Over a dozen large canvases on easels with renowned painters and art college students busy at their work. Nine tents with finished paintings, depicting themes from the Liberation War of Bangladesh, adorning their walls. Such was the scene at the Vatika Lawn of Fort William in Kolkata on Monday. This was an art fest organized by the Army’s Eastern Command. Painters from India and Bangladesh expressed their feelings about the war, fought 50 years ago through their brush strokes, at the art fest.
The Indian Army and the Eastern Command played an important role in Bangladesh’s War of Liberation, so the event was titled ‘1971: Retrospective Through an Artist’s Eye.’ The paintings will be displayed in a gallery at the Fort William Museum under the banner ‘Commemorating the Birth of a Nation.’ The art fest was inaugurated on Monday by Lt Gen Anil Chauhan, GOC-in-C, Eastern Command.
“Though there have been many interactions between people from the two countries on this subject, this is for the first time that an exclusive event has been organized for painters like us. This is an honour. I am very happy to be participating in this event as India played a crucial role in our Liberation War. This is also a message to all that the military is not only about warfare and violence. Even soldiers do appreciate art,” said Jamal Uddin Ahmed, a painter and faculty at the department of fine arts in the University of Dhaka.
“This is a great event. India has been a true friend. Your country played a major role in our War of Liberation,” said Ahmed Shamsuddoha, an artist.
Arindam Chatterjee, who was among the Indian artists, said, “There have been a few such events where people from the field of arts have come together to commemorate the events of those times and pay tribute to those who gave up their all. This should have been thought earlier. Unfortunately, the literature of that time does not sufficiently reflect the great struggle in Bangladesh. Such an event with the historical structure of Fort William as a backdrop is certainly unique.”