The 99th birth anniversary of legendary artist Quamrul Hassan, famously known as ‘Potua’ is being observed in the country today.
Born on December 02, 1921, in Kolkata, Quamrul graduated in fine arts from the Government Institute of Arts (now College of Arts and Crafts, Kolkata) in 1947.
He came to Dhaka after the partition of India in 1947 and then helped ‘Shilpacharjo’ Zainul Abedin to establish Dacca Art College, now known as the Faculty of Fine Arts of Dhaka University. He served there as a teacher from 1948 till 1960.
Quamrul Hassan actively participated in all major national movements including the non-cooperation movement in 1969 and the Liberation War in 1971. During the war, he first served as the chairman of the Resistance Committee in Hatirpul area in the capital and later served as the Director of the Art Division of the Information and Radio Department of the Bangladesh Government in exile from Kolkata.
His caricatures portraying the ferocious gesture of Pakistani military dictator Yahya Khan titled ‘Ei Janowarder Hottya Korte Hobe’ (Annihilate These Demons) is considered as a classic artwork and cartoon that inspired the freedom fighters during the War of Liberation.
Often utilized ‘cubism’ (an early-20th-century avant-garde art movement that revolutionized European painting and sculpture) in his creations, Hassan practically worked with all mediums including oil, gouache, watercolour, pastel, etching, woodcut, linocut, pen and pencil.
Quamrul Hassan passed away through suffering a heart attack right after completing a sketch satirizing the then autocratic ruler, President Hussain Muhammad Ershad, titled ‘Desh Aj Bissho-Beheyar Khoppre’ (Our land is now in the hand of the champion of shamelessness) at the 2nd National Poetry Festival in Dhaka University on February 02, 1988.
He received several prestigious awards and honors including President’s Gold Medal, Independence Award, Bangladesh Charu Shilpi Sangsad Honor and others for his magnificent contributions in the Bangladeshi art sphere.
Apart from shaping the national flag in its current form, Quamrul Hassan also designed several other national logos including the state monogram of Bangladesh, Freedom Fighters Welfare Trust, Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, Bangladesh Bank, and Biman Bangladesh Airlines.