We are deeply saddened by the passing of eminent artist Murtaja Baseer.
Baseer was born in Dhaka’s Ramna in 1932. He completed his undergrad degree at Dacca Art College (presently Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka) in 1949. He completed his higher studies at the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence during 1956-58, and later studied mosaic and etching at École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (ENSBA) in Paris during 1971–73.
A pioneer of surrealist art, some of Baseer’s famous paintings including ‘Dewal,’ ‘Shahid Shironam’, ‘Pakha’ and ‘Roktakto Ekushey’.
Baseer has also written several novels; Ultramarine, Kanch-er Pakhir Gaan, Mitar Shangey Char Shandha and Amitakkhar. He was a regular contributor to literary journals such as Dilruba, Samakal, and Saogat. In 1964, he also worked as the Screenwriter, Art Director, and Chief Assistant Director for the Bengali film ‘Nadi O Nari’ in 1965. He was also the Art Director for the 1965 Urdu film ‘Kaise Kahoon’.
Baseer joined University of Chittagong as an Assistant Professor and later served as the Chairman of the Fine Arts Department until 1998.
He received the Ekushey Padak in 1980 for his contribution to art, among numerous other awards and honours throughout his career.
Bengal Foundation made a documentary on his life and works in 2005 and published a book ‘Amar jibon o onnano’ (2014, Bengal Publications), which went on to receive the Bangla Academy Shahid Munier Chowdhury Best Book Award.
Baseer passed away at the age of 88 during treatment in Dhaka’s Evercare Hospital after being diagnosed with the Covid-19.