Murtaja Baseer hospitalised again
Eminent artist Murtaja Baseer has been admitted to the coronary care unit (CCU) of Apollo Hospital in the city with severe respiratory problems. He is now suffering from a severe lung infection.The artist was also suffering from heart and lung complications. The 87-year-old Baseer was admitted to the hospital on November 15.
Baseer was born in 1932. He joined Dacca Art College (now the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka) as a student in 1949. During the Liberation War, he left the country for Paris with his family. Baseer stayed in Paris till June 1973. While in Paris, he studied mosaic and etching at Beaux Arts in Paris. In 1973, Baseer returned to Bangladesh and joined Chittagong University as an assistant professor. He finally retired from teaching in 1998.
The painter is still actively exploring the diverse world of art. He has done a series of works articulating contemporary life and issues. His quest has always encouraged him to deliver new thoughts, styles and techniques in a constant pursuit of experimentation.
Baseer has also received high praise for true depiction of Bengali woman--her pathos, inner agony, magnificence and uniqueness. He zoomed the portrait of the women of ultra modern society where artificiality and vulgarity cautiously focused in his paintings. Coloured hair, smokey eye, mascara in eyes, sleeveless blouse and bra strife have been highlighted there. In 2003, he again concentrated on portraying female figures. In these works, the women look more sophisticated and refined. The classes of women cover upper middle class and middle class in our society. He never draws a single line without a logical explanation. Like other contemporaries artists of his time or later generations, his position remains at the highest.
"The Wings" is one of his noteworthy series, articulating truth, beauty, romanticism and spirituality. The most significant part of the series is that all of the works have a deep correlation but each painting denotes its individuality. Baseer has maintained continuity in his works. Subtle forms and colours create a panoramic impact in his works.
"Epitaph for the Martyrs", one of his significant series, was done in 1971, when Baseer escaped to Paris with his family, fearing arrest for his involvement in the independence movement. The artist inspired by the colours and varied alien forms enmeshed in stones that he found on a Parisian street.
Many are perhaps not familiar with Baseer's other identities as a poet, short story writer, novelist, researcher, numismatist and filmmaker. Baseer has written novels and was acclaimed for his meticulous style and unique choice of themes. In 1954, he wrote a novel, titled "Ultramarine". The novel was based on contemporary life in Kolkata and prevailing social issue of the time. He published a collection of short stories called "Kanch-er Pakhir Gaan" in 1969. He wrote two more novels - "Mitar Shangey Char Shandha" and "Amitakkhar". He has a collection of selected works, "Murtaja Baseer: Murto O Bimurto".
Reading Baseer's poetry is like an emotional journey. As a poet, he is a modernist in the complete sense. His style is unquestionably unique, expressive and easily comprehensible. When reading his poems, one feels the yearnings of a lonely soul, unbound sorrow, the vacuum in a melancholic heart. Baseer's poems are voyages into fantasy. He has a collection of selected poems, titled "Fresh Blood, Faint Line".
Baseer has also worked as a screenplay writer, art director and chief assistant director for the Bangla film "Nadi O Nari" in 1964, and as an art director for the Urdu film "Kaise Kahoon" in 1965.
In 1987, he received a fellowship from British Council to carry out research on folk and traditional art of Bangladesh. In 1988, he visited several museums in Delhi, Calcutta, Banaras and 3,000 villages under nine districts of West Bengal - under the fellowship of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). His work "Mudra O Shilalipir Aloke Banglar Habshi Sultan O Tothkalin Samaj" was published in 2004. Several articles by Baseer have been published in the Journal of the Numismatic Society of India, a prestigious publication.