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Artist Profile1
Shahabuddin’s amazing amalgamation of life and art skills
For long Shahabuddin Ahmed had been staying in Paris, visiting his home country occasionally. This celebrated artist from Bangladesh is considered among the masters of contemporary art in world today.

Born in 1950 in Dhaka, Shahabuddin completed his graduation in Fine Arts from Bangladesh College of Arts & Crafts, University of Dhaka. The artist wielded weapons apart from brush as he participated in the war for liberation of Bangladesh when he experienced the uncertainties of life. He later went to France on a scholarship to study fine arts.

Shahabuddin’s compositions are unmistakably rhythmic. His art practice has been influenced by the European styles of the 1980’s and by Francis Bacon in particular. His baroque-like figures, turned towards space seeking force of light and energy, are a curious mixture of Western influence albeit rooted to his place of origin. This is what makes him an artist with universal sensibilities with an intense individuality. Its essence lies in life’s struggle that the artist experienced. His work is a perfect amalgamation of life and art skills.

The raw freshness of his fast paced works adds to their appeal. He relies heavily on the power of motion - transcending time and space - as his mode of artistic expression. The artist’s signature is his depiction power of motion as his favored mode of expression. He strives to unravel the hidden mysteries of the cosmos through the usage of color – most often monochromatic splattered with bright unusual shades with great erudition and finesse.

Shahabuddin is in search of an indestructible force. The undercurrent of his philosophy is to be seen in conjunction with the kinematics of his paintings in the realization that movement has beauty. The figures move, but there’s tranquility attained ultimately.

His prominent solo exhibitions have been held at Bangladesh College of Arts & Crafts (1973, 1979); Culture Centre, Poland (1977); Bangladesh Shilpkala Academy (1981, 1983 and 1986); Gallery L’Agence, Paris, France (1984); Gallery Carlier, Le Touquet, France (1987, 1989); Gallery Pierre Parrat, France (1987); Gallery Gabrielle Fliegans, Monaco (1990); Gallery Atelier-80, Bordeaux, France (1990, 1993); Ethnic Art Gallery, Switzerland (1992); Gallery Epoke, Denmark (1997); Gallery D.D. Dhaka, Bangladesh (1999); and Gallery Rymond Joseph, France Ex-en Province (2002). Shahabuddin’s work has also been featured in group shows at some of the most prestigious galleries of the world. Among the awards he has won are Prime Minister Medal as best painter of Bangladesh College of Arts & Crafts (1973); Bangla Academy Award, Silver Jubilee Exhibition, Bangladesh College of Arts & Crafts (1975); Salon de Printemps Gold Medal, Paris (1981); and Independent Award, highest contribution to the nation’s special prestigious participation (2000).

His paintings are displayed in numerous prestigious galleries all over the world. Museum Olympic Laussane, Switzerland and Bourn-En Brasse Museum France are two amongst the many galleries where his paintings have been displayed. In 1992 he received the 50 Master painters of contemporary arts, Olympiad of the Arts, Barcelona, Spain.

Portraits remain a distinct part of the painter’s oeuvre. The brave human figures face the realties of life with élan, smiling even during adversities. The force of his brushwork highlights this facet. The figures seem to be enthralled and engrossed in the cosmic dance at times in unison with the ethereal forces. His suffering mythological figures are future bound.

Shahabuddin is an eternal optimist and this is clearly expressed in his paintings. The optimism and abhorrence against violence was embedded in him during his involvement in Bangladesh’s Liberation struggle. The traces of the cataclysmic war still linger in his memory. Deeply inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology, he had made portrait of the inspiring leader.

From the challenging battlefields in the liberation war to the sere salons of Paris, he has seen it all. His works largely reflect contemporary life, times and concerns. Life is a never-ending competition or race. This is symbolized by the recurring motif of sportspersons in his works. The imagery of fearless human figures, which are in the motion of running, seems to burst free from their skin with their flesh, blood and sinew. In their dynamism his paintings revolve around human problems and their humble solutions that provide one the reason or excuse to live.