”One may say art is meaningless and has no importance. Yet art, culture, literature and education are all very necessary to ennoble the spirit,” Monirul Islam said.
From a very early age, Monir felt at ease maneuvering from one medium to another, having mastered etching, watercolour, acrylic and oil, to name a few. He also had the opportunity of coming in close contact with some of the legends of the Bangladeshi art scene.
Monir fondly recollects the special bond he shared with the great Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin, and considers himself lucky on accompanying him twice on outdoor works.
Originally from Chandpur, Monirul Islam was born in 1943, at Jamalpur, then part of British India. Yusuf Ali, his father, was a sanitary inspector posted in Kishoreganj.
“As a child I never had the opportunity to see any original artwork, or even painter's supplies; but I had the passion to do something creative. While I was a student of grade seven, my artistic journey began with an important work. Nature always attracted me and I had depicted many paintings delineating nature and its various aspects in those days,” the artist said.
“The culture of celebrating birthdays is not very old in our country. Although it's a special day, I never felt the need to celebrate it in a particular form. During my days in Madrid, Spain, friends would visit my residence on my birthdays. Yet, I always feel very shy to observe it formally,” the artist said.
“Today, thanks to social media, a large number of people wish me on this day, many of whom I even don't know! But I feel a sense of gratitude towards them. My joys know no bound when old friends wish me on the day,” he added.
Speaking of his upcoming plans Monirul Islam stated that he is participating in an international art workshop, organised by Uttarayan Art Foundation of Baroda, India. “The spacious gardens, rivers and natural settings at the site are amazing. I hope to pass a wonderful time with Indian and Spanish friends, exchanging ideas of various creative ventures. I hope to return to Bangladesh on September 2,” said the artist.
Monir has recently been to Madrid, Spain, his second home, where he visited Museo Nacional Del Prado and several exhibitions.
“To remove the monotony of life and to stimulate the artistic spirit, one needs to travel. Cultural nourishment and art are necessary in every aspect of life. I would like to adorn my life and surroundings with the beauty of art so that it becomes more enjoyable,” he asserted.
When asked about his expectations from life, the living legend said: “First of all I want mental peace. Secondly, as an artist, I want to work till the end of my life in good health. And finally I would like to know the unknown and understand the essence of art and life. Love is crucial for a creative person and everyone needs stimulation and motivation to do beautiful work.”
Star Arts & Entertainment wishes Monirul Islam a happy birthday and hopes to see him pursue his love and passion for many decades to come.