Remembering artist SM Sultan

SM Sultan

Art- loving people of Bangladesh, and many other parts of the world, will recall the memory of the famous artist Sheikh Mohammad Sultan, popularly known at SM Sultan marking his 97th anniversary of birth. Narail district administration and SM Sultan Foundation have jointly taken programmes to mark the day.

The programmes include Quaran Khani, placing floral wreaths at the grave of the late artist, prayer session and a discussion on the life of the artist, said Fokrul Hasan, additional deputy commissioner, general, Narail.

He told that considering Covid situation, elaborate programmes are not chalked out this year to avoid infection from the virus.

SM Sultan was born at Masumdia village in Narail sadar upazila( former Jessore district) on August 10, 1924. He was unable to continue school education due to lack of money at an early age and began working for his father Meser Ali, who was a mason. Maju Bibi was his mother.

He used to engage himself in drawing and painting while he was child. Having patronised by Dhirendra Nath Roy, an art-loving zamindar of the village in which he lived; SM Sultan went to study art at the government art college in Kolkata but decided to leave it in 1943, halfway through the six-year course. He used to live in Jashore town at one stage of his life.

He is well known for his canvases populated with robust peasants, glorifying the inner spirit of the native folks who eked out a collective life amid nature.

In 1950, Sheikh Mohammad Sultan, locally known as Lal Mia, represented Pakistan at the international conference of artists in the USA. His works were displayed in Simla, Lahore, Boston, New York, Chicago, Washington, London and many other places.

Sultan returned to Dhaka in the mid-1950s with the dream of establishing an art movement that would represent the tradition of the region but struggled throughout his life to reach his goal.

He received many awards including Ekushey Padak in 1982, Bangladesh Charu Shilpi Sangsad Award in 1986 and Independence Award in 1993.

Bangladesh government declared him as ‘Resident Artist’ in 1984.

SM Sultan passed away at the Combined Military Hospital in Jashore on October 10, 1994. He was then buried in the yard of his own house in the Masumdia of Narail Municipality.

Saifur Rahman Saif is a Bangladeshis journalist. He works at popular English daily New Age

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