Eminent artist Dr Farida Zaman shares her successful artistic journey at Cosmos Art Echo: Session 7

Artworks and paintings can showcase and preserve the everlasting presence of history, culture, and people's way of life all throughout the world. There is no shortcut to mastering the talent of drawing and painting, and artists must be conscious of their noble duty. Young artists need to be devoted and industrious in order to achieve creative greatness, said Ekushey Padak winning Bangladeshi art maestro Dr Farida Zaman at Cosmos Art Echo: Session 7 on Tuesday.

Hosted by artist Sourav Chowdhury, the virtual art talk presented by Cosmos-Atelier 71 welcomed the eminent artist and educator to share her eventful and highly successful journey for the art enthusiasts, where she described her simple yet majestic way of acquiring artistic brilliance through her indomitable spirit, dedication and hardship. Her tales mesmerized the virtual audiences, and she also talked about some of her notable paintings alongside answering the questions of art enthusiasts at the event.

The first-ever female teacher of the department, Dr Farida Zaman was born in Chandpur in 1953 and completed her graduation in 1974. She went on to become a proud ICCR scholar and earned a Master's degree in fine arts from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India, in 1978, and a doctorate in 1995 from Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan, India. Her days in Santiniketan, where she studied under K G Subramaniam, were formative in shaping her creative perspective. Till now, she has shown her work in eight solo exhibitions and more than 100 group exhibitions both at home and abroad throughout the course of her five-decade career. The artist is an honorary professor at the University of Dhaka's Faculty of Fine Art's Department of Drawing and Painting.

"I grew up beside the River Dakatia in Chandpur and came from a very simple background. My uncle, the legendary artist Hashem Khan, inspired me to get enrolled in the then Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bangladesh College of Arts and Crafts (presently Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka), Dhaka - and I graduated from the institution in 1974. I started my career as a teacher in my department and later went abroad to achieve higher studies on art, and never compromised any of my family responsibility as a wife and mother," Dr Zaman candidly described her journey.

"To narrate the art thoroughly on the canvas, we, the artists, need to go through the field activities. This has always been my way to learn. Sadly I explore that nowadays, many of our young and talented artists are less enthusiastic about the hardship. To be a successful artist, one has to be properly enthusiastic and dedicated, and my heartfelt gratitude goes to Cosmos-Atelier 71 for hosting such an event where the knowledge can get channelled among the artists," she said at the event.

In her work, the seasoned painter utilizes bright colours such as brown and yellow, depicting the naturality of soil and the earth. Many of her remarkable works, such as the 'Fishing Net' and 'Sufia' series, are inspired by her childhood growing up near the River Dakatia in Chandpur. "Sufia is a genuine lady who symbolizes Bangladeshi women in rural areas in general. My housekeeper at the time had curly hair and pale brown skin, and she was the inspiration for this figure. Our rural women's daily struggles in their personal and professional life inspire me, and I strive to depict them in my paintings. From my travel across Bangladesh and India, I tried portraying them in paintings with a variety of topics."

Dr Zaman is a former Director of the University of Dhaka's Institute of Fine Arts and a former Chairman of its Department of Drawing and Painting. She was a founding member of 'Shako,' a female artist group located in Dhaka, and a member of the National Committee of the Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh. She also served on the jury committee of the National Young Art Exhibition of Bangladesh.

The Government of Bangladesh awarded her the Ekushey Padak in 2020 for her exceptional contributions to Bangladeshi art, and the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy presented her with the Sultan Swarna Padak 2020 at Sultan Mancha, Narail. In 2008, she received the International Life Membership Award from the 'Salon de Tokyo, Japan,' as well as a Gold Medal from the Beijing Olympic Games with the title of 'Excellent Artist of the World.'

Her works have been collected by the Fukuoka Art Museum in Japan, the Kusan International Art Gallery in the Republic of Korea, the Bangladesh National Museum, the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, the Shahid Smriti Museum in Rajshahi, the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Bangabhaban (President House), and Bangladesh Bank, as well as art enthusiasts at home and abroad.

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