mohammad IQBAL




Mohammad Iqbal is a visual artist who lives and works in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He has a PhD in Fine Arts from Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan.


b. 1967

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Artist Statement

War, crime, religious grudge, and racial conflict arbitrarily exist in this civilized world. The development of philosophy, science, and technology have contributed enormously in achieving human development and betterment of mankind. Unfortunately, while at the peak of the evolution of human development, certain acts against nation, society, and environment have jeopardized progress. At the same time, civilization has gradually been transformed into a mechanical state and has incorporated the practice of anti-humanism and fanaticism. This imbalance has affected our environment that accommodates both the humankind and animal class. As an artist, I try to portray the environment as well as the living beings – the helpless, tortured and conflict-stricken children as a subject of my dispute to the cruelty of anti-humanism. My representation of face reflects happiness and sorrow, grief and pain, and uncertainty and fear. The expressions are unambiguously expressed through eyes and faces. This is why children’s faces have become the subject of my painting. The pain, insecurity and fear of the mentally disabled children are mirrored through their eyes and faces. The issues of my paintings are derived from reality, various media information and other sources in my surrounding.

The subject and introductory thoughts of my paintings are sequentially illustrated in the thesis entitled “Civilization and Destruction”. I believe the subject is very important in my painting and thus, the hints and introduction in the subject selection are divided into three parts with relevant information and sketches. The focus on the subjects include mentally shattered children in the war and conflict; environmental pollution and the children affected by the environmental imbalance; and child labour, slavery and children troubled by the acts of anti-humanism.

Some childhood memories stay forever. Some of my childhood memories are horrific and still fresh. I was four years old in 1971 during the Liberation War of Bangladesh. The fear and suffering of the war have comes back to my mind seeing the consecutive wars and conflicts in recent time. The dead bodies of the innocent children and the faces of the survived - handicapped or orphans make regular headlines in the mass media. These recollect my childhood memories of the frightening 1971 war. Losing their parents and family, many orphan or street children are growing up in today’s world. In some region, war and conflict have been a common phenomenon. Children in these parts of the world have spontaneously adopted the consequences of the war. They are becoming young within an environment of aggression, fear and uncertainty.

Mental disruption in a child’s life shakes me with deep empathy and sorrow. Therefore, the evidence of the subject selection of my painting has emanated from the experience of unkindness to children. Their oppressive and shattered condition has been my focus. I gave special concentration on the figuration of children’s facial moods and expressions by using subtle lines and deep shades. In doing so, I created paintings like a chiaroscuro effect - distributing light and shade giving a two-dimensionality with grey and transparent background.

Facial expressions of the human being are my prime interest. I tried to express the emotions of human nature - sorrow, happiness, melancholy, illness and laughter through the face. My faces are universal and impersonal. Usually, they are drawn from my imagination and recollection of the past which reflect my thought and viewpoint on different phenomena of life. In drawing the faces, I try to show the big facial portrait of a number of faces in a transparent manner. I use oil colour for painting. From top to bottom, the ground was created using ten or twelve layers of oil colour. The whole background was brought into an engraved effect. In the backdrop of the greyish tone, a thin line of sketchy style was drawn to bring out the details of the faces. It may also be noticeable in general that I have tried to keep the monochrome in executing the figuration and background. Round and curvy dot-like background shapes in almost all my paintings are my unique trait and style. These dot-like shapes symbolize air and environmental pollution. This symbol is derived from my own imagination which is nevertheless my own psyche. These round dotted shape or bubble-like form spreading all over the background are my imaginary aesthetics, projecting the imbalance in nature. Again, this symbol is a reflection of the urge to create a secure livelihood, a good future, a beautiful habitat and a war free and pollution-free environment for the children. Furthermore, the dotted shapes in my paintings have become the symbol of my dispute.

“Krishnokoli”, Artist: Mohammad Iqbal