Hasan Morshed; from Bangladesh with love for art

Friday August 23 2019

Award-winning Bangladeshi painter Muhammad Hasan Morshed. PHOTO | MORGAN MBABAZI | NMG


Muhammad Hasan Morshed said he was impressed by the art scene and industry in Uganda particularly because Africa has unique and old traditions as seen in its art.

He said there is room for improvement in installation and video which he also pursues.

Although he sees no direct similarities between the Ugandan and Bangladeshi art industry, he advises art students from both countries to learn their histories because art is a mirror of society.

Venus is a constant obsession with Morshed.

"The planet Venus portrays a direct visual to parallel reality. I tried to make double imaginary and at the same place to find dissimilar status for an individual which might not relate with oneself very keenly as its own nature and experiences.

It is a concept of going beyond boundary. Travel through the body has an end except the mind which is declared infinity. It’s an observation through inverted open eyes with acceptance," he explained.


"Venus is associated with love and Uganda is Venus for me," he added.

A graduate of the University of Dhaka where he obtained his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Masters of Fine Arts degrees in 2005 and 2009 respectively, Morshed is no stranger to exhibitions.

In January 2018, he held an exhibition of watercolour paintings titled Reality Is Artificial, Artificial Is Reality at Tehran’s Hepta Gallery in Iran.

He has also held solo and group exhibitions in Bangladesh, the Netherlands and Canada. His works have also been bought by private collectors in both Bangladesh and abroad.

In 2016 he was selected for the Iran-Bangladesh Exchange Programme by Kooshk for an Artist Residency for one month in Tehran.

Earlier in 2013 he won several accolades for his works including a National Ward at the 20th National Art Exhibition in Dhaka, Bangladeshi.

In 2011, he won the first prize for painting at the 18th International Festival of Visual Arts for Young Artists in Gorgan, Iran.

Morshed was born in 1985 in Rangpure, in Bangladesh.

Award-winning Bangladeshi painter Muhammad Hasan Morshed was recently in Uganda on the invitation of the Nagenda International Academy of Art and Design (NIAAD) for a month-long ArtLab 2019 Africa Residency from July 1-31.

This was his second time in Kampala having been selected as faculty for NIAAD 2013 for the September-October residency.

As a figurative painter, Morshed's paintings are on mythology, folklore and rituals, nature and socio-cultural issues.

He held sessions for students at the academy on drawing and watercolour painting techniques and later had a solo exhibition titled Journey to Venus at the Makerere Art Gallery, Makerere University, from July 4-15.

His works included Dreamed Black, Rose from Venus, Bird from Venus, Tear, Sunset, Brain Tree, Fisherman and Drown.


How can you describe your month-long art residency at NIAAD?

I have experienced a big diversity in people with participants drawn from various parts of Uganda and beyond.

What inspired you for this exhibition?

I wanted to represent my trans-cultural experience visually.

I created two video installations titled Obumu ne ssawa (time and unity) and Elyato (boat). I did this in collaboration with the ArtLab 2019 participants.

Using symbolism and representation, we are presented with a wheel of various prime colours symbolising time and diversity of culture.

This art piece Time and Unity is activated by the presence of the participants and the diversity they symbolise. A boat is a part of culture of Bangladesh as well as Uganda.

It’s an intentional presentation for the cultural collaboration of two different countries as the boat meets in a centre for both.

Within the piece Elyato there is a tension between motion and motionless. The boat is rendered unnaturally in a stationary position, but the element of video releases it into an experiential art piece.

What is exciting about art?

The most exciting about art, it has an ability to educate people without the use of verbal communication.

How would you describe your work?

Its figurative images that are realistic in detail and often have double imagery. When you look at my paintings they transform from one image to another.

Why do you focus on nature and its opulence?

Because I love nature most and I am also afraid of nature the most.

What challenges have you encountered in your work?

Sometimes it becomes hard to find good and large watercolour paper.

Are artists appreciated in Bangladeshi?
Yes, they are.

What is your greatest professional achievement to date?
This interview.

Who are the people that have influenced you the most in your profession?

God supported me with parents who were artists. And then later, God supported me by sending Arturo Perez Martinez as Spanish ambassador to Bangladesh.

I never forget my friend artist Hamed Jaberha from Iran and artist Eirik Jarl Trondson from Norway who opened the door to Uganda for me. And the planet “Venus” is my Inspiration.

What would you have been if you were not into art?

This is unknown to me.

Do you have plans of retiring from art?

Art has an indirect policy to work. There is no option for retirement.

How do you unwind after a hard day’s work?

With a cup of tea.