Primarily a seasoned painter, Shohag Parvez is also a well-known cover artist, who has done close to a hundred illustrations this year for the Ekushey Boi Mela. The artist, whose subjects comprise of nature and human beings, claims that the book fair is the perfect medium to reach the masses with illustrative art. “I do cover art as a hobby, but there is no denying the sheer quantity of people that the Ekushey Book Fair brings in. It is great exposure for us artists.”
Shohag, who has done the cover art for more than 3000 books in his career, is greatly inspired by the likes of Hashem Khan and Rafiqun Nabi. “When I was in the 6th grade, my teacher, Mir Zahid, encouraged me to try my hand in art,” says the artist, “I am also greatly indebted to Hashem Khan for being my mentor for more than a decade.” Shohag went on to complete his Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) from the Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka. The covers Shohag has designed for this year's book fair include Ek Raater Raajkumar by Sufia Begum, Operation Rescue by Nasir Ahmed Kabul and Raisona O Motupatlur Chora by Asim Saha.
Even though the artist has been busy with cover art work for the book fair since as early as August, he hopes to limit the amount of work he does each year. “In international markets, there are completely separate industries for illustrators, cover artists and painters. That is not the case in Bangladesh," he says. " Since I do this out of hobby, I would like to concentrate more on my art in the coming years.”