Qayyum Chowdhury

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Qayyum Chowdhury
কাইয়ুম চৌধুরী
Qayyum chudhury.JPG
Born(1932-03-09)9 March 1932
Died30 November 2014(2014-11-30) (aged 82)
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Known forPainting, book design and illustration
Awardsfull list

Qayyum Chowdhury (9 March 1932 – 30 November 2014)[1][2] was a Bangladeshi painter. Along with Zainul Abedin, Quamrul Hassan and Safiuddin Ahmed, he is considered as a first generation artist of Bangladesh.[3] He was awarded the Ekushey Padak in 1984 and the Independence Day Award in 2014 by the Government of Bangladesh.[4][5]

Early life[edit]

Chowdhury in 1960

Chowdhury was born on 9 March 1932 in Feni. His father, Abdul Quddus Chowdhury, came from a landlord family and was a cooperative-bank official. Because of transferring job, Chowdhury lived in Chittagong, Comilla, Narail, Sandwip, Noakhali, Feni, Faridpur and Mymensingh in his boyhood.[6] His uncles, Mohtasambillah Chowdhury and Aminul Islam Chowdhury were writers.[7] In 1949, he completed his matriculation from Mymensingh City Collegiate School.[6] He graduated from Dhaka Art College (now Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka) in 1954.[2]


Chowdhury joined Dhaka Art College as a lecturer in 1957.[2] He then took a job at the newly established Design Centre to work under Quamrul Hassan. Within a year he joined the then Pakistan Observer where he served as the chief artist. He also started working for the Observer group's other publications namely Chitrali, a cine magazine and Purbadesh, a news magazine.[7] He went back to Dhaka Art College in 1965.[2] He was promoted to the position of assistant professor in 1970, to associate professor in 1986 and to professor in 1991.[6] He retired from the organization in 1994 but he kept teaching in the institute until 2002.[6]


Chowdhury's early work include "My Sister" (oil painting, 1954), "Pawnbroker" (oil painting, 1956), "Boat in Moonlight" (watercolor, 1956) and Self-portrait (oil painting, 1959).[6] His later work were "Boat" (pen and ink, 2001), "Setting Sun" (pen and ink, 2001), "Secret Talk" (acrylic, 2004) and "Worried" (acrylic, 2004).[8] He held four solo exhibitions.[9][10]

Chowdhury began designing book covers by working on Zahir Raihan’s book "Shesh Bikeler Meye".[2] He designed the cover of Shamsur Rahman (poet)’s first poetry collection, Prothom Gaan Dwityo Mrittyur Agey, and several books of Syed Shamsul Haque.[2]

Chowdhury was a member of Bangladesh Bank’s currency note design committee and mural committee and designed several currency notes in circulation.[2]

Chowdhury had been involved with daily Prothom Alo since its inception in 1998.[2] He was the convenor of the Charu Karu Shilpi Songram Parishad during the liberation war in 1971.[11]


  • First prize in the All Pakistan Art Exhibition in Lahore (1962)
  • The Imperial Court Prize, Tehran Biennale (1966)
  • Gold medal for book design from the National Book Centre, Dhaka (1975)
  • Shilpakala Academy Award (1977)
  • Ekushey Padak (1984)[4]
  • 6th Bangabandhu Award (1994)
  • Leipzig Book Fair Prize for book illustration (1983)
  • Sultan Padak (1999)

Personal life and death[edit]

Chowdhury with his wife

In 1960, Chowdhury married Tahera Khanum, an artist who was one of the first four girls to get admitted to the Art College in 1954.[7] Together they had a son Moinul Islam Zaber.[12]

On 30 November 2014, Chowdhury fell sick while delivering his speech on the fourth-day of Bengal Foundation organized classical music festival in Bangladesh Army Stadium. He had been taken to Combined Military Hospital, where he was declared dead.[2][13]


  1. ^ "Qayyum Chowdhury's 79th birthday celebration". The Daily Star. 2011-03-11. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Painter Qayyum Chowdhury dies after collapsing at classical music fest". 30 November 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  3. ^ "Qayyum Chowdhury". The Daily Star. 2014-12-26. Retrieved 2017-11-13.
  4. ^ a b "একুশে পদকপ্রাপ্ত সুধীবৃন্দ" [Ekushey Padak winners list] (in Bengali). Government of Bangladesh. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Independence Day Award" (PDF). Government of Bangladesh. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d e "The legacy of Qayyum Chowdhury one year on". The Asian Age Online, Bangladesh. 2015-11-30. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
  7. ^ a b c "An Artist of Exceptional Versatility". The Daily Star. 16 April 2010. Retrieved 2017-11-13.
  8. ^ "An epitaph for Qayyum Chowdhury". The Daily Star. 2014-12-05. Retrieved 2017-11-13.
  9. ^ "Qayyum Chowdhury Turns 79". The Daily Star. 2011-03-09. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  10. ^ "Qayyum Chowdhury exhibition opens today". The Daily Star. 2012-03-09. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  11. ^ "Nation grieves Qayyum's death". The Daily Star. 2014-12-02. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  12. ^ "Adieu, Qayyum Chowdhury". The Daily Star. 2014-12-02. Retrieved 2017-11-13.
  13. ^ "Artist Qayyum Chy passes away". The Daily Star. 2014-11-30. Retrieved 2017-11-13.