Nitun Kundu

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Nitun Kundu (Bengali: নিতুন কুন্ডু) (full name: Nitya Gopal Kundu (Bengali: নিত্য গোপাল কুন্ডু) (born: December 3, 1935 - September 15, 2006) was a Bangladeshi artist, sculptor and entrepreneur, who was known for bringing new trends in abstract and realistic art to the Bangladeshi arts scene. He was also well known for his furniture designs, pioneering the use of integrating wood with metal in Bangladesh.

Born in Dinajpur, he was the fourth among seven children. His parents were Gnanendranath Kundu and Binapani Kundu. He was married to Phalguni Kundu and had a daughter Amity and son Animesh.

He was a widely respected cultural figure, businessman and hero of the Bangladesh Liberation War for his artistic contributions, and received a State funeral that was attended by a cross-section of civil society and government.

Education and early career[edit]

Kundu graduated from Dhaka Art College (now the Institute of Fine Arts) in 1959, topping the entire class that year. In the years leading up to 1971, he worked at the USIS in Dhaka.

Freedom fighter[edit]

During the Bangladesh Liberation War, Kundu worked with the celebrated artist Quamrul Hassan at the public relations department of the Bangladesh Government-in-Exile at Mujibnagar. In collaboration with Hassan and a group of highly talented artists namely Debdas Chakraborty, Nasir Biswas, Pranesh Mandal and Biren Shome; Kundu worked on numerous posters and works of art aimed at arousing the newly formed Mukti Bahini liberation army and also raising awareness of the genocide being unleashed by the Pakistan Army on the people of Bangladesh.

It was during this period he designed two posters which became among the most recognized works of art produced during the war. The first was a call to arms at a stage when the Mukti Bahini was still desperately seeking volunteers to join its ranks. Sada Jagrata Banglar Mukti Bahini (Bengali: সদা জাগ্রত বাংলার মুক্তি বাহিনী) (translated as: Ever Awake the Freedom Fighters of Bengal). The second has become a rallying cry for progressive activists all over Bangladesh right through to today, particularly in face of rising communal tensions: Banglar Hindu, Banglar Bouddha, Banglar Christian, Banglar Musalman; Amra Sabai Bangali (Bengali: বাংলার হিন্দু, বাংলার বৌদ্ধ, বাংলার খ্রিষ্টান, বাংলার মুসলমান, আমরা সবাই বাঙ্গালী) (translated as: Bengal's Hindus, Bengal's Buddhists, Bengal's Christians, Bengal's Muslims; we are ALL Bengalis).

The Liberation War was the inspiration for Kundu's most famous work, the sculpture Shabash Bangladesh (Bengali: সাবাস বাংলাদেশ), a tribute to the fallen freedom fighters of the Mukti Bahini. This is the largest sculpture in Bangladesh and is situated on the campus of Rajshahi University.

Furniture pioneer[edit]

In the 1975, following a brief stint at Bitopi advertising agency, Nitun Kundu established his own company, a furniture store featuring his own designs, Otobi. Within a relatively short period, Otobi became the most prominent Bangladeshi furniture brand, emphasizing the new nation's pride in its refound cultural identity after independence. Otobi quickly grew to become one of Bangladesh's top exported brands, with sales primarily to India and the South East Asian countries.

Famous works[edit]

The SAARC fountain, Dhaka

Awards and honors[edit]

References[edit]

  • শিল্প উদ্যোক্তা শিল্পী নিতুন কুণ্ডু আর নেই, পোস্তগোলা শ্মশানে শেষকৃত্য আজ (Shilpo uddokta, shilpi Nitun Kundu ar nei, Postogola Smoshane Sheshkritto aaj, Daily Prothom Alo, September 16, 2006.
  • [1] Daily Star obituary