anukul said, “I did many nature-based and a few abstract paintings. The medium of my first solo exhibition, held at Zainul Gallery in 1998, was oil and acrylic. It is quite natural that brushing, rendering and techniques are changeable in terms of evolving themes and events. In the changing race of time, different time fragments, thought, expectation, satisfaction, love and hunger, all keep on changing.”
On the subject of his favoured mediums, the artist continued: “I have touched most of the mediums in my paintings. As I love to experiment, I always blend different types of colours, to give new identity to my works. But I like acrylic the most. I also prefer to work on simple paper, which I collect personally. I can portray my works better on such paper. I find paper to be more long-lasting and suitable.”
The creative artist has participated in many solo and group exhibitions in different parts of the world. Works by the noted artist have also been published in the special volume of ‘Art and the Islamic world’, a reputed international art magazine, published in the UK.
Anukul’s latest and 11th solo show, titled “An Urban Treat in Rural Maneuver”, was held last month at Shilpangan Art Gallery in the capital.
The 40 paintings showcased in the two-week long exhibition were close observations of rural Bengal in simple harmonic outlines, pastoral motifs, a tranquil atmosphere and childhood nostalgia. Anukul used brilliant symbols of rural lives in an urban context.
His creative expression, colour compositions, spaces and drawings have earned him an artistic identity of his own. Some of his paintings at the show, depicting summer, the sky, winter, Dhaka and Sadar Ghat got him rave reviews from both art critics and connoisseurs alike.
“After a long break, I did my 11th solo exhibition at Shilpangan. I depicted rural lives in urban backgrounds in my paintings. The busy rickshaw-pullers, auto-drivers, the street hawkers, the bus passengers, the footpath walkers, the narrow lanes of old town with ruined buildings, etc, were represented in my paintings. I used charcoal, acrylic, bright colours and mixed media in semi abstract form in my paintings,” said Anukul.
Anukul is very hopeful about the present condition of art colleges in our country. He expects that Bangladeshi artists will dominate the international art arena soon.
“I am proud that we have such an art institution in our country, which is of international standard,” he said, referring to his alma mater, the Faculty of Fine Arts at DU. “Now, there are a lot of art colleges in our country to flourish our art. I am optimistic that the young artists will bring fame for our country,” he added.
“Now there are many art camps and exhibitions taking place in the country. Many artists are trying to introduce new kinds of art through their dexterity and creativity. Some institutions, like Bengal Art Foundation, Samdani Art Foundation and Britto Art Trust, are playing important role in promoting Bangladeshi art and artists. So, gradually we are improving in this sector,” Anukul said about the present state of art in the country.
Born: 10th January, 1974
2001 – 2011: Executive Manager,
A Contemporary Art Gallery,
BFA : 1994,
MFA : 1996
Faculty of Fine Art
University of Dhaka.