A couple of years ago, I met the celebrated architect Mustapha Khalid Palash at his Gulshan office in the city. At that time, he was very busy with his upcoming solo painting exhibition at Asiatic Society. I meticulously looked at his new paintings. I was amazed to see the works for their outstanding volume, fragmented imagery, and overall cerebral look. After a few days, I sent an article for his brochure.
Palash is among the famed Bangladeshi architects. Beyond his architectural practice, he also paints, sings, writes, plays sitar and collects paintings. Both of his parents -- KMG Mustapha and Afroz Mustapha-- were painters in the early 1960s. He was raised in an artistic ambience which helps him to keep in touch with different genres of art and culture. During his childhood, his home was like a hub for artists, poets and academics. Colour and brush have been his close companions since childhood. He has written short stories and poems for little magazines and several literary journals.
Palash is a very warm person, he exudes kindness. His kindness and compassion are immeasurable. He is the kind of person who lights up a room with his tranquil smile. He is natural, unassuming and real. He is bookish and studious. His knowledge is based on many aspects of life ranging from art, literature, architecture, politics, economics, movies, music, history, archaeology and current affairs. He is one of the busiest architects today but he is very punctual by nature. His office and residence are in the same apartment but he is never late to office. I have never seen him bearded since I know him. Despite his social status and intelligence, he remains humble in the workplace and is never pompous.
Palash is an avid art collector. His fascination is natural as he is a born artist. At the age of 16, he had his first painting exhibition, which was inaugurated by legendary artist Quamrul Hassan, in 1978. During a conversation with him, he once said that, at a very young age, he realised that his paintings were quite mature. However, he has a good collection of rare paintings and artifacts. His collection includes great Bangladeshi masters and contemporary Bangladeshi painters. He has a personal relationship with many artists as they were known to his parents. He is very choosy about his collection.
Palash is a founder of Delvistaa Foundation. He has promoted many artistes and painters in our country. Many established artistes, painters and cultural activists have come to him during their acute financial crisis. Palash enthusiastically helps them. His social contribution and loyalty to the country have given him a distinct identity. He shies away from overexposure, commercial lures and dictates of popular taste.
Palash is a multitalented personality and does many things simultaneously. Once he said, "I can even repair shoe." He is a socially conscious person. He without any hesitation talks about his social and economic conditions before the late 90s. His years of struggle helped him to reach his present position. He is a very open, liberal and secular person. At the same time, he is introvert and reticent by nature. When anybody talks about any of his finest architectures, he tries to avoid the matter silently. He is a workaholic and always plunges deep into work. A very busy professional, Palash sketches or doodles either while having long telephonic conversations or during long meetings. He even draws while chatting and does it without any specific aim. When Palash feels saddened and his creative endeavour flourishes, brush and colours assist him to explore his inner vision. He records his pain, happiness and experiences through his canvas, which becomes a mirror of his pensive mood as reflected in his creative process.
Palash is a painter who is very conscious about the art movements in different parts of the world. The opportunity to tour many countries, and visit their galleries and museums, has helped Palash to closely explore the works of the master painters of those countries. In Dhaka, the artist feels that the city has given him many opportunities to explore himself.
Palash's constructions are noted for their being in 21st century mode, verging on experimentalism. His novel approach towards architecture makes him peerless or practically singular in our country.
This year, this multitalented personality turns 51. In his chequered life, he received many recognitions.