Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka
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|Established||1948: Dhaka Art School|
1963: East Pakistan College of Arts and Crafts
1972: Bangladesh Govt. College of Arts and Crafts
1983: Institute of Fine Arts
2008: Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Dhaka
The Faculty of Fine Arts (FFA) was established in 1948 as the Dhaka Art School. It was the first art school in the region and became the main centre of art and cultural practice. Since 1956 it has been situated in Shahbag, Dhaka, close to the Bangladesh National Museum. Architect Muzharul Islam designed the building. In 2008, the institute took its current name when it became one of the faculties of the University of Dhaka.
With the leadership of Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin the eminent artists Anwarul Huq, Quamrul Hasan, Khawaja Shafique Ahmed, Safiuddin Ahmed and Habibur Rahman started the Government Institute of Arts and Crafts in DNMI Hospital building at Jonson road in Dhaka.
At the moment of its beginning there were six teachers along with Zainul Abedin as the Principal and eighteen students. The activities of this institute started with three departments: Fine arts (at present Drawing and Painting), Commercial art (at present Graphic Design) and Graphic art (at present Printmaking). In 1952 the institute moved to a building at Segun Bagicha and then in 1956 it moved to its own building at Shahbag.
In 1963 the institute turned into Government Degree College and was named East Pakistan College of Arts and Crafts. After independence of Bangladesh this college was named Bangladesh College of Arts and Crafts. M.F.A. course has been started here since 1978. Art History department started MFA course in 1991 and honors course in 2001. In 1983 this college merged as institute in Dhaka University. Honors course has been started since 1992-93 session. The institute was turned into a Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Dhaka in 2008.
Influence on art
After the institute was established,within a few years, however, it became quite apparent that what was started only as a training centre had assumed a far greater role, for it quickly became a meeting place for all aspiring artists and a forum from which a new art movement could be launched. The faculty and students of the institute were in touch with what was happening in the West. Many teachers went to Europe and Japan for training and came back with new ideas; but they were also steeped in the traditions of indigenous and folk art and art forms. The West played a formative influence in sharpening their sensibilities, but their firm root protected them from losing their sense of direction and becoming mere imitators of western art. This ability to balance and blend the very best elements of local and foreign art has been a strong point for Bangladeshi artists. Over the fifty years since the inception of the Art Institute, Bangladeshi art has made remarkable progress. The training provided to its students gave them the freedom to develop their own talents in keeping with their dominant inclinations. The heritage of the Bengal school was closely followed by the students of oriental art, while folk forms found their way in the work of many artists (including the founding teachers Zainul Abedin and Qamrul Hassan).
This masterpiece was Muzharul Islam's first architectural endeavor. The site is located in the Roman area apart of Dhaka University Campus. The Roman area is well known for its gardens and parks. Most of the buildings in this area have been designed in the scheme of a “bagan bari” (house in a garden). The site that was given for the purpose of the institute was dotted with beautiful trees with a large circular depression at the end of the site. Muzharul Islam decided to come up with a design scheme that will retain all the trees on the site (as some of them were large beautiful trees that would have require many years to grow). His scheme was also climate responsive and had large continuous verandahs shading the inner walls and windows of the classrooms and studios. The design echoes the out house and inner house scheme of rural Bangladesh. It also transforms ‘Jalees’ (lattices) and ‘beras’ (perforated screens) into wonderful screens that separates and creates thresholds. One enters into the front pavilion, a wonderful structure that houses galleries on the ground floor and teachers and common rooms etc. on the first. A wonderful sculptural stairs connects the two levels around a wonderful internal courtyard. Past the pavilion are the classrooms and studios and in the far end encircling the round depression are the print studios. A lotus pond and sitting area becomes the open heart of the whole institute. The ground on the south both is a relief and a place to gather. This ground and the whole structure itself transforms to host many activities namely the Bengali New Year ‘Pohela Boishakh’ and numerous art classes and competitions for children. Bricks of the project were also custom designed by Muzharul Islam as so are the terracotta screens. Marvelous shading devices and pergola type details brick our driving rain.
At present the institute has eight departments—Graphic Design, Oriental Art, Ceramics, Drawing and Painting, Sculpture, Crafts, History of Arts and Printmaking. Programmes include four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA Honours) and two-year Master of Fine Arts (MFA) for all departments. The number of students enrolled annually has gone up—from 80 to around 120. The Graphic Design department has a new computer lab. Students of FFA now have options to work part-time (at media houses and ad firms) and the commercial aspect of BFA and MFA degrees from the institute now seems favourable, opportunities the previous generations did not enjoy. There are 43 permanent teachers and most of the teachers are eminent artists of the country. FFA is an important centre of Modern art practice in Bangladesh. Many eminent and internationally renowned artists of Bangladesh were the students of this Faculty. The importance of this Art Institute in the cultural life of Bangladesh cannot be overemphasized. For the last 50 years, it has worked not simply as an institution imparting art education but also as a cultural centre for Bengalis, functioning as a force for cultural revival and regeneration.
- "Wikimapia". wikimapia.org.
- "Cradle of contemporary Bangladeshi art Charukala". The Daily Star. 15 October 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
- "ঢাকার প্রথম আর্ট ইনস্টিটিউট" [Dhaka's first art institute]. Bangladesh Pratidin (in Bengali). 17 May 2011. Archived from the original on 18 January 2013.
- Waheed, Karim (15 October 2010). "Cradle of contemporary Bangladeshi art Charukala". The Daily Star.
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- Mamun, Muntasir, February 2009, Dhaka Smriti Bsmritir Nagori Volume 2, Ananna Publishers, Dhaka, Bangladesh.