Bangladesh emerged as a free and sovereign nation following a nine-month-long war, under Bangabandhu's leadership on 16 December 1971.
The war claimed the lives of at least three million people and hundreds of thousands of women were raped and tortured.
It has been 50 years since that fateful day but the quest for independence, the solemn sacrifices made and hardships endured through the dark days of 1971 still move us with emotions of the highest level.
In a bid to illustrate Bangladesh's epic journey for freedom and the different events that took place back then, renowned art arena Galleri Kaya has organised an exhibition titled 'EPIC 1971' marking the country's 50 years of independence.
Portraying the sacrifices made by the people of this land, the exhibition will be on view from 14 January till 29 January at Galleri Kaya located in Dhaka's Uttara.
The Daily Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman and Liberation War Museum Trustee Mofidul Hoque will grace the inauguration ceremony.
The exclusive exhibition will showcase the brilliant works of eight modern and veteran artists - Shahabuddin Ahmed, Jamal Ahmed, Aloptogin Tushar, Ranjit Das and the late Somnath Hore from Bangladesh; Chandra Bhattacharjee, Atin Basak and Aditya Basak from neighbouring India.
This initiative aims to provide a visually rich and thematic perspective of 1971 to today's generation so that they get to live the era of oppression and repression that eventually led to a triumphant victory - allowing them to connect deeply with the struggles of the martyrs.
Speaking with The Business Standard, Galleri Kaya Director Goutam Chakraborty said that the idea of the exhibition first came to his mind in 2020.
"I always had the urge to do something on the subject of our liberation war. I wanted to create a bridge between the country's young generation and 1971 through art. EPIC 1971 is a culmination of all that. Noted veteran and young artists from here and India have been brought together to depict the true essence of the period when Bangladesh was created," he said.
"I was a child when the country got liberated. However, it did have a profound impact on me as I had fled to Kolkata with some of my family while the others remained in Bangladesh. The months we spent there were full of agony with the constant fear of losing our loved ones in the hands of the occupational forces. Today's generation needs to remember what happened in 1971 - all the political and social aspects," the acclaimed artist added.
A selection of 31 artworks, completed between 1969 to 2021, in acrylic, oil, ink, etching, synthetic, tempera, serigraph, lithograph and mixed media on paper and canvas will be displayed in the exhibition.
Visitors have been requested to wear masks and maintain all Covid-19 health safety protocols at all times inside the gallery.
The exhibition is sponsored by ADN Group and its online partner is artitude.com.bd.
Art enthusiasts can visit Gallery Kaya's Facebook page or mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com for related information and catalogue.
Out of a collection of 31 artworks, TBS picks three paintings by three artists that stand out.
'War-71 (2)' by Ranjit Das
This collage format painting attempts to bring together the melancholy and grit to fight of Bangladeshi women not only for their country but also for their honour and dignity.
With the prominence of grey and different shades of yellow, the 122cmX122cm acrylic canvas work delivers on the promise made to captivate visitors in each of its frames.
When asked to comment on his creation, Ranjit Das said, "In my work, I have tried to depict the struggles and sacrifices in the quest for independence. In this piece, one can see different aspects of our war of independence. We can see a very emotional Bangabandhu upon his return to independent Bangladesh in 1972."
"The agonies that our women had to endure have also been portrayed here. We can also see the participation of women in our fight for freedom and the atrocities faced by them by the Pakistani forces," he added.
'Guerilla' by Jamal Ahmed
Brave guerilla freedom fighters with guns in hand, eyes fixed on the target, not to be messed with.
The 152X122cm acrylic canvas work created by Jamal Ahmed gives you the sense of how the force that was defeated could not withstand the test of time, fell grey and how the victorious Bangladeshis prevailed.
"I have three paintings to be featured in the EPIC 1971 exhibition. Two of the works illustrate our freedom fighters, guerilla fighters and sons of the soil fighting for their country with the utmost dedication and affection.
"Then there is this one of a strong rearing horse, without any leash, that represents Bangladesh's freedom - breaking all the shackles of subjugation and repression undergone through decades," said Jamal Ahmed.
'The Brave Heart Against Arrogance' by Aloptogin Tushar
The mixed media painting by Aloptogin Tushar - a lion-hearted, passionate Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with his iconic raised index finger, standing tall against all the odds, Pakistani aggression and US provocation - is a perfect rendition of what the 1971 Liberation War means to Bangladeshis and how it all began with the command, dream of one great man.
To sum up his artistic expression, Tushar said, "In my work, Bangabandhu and his raised finger symbolises the war for freedom and the struggle for independence. He is from Bangladesh."
He added, "On the top right corner, black dense smoke coming out of the Statue of Liberty torch, stands for all the provocation, instigation and arrogance of the then-US government against Bangladesh and its people.
"Backed by the US, we can see a raging bull charging forward to destroy everything in its path, which embodies the Pakistani forces and their aggression and oppression on us."