Collaborative Investigation and Analysis of the Works of S M Sultan

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh-US ties, the US Ambassador H E Mr. Earl R. Miller announced the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) 2021 at a ceremony yesterday (November 2, 2021) at Bengal Shilpalay, Dhanmondi. The three-year initiative supports study, analysis, and restoration of the collection of works by S M Sultan held in the Bengal Foundation’s collection and will train young Bangladeshi conservation professionals on sustainable conservation techniques, methodologies, and restoration models. Art historian and writer Dr. Syed Manzoorul Islam and Mr. Mohammad Nurul Huda, Director General of Bangla Academy, spoke on the occasion.

S M Sultan’s (1923-1994) works are foundational in the history of modern painting in Bangladesh and must be preserved for current and future generations. Sultan is unique in favouring local knowledge and resource, over convention. Over the years, his paintings have suffered severe colour deterioration and material degradation for lack of any rational technical analysis and informed conservation effort. The AFCP grant, the first of its kind, is a significant 3-year collaborative project that will investigate and analyse works by Sultan held in the Bengal Foundation’s collection. It is hoped the exercise will lead to a body of knowledge that will enable restoration and conservation of all of Sultan’s artworks. The multiple outcomes of the grant include creating a sustainable conservation and restoration model for others to emulate and replicate; training young conservators; advocating for a national policy on conservation of artworks; using research findings to revive traditional techniques, promoting use of natural materials and dyes, recreating lost materials; launching conservation education programme; creating a knowledge- based network in South Asia and connecting with leading museums.


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