Born in 1917, Kishoreganj, Bangladesh
Abedin's first memories are centered round
unsophisticated life and landscapes, enlivened by
the quite-flowing Brahmaputra river, majestically
winding its way through idyllic, pastoral
It was this simple beauty, with the sad
introspection and certain tragic quality about it,
which he later deftly captured in the scaffolding
of his brisk, bold and strong lines and his soft,
glistening water colors.
His father was Police Officer and as he went on
transfer from one district to another, young
Abedin came to adore the green, reverie
countryside marked by tall, graceful palm trees
and coconut groves. Occasional hills and dales
broke the monotony of alluvial plains, as in
Sherpur, near the picturesque Garo Hills, where he
had his first taste of primary school. Instead of
sums, however, he filled his copybook with
hieroglyphs, which he himself did not very well
His increasing interest in art, however was much
to dislike of his parents, who naturally wanted
him to shape as police officer! He was constantly
scolded and admonished. Then, one evening, he ran
away from his home with children's poem book of
the banks of his favorite Brahmaputra river.
There it lay, as far has he could see, nestling in
the expansive countryside landscape, turning it
into green carpet of miles of paddy fields. In
front of him and all around him was bounteous
nature spreading its arms.
On the river were shining boatmen. In the fields
worked women, with their graceful figure almost
bare, ebonises by the vagaries of life in the open
,beaten by sun and rain.
For the next many weeks, he roamed about from
village to village, living with farmers and
boatmen and working with them, occasionally using
indigenous charcoal for sketches and illustrations
that filled his book of poems.
Months later, when this illustrated, and, of
course, very much faded book of poems reached his
headmaster, he was greatly impressed and persuaded
disappointed father to send the young boy to
Calcutta for proper art education.
Life in Calcutta was difficult and friendless in
the beginning, but it had its own compensations.
In 1938, he received the Diploma of Fine Arts from
Calcutta Art School and was immediately offered a
teaching job at the same institution. He taught as
well as painted, exhibiting his work and winning
several prizes for amateur work in Art Exhibitions
in the country, as well as abroad.
In 1951, he visited London and later traveled
widely over Europe. The whole body of his works
have be seen in individual exhibitions in European
Zainul Abedin, painter as well as teacher, is
himself the founder and leading artist of what has
come to "Dacca Art Group". He was also
the principal of Government Art Institute, Dacca,
East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). His paintings and
drawings have been widely seen and admired in
composite exhibitions by UNESCO and various
international bodies, as well as group exhibitions
in Europe, Turkey, Japan, Mexico and USA.
Zainul Abedin has painted extensively in wide
variety of styles, ranging from purely objective
and almost photographic to various abstract and
semi-abstract studies. He was very interested in
Japanese painting style.