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Patua Quamrul Hassan̢۪s 92nd birth anniv today

Cultural Correspondent

A file photo shows Quamrul Hassan paints a canvas.A file photo shows Quamrul Hassan paints a canvas.

Today is the 92nd birth anniversary of the master artist Patua Quamrul Hassan (1921–1988), who designed the National Flag of the country.
One of the pioneers of modern art in Bangladesh, Quamrul Hassan also designed the monograms of Bangladesh government, Bangladesh Bank, Freedom Fighters’ Welfare Trust, Parjatan Corporation and Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
Hassan was always involved in the national movements of the country like the non-cooperation movement in 1969, the war of independence in 1971 - where he served as the director of art division of Information and Radio Department of Bangladesh Government in exile - and in the anti-autocratic movement in the late 1980s.
His caricatures portraying the ferocious gesture of the Pakistani military dictator Mohammad Yahya Khan is considered as a signature artwork on the war of independence; his another caricature of the autocratic ruler Hossain Muhammad Ershad can be seen as a proof of the artist’s contribution to the political history of the country. 
Above all, the artist developed a unique style based on the age old tradition of the folk art, for which people call him Patua Quamrul Hassan. He developed a unique style by borrowing the two-dimensionality of pata paintings of fork art in his work; he also attempted to give his paintings the quality of three-dimensionality. As a versatile artist, Hassan practically worked with all media like oil, gouache, watercolors, pastel, etching, woodcut, linocut, pen and pencil.
The subjects of Hassan’s paintings range from the colourful and pristine portrayal of the rural Bangladesh to the harsh and fierce sketches of the degenerated and corrupt politics of the country.
Born on December 02, 1921 in Kolkata, Quamrul Hassan graduated in Fine Arts from the Government Institute of Arts (now, College of Arts and Crafts, Kolkata) in 1947.
After the partition in 1947, Quamrul Hassan came to Dhaka, in collaboration with Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin, and established the then Dacca Art College [the Faculty of Fine Arts of Dhaka University] in 1948 and continued his teaching there till 1960.
In the 50’s the artist initiated the Art Group for the first time in the country. The then East Pakistan Small and Cottage Industries Corporation was established under the leadership of Quamrul Hassan in 1960, and he worked there as the director of the Design Centre till his retirement in 1978.
After his retirement, Hassan worked as a free-lance artist.
His canvases such as Tin Kanya, Uki, Nabanna, Gorur Snan and others prove that Patua Quamrul Hassan was magnificent in terms of the portraying the simplicity of rural life of rural Bangla in his paintings. He also worked with woodcuts, especially after the famine of 1974, works that expressed his rage and anger. Hassan has used symbols like snakes, jackals and owls to portray the evil in humans, in his political satires. 
As an artist by nature, Quamrul Hassan died right after he completed a sketch of a snake satirising the autocratic ruler Hussain Muhammad Ershad, at the Second National Poetry Festival at Dhaka University on February 02, 1988.
For his outstanding contributions towards art, Quamrul Hassan received several awards and honours for his contributions to art, including the President’s Gold Medal (1965), the Comilla Foundation Gold Medal (1977), the Independence Day Award (1979), Bangladesh Charu Shilpi Sangsad Honour (1984) and Kazi Mahbubullah Trust Gold Medal (1987).

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