Artworks and photographs depict SM Sultan’s 50-year journey

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A gallery view of the exhibition titled Imagination of the Common: 50 Years of the Sultan’s Work underway at the Quamrul Hasan Exhibition Hall of Bengal Shilpalay at Dhanmondi in the capital. – Press release

The Bengal Foundation organized an exhibition featuring works of art by SM Sultan, photographs of the legendary artist as well as books, magazines and films about him.

The exhibition titled Imagination of the Common: 50 Years of the Sultan’s Handiwork kicked off at the Quamrul Hasan Exhibition Hall of Bengal Shilpalay in Dhanmondi in the capital on September 10.

The exhibition tries to elucidate the life of Sultan, the process of his artistic creation and the poetic vision of the artist.

The event is organized by Bengal Arts Program Chief Curator Tanzim Wahab and researched by Dinar Sultana Putul.

Sheikh Mohammed Sultan, better known as Laal Miah, was one of the key figures in modern Bangladeshi art. The exhibition presents his works over 50 years, from the 1950s to the 1990s.

Upon entering the exhibition hall, a large oil on canvas bearing Sultan’s characteristic style – muscular peasants working in the fields – greets the public.

Several books were presented in the exhibition on the life and work of SM Sultan. The books are, namely, Guru and SM Sultan-The Cosmic Journey of a Fugitive written by Nasir Ali Mamun, Cholochhitra Jatra by Tareque Masud and Sultan by Hasnat Abdul Hye.

Seven photographs taken by Nasir Ali Mamun in the 1970s in Narail and Dhaka are exhibited in the exhibition. The photographs were presented under the titles The Kingdom of a Man, Heavenly, The Magic Hands, Portrait of a Bohemian, The Fugitive, The Thinker and Chez Selina Hossain.

The photographs include a few portraits of SM Sultan, a close-up of his hands, and photographs of his cats.

Tareque Masud’s 1989 documentary Adam Surat, translated by Inner Strength, is screened at the exhibition. Tareque worked for seven years on the documentary illustrating many of Sultan’s untold stories.

An interview with Sultan taken by Professor Hafizur Rahman and an audio speech by Enam Ahmed Choudhury are also on display.

Twelve charcoal sketches of Sultan, created in the 1950s, are also displayed in the exhibition.

In addition, the exhibition presents some unpublished works by the maestro.

A replica of SM Sultan’s workshop is also on display at the event. It gives the audience an insight into the tools Sultan used to make art.

In the documentary, Adam Surat Sultan explained at length how he prepared his canvases and colors with natural ingredients at his disposal.

SM Sultan’s first solo art exhibition was held in 1946 in Shimla, British India. His works before this period have been lost due to his indifference to the preservation of his works.

The exhibition will remain open to visitors until December 4, 2021, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., except Sundays.

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