The pirlo of portraiture
Famous realist painters such as Gustave Courbet, Edouard Manet, James Whistler, Jules Breton had to face harsh criticisms for breaking the conventional form of art. They were famous for presenting unadorned subject matters as they realistically avoided artifice. They were not allowed to organise exhibitions, so they had to publish their paintings on their own. This was in the 1850’s. Things have changed now. The realist painters are on the zenith for depicting the joys and sorrows of the post industrialised period. In our country, Zaynul Abedin was the first realist painter who got worldwide recognition for his famine-series drawings. Now, Istiaque Ahmed is writing the story and artistic vision of a rising artist who bears the flag of the realist painters in contemporary Bangladesh.
Yafiz Siddiqui was born on May 16, 1996 in the beautiful city of Chittagong. This city has a knack for producing exceptional talents. For nearly, two years now, Yafiz’s paintings has been published in the Star Magazine. He considers himself blessed for having artist parents in his life, they are the reason behind his early success. The artist stated that seeing his father painting all day was the reason he was initially attracted towards drawing. Yafiz normally does portraits and real life sketches but he occasionally spends time for paintings and graphic arts. He considers his parents as his divine force for sketches. His mother is an honest critic of his art unlike most of the doting moms and this helps him to do his sketches perfectly.
Being asked about his first professional work he said, ‘Well, I started pretty early. When I was in the fifth standard, I did a portrait of an acquaintance of my father and got 200 taka. That guy was really happy. Then my hobby of drawing became my passion. And I became more serious about it.’
Yafiz states that art is something you cannot take for granted. It is really demanding and it takes a certain portion of your day’s time. At present, a student of architecture in BUET, he says that art and architecture are compliments to each other. He said architecture made him more aware of his surroundings which improved his perspective. ‘People always attracted me. Almost all my portraits are famous personalities. It is fun to study real persons and sketch them. The persons I drew, they all have inspired me in a certain point of my life. In the art competitions in my childhood, other kids used to draw nature and abstract drawings but I preferred drawing cricket stars winning world cups for Bangladesh.’
This artist is a successful businessperson also. During the 2014 football world cup he introduced a series of t-shirts containing the caricatures of famous footballers. These t-shirts gained much popularity all over the country. The name another of his success is PLAANTIK — a famous football based online shop which sold numerous posters designed by him.
About the aspiring artists he said, ‘It does not matter if you are not academically trained as an artist. Don’t worry if your line of study is different from art. Famous artists like Paul Gaugine and Vincent Van Gough started painting lately in their lives. They led a general life before that. So, never become hopeless. Ignore all misconceptions of society. People in our country still think artists lead an unhappy life. This is not true. If you are doing something you love, you will never be unhappy, and if you are honest to your emotions, no matter what the stakes are you are bound to become an artist.’
He constantly thanked his school friends who supported him throughout his learning days. ‘When I started publishing my works in the social media, I got huge appreciations, and it was my friends who compelled me to post my works online in the first place.’
This busy bee loves to go on a long vacation and meet new people. He likes to meet interesting personas and tell their story through his sketches. He considers this his lifelong dream project. There is a black and white portrait of Bangladeshi captain Mashrafe-Bin Mortaza in the BUET premises made by Yafiz. This reflects his bold attitude towards life which may work as fuel for all the rising superstars. His life preached the message that difficulties can be avoided if you know what you want in life and work hard for it.