The Cezanne Gallery view at Banani
|Native name||সাইফুল ইসলাম|
|Born||Mohammad Syful Islam
12 August 1946
Meherpur, Bengal Presidency, British India (now Bangladesh)
|Known for||Painting, Printmaking, Calligraphy, Sculpture|
|Patron(s)||Sheikh Mujibur Rahman|
Mohammad Syful Islam (Bengali: সাইফুল ইসলাম, born 12 August 1946) is a Bangladeshi artist.
Early life and education
He was born in Meherpur to father Mohammad Naimuddin Biswas, a government official and Rahela Khatun. He had six other siblings, two brothers and four sisters. His family called him Hiller which later became Hitu. His father was an avid writer, who wrote several short novels and poetry. These writings were published in 1993 in Dhaka in the name of Kalsrot. From his childhood, Syful was very much fond of old classical Renaissance paintings, Russian and Chinese revolutionary paintings. He studied at Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in 1975.
In 1969, he reached Dhaka and displayed a solo art exhibition in Pakistan Council Hall in Segunbagicha. To support himself, he took a job in the then Fauji Foundation as an Assistant Account Staff. At that time he drew a portrait of Prince Karim Aga Khan for his office.
Soon he was doing many portraits of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He quit his job to and became a free lance painter. Syful was in all processions and public meetings of Awami League during that period in the 1970s. In 1975, opposing education ministry and foreign ministry's approvals- Bangobandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, as President of Bangladesh sent him to Russia with a special fellowship for portrait painting training. The same year he was assassinated. Islam returned to Bangladesh the following year.
He did portraits of people such as AK Fazlul Huq, Maulana Bhashani, Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam and other famous personalities. His first commissioned work was the Kalema Tayyab in 1982.
A gold medalist in Bangladesh Calligraphy, Islam is also the former teacher of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Besides being commissioned for completing the portraits of all Bir Sreshtho of the country, in addition to Chiefs of Staffs of the National Armed Forces, Islam has completed portraits for other foreign delegates and personalities. They include that of:
He married Shahnaj Parveen in April 1975. She is from an Urdu-speaking family; her mother was from Kashmir and father was from Bombay. They have a son named Cézanne, after which his gallery is named.