Master painter SM Sultan's Shishu Swarga, an art learning centre for Children in Narail, is now on the verge of closure due to a lack of teachers.
There are four buildings which are used for different purposes. One is an art gallery. Shishu Swarga is used for teaching students. There is also a library and office. Besides, a large engine-driven boat is lying idle by the side of River Chitra.
After the passing away of three teachers and organisers of the centre, the institution is now in an almost-abandoned condition.
SM Sultan established the institution in 1978 at Kurigram on the outskirts of Narail town to teach painting to children. He also made an engine-driven boat for the students so that they could learn boat riding and enjoy the serenity of nature.
After his death on October 10, 1994, Sultan's adopted son painter Dulal Saha, his disciple Kajal Mukharjee and Liton Biswas took on the responsibility of the institution. Kajal and Dulal passed away in 2011 and 2014 respectively, and Liton too died in June 2015. Since their death, no one has come forward to save the institution.
As a result, Sultan's paintings on 200 hardboards, pencils, exercise books and different painting mediums are now gathering dust, and the boat too is lying idle on the bank of Chitra.
Baladev Adhikary, the only teacher at Shishu Swarga, cannot teach 150 students all by himself as no one has come forward to volunteer for the organisation.
Samir Kumar Boiragi, member-secretary of the District Charushilpi Parishad, told that only four teachers were required to save the institution.
Haider Ali, district cultural officer and acting curator of SM Sultan Complex, said that he had sent a letter to the concerned authority for recruiting teachers. Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy would appoint an assistant curator and three teachers shortly, he added.
Sultan, a world famous painter, returned to his hometown after holding exhibitions in different cities across the world and established an art school for children in Narail.
A lifelong bachelor, Sultan settled down in an abandoned building in Narail besides Chitra where he spent the rest of his life with his adopted family and pets. He also built a mini zoo there.