Page 36 - Foreign Service Journal - December 2012

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Otobi Limited, that continues to manufacture modern furniture
for home and ofce use.
Recalling a Great Man
Going from humble beginnings to international success and
wealth is a road rarely traveled by even the most sophisticated
citizens of advanced Western countries. Considering that Kundu
was a Hindu artist living in a majority-Muslim, underdeveloped
country, the magnitude of his achievement can only be attrib-
uted to his character, imagination and individualism. Equally
remarkable, no matter how successful he became, he continued
to balance his penchant for the artistic with conscientious con-
cern for the underprivileged.
Kundu continued to come up with innovative ideas until he
died of cardiac arrest on Sept. 15, 2006, at the age of 70. As part
of a national commemoration, an arts council sponsored a panel
discussion to celebrate the artist’s life and works, which led to
publication of a tribute,
Nitun Kundu: Te Creative Mind
. As
one contributor to the volume recalled, “Whenever a client was
in need of a particular product, they came to Kundu; he never
refused them.”
Many of his paintings are held in private collections, but per-
haps the most enduring of his artistic achievements are his large
sculptures and monuments. In 1992, for example, he completed
a 35-foot-tall modern sculpture that served as a bonding symbol
for the seven member-states that attended the summit meeting
of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. It is
situated in front of the large international Hotel Sonargaon, at
the crossroad junction in the heart of the city.
However, “Sabash Bangladesh” (already discussed above) is
widely regarded as his crowning achievement. Tis sculpture,
according to the
Bangladesh Observe
r newspaper, depicts not
only the history of the war of independence and the future of the
country, but also the struggle against human abuse. “Days will
come and days will go, but the monument…will last for genera-
tions,” the newspaper predicted.
And so it is with Nitun Kundu. “Days will come and days will
go,” but those of us who have been touched by his art, by his per-
sonality and human warmth will always remember the humble
artist’s many achievements.
Kundu completed this 35-foot steel fountain sculpture for the
Seventh Summit of the South Asian Association for Regional
Cooperation held in Dhaka in 1993. It is situated in the center of
the city.
When I met Kundu in 1959,
he had just begun working
for Embassy Dhaka,
designing exhibits
and graphics.