Ekushey Padak Award-winning artist Qayyum Chowdhury was known as a trendsetter in the Bangladeshi art scene. His magical creations have managed to shape the face of our art history, earning praise both at home and abroad. Today marks the death anniversary of this legendary artist.
The art maestro was born in the district of Feni and gradually started schooling at a maktab. His family moved a lot as his father was often posted in different districts. After his birth, his family moved first to Chattogram and then to Cumilla, exploring and experiencing different flavours of this country. After a while, he decided to move again and this time, he chose Narail and ended up spending 3 years there.
Later, his father was transferred to Sandwip, a small island located on the south eastern coast Chattogram where he continued with his academics. After travelling across the whole country, he was finally able to sit for his Matriculation Exam (SSC) in Mymensingh.
Qayyum Chowdhury's interest in art and painting had developed since his school days. Giving wings to his passion, the legend finally arrived at Art Institute in Dhaka. Under the guidance of Zainul Abedin, Qayyum Chowdhury soon started to expand his boundaries, experimenting with oil, acrylic, pen and ink.
As a student at the institute, he joined the Language Movement in 1952 with his peers.
From 1955 to 1956, juggled between various professions. Alongside designing book covers, he also started working as the editor (jointly) for a showbiz magazine named "Chhaya Chobi".
He soon started getting noticed for his book covers and came into contact with renowned author Syed Shamsul Haque, becoming friends for a lifetime. He soon became the choice for many other renowned poets and writers who deeply desired him to design their book covers.
Chowdhury joined Dhaka Art College as a lecturer in 1957. He retired from the institute in 1994 but he kept teaching till 2002.
The artist has worked in various mediums including oil, water colour, ink pen, and crayon, among many others. However, he used to say that oil painting and water colour were his most favourites.
In his lifetime, he was honoured with numerous awards, starting with First prize in the All Pakistan Art Exhibition in Lahore (1962). He went on to bag more including, The Imperial Court Prize, Tehran Biennale (1966), Gold medal for book design from the National Book Centre, Dhaka (1975), Shilpakala Academy Award (1977), 6th Bangabandhu Award (1994), Leipzig Book Fair Prize for book illustration (1983) and Sultan Padak (1999).
Qayyum Chowdhury breathed his last on November 30, 2014 after he fell sick at the Bengal Classical Music Festival being held in Bangladesh Army Stadium.