Zainul Abedin’s 105th Birthday today
Today’s Doodle celebrates Bangladeshi painter, educator, and activist Zainul Abedin on his 105th birthday.
Widely considered a founding father of Bangladeshi modern art, he was given the title of “Shilpacharya,” or “Great Teacher of the Arts.” Throughout his colorful life, Abedin strived to preserve and honor Bangladeshi heritage.
Born along the Brahmaputra River in Mymensingh in 1914, Abedin attended the Government School of Art in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) studying European academic styles. After completing his education, Abedin was inspired to create an art piece that paid homage to the scenic views of his childhood, which won him the Governor’s Gold Medal at age 23.
Free to craft his own style, Abedin released a series of sketches in 1943 depicting an avoidable famine that affected the region, which is widely seen as his most popular work.
He would continue to draw inspiration from the human experience throughout his career, such as with Struggle (Bangla title: ‘সংগ্রাম’) which was painted more than 30 years after his famine sketches.
To foster Bangladeshi cultural life, Abedin created the first center for modern art in the region with the Government Institute of Arts and Crafts (now the Faculty of Fine Arts) at the University of Dhaka in 1948.
A decade later, he was honored with his country’s highest civil award, the Presidential Award for Pride of Performance, for his cultural contributions.
Four years after Bangladesh gained its independence from Pakistan in 1971, Abedin opened the Folk Art Museum at Sonargaon and the Zainul Abedin Sangrahashala (a gallery of his personal collection) in Mymensingh to instill pride in native culture.
The International Astronomical Union named an impact crater on Mercury for Abedin in 2009, calling it “Abedin.