Art competitions are the dream playgrounds and motivational events for every artist, as they can flourish their artistic brilliance at a larger scale and achieve awards for showcasing their talent and meaningful artwork. For years, there have been many national and international art competitions in Bangladesh, from which the nation got many of its superstar artists. Every competition is meaningful to its participants, regardless of the genres and mediums; and there is one particular art competition that has been running for almost three decades now - yet inspiring the aspiring young artists with utmost importance. Organised by Berger Paints Bangladesh Limited since 1996, the 'Young Painters Art Competition' aims to support and encourage talented young artists in the country.

On October 22, the 28th Berger Young Painters Art Competition's prize ceremony was held at the Gulshan Club in the city. This year, the competition received a total of 1,385 artworks and among the participating artists, Md Imtiaj Islam Rasel took first prize in this year's competition with his excellent artwork "Journey by Bus" while Md Ashraful Alam and Ariful Islam Bachchu took second and third places, respectively. In addition, the fourth, fifth, and sixth positions were placed by Ahsana Nasreen Hoque Angona, Rakib Shanto, and Sahadeb Biswas.

Renowned artist Professor Nisar Hossain, Dhaka University Dean of the Faculty of Fine Art, was the Chairperson of the Jury Board, which also included Asmita Alam Shammy, Chairperson of the Department of Printmaking; Prof Dr Mohammad Iqbal Ali, Chairman of the Department of Drawing and Painting; Md Jahangir Hossain, Chairperson of the Department of Craft; Najmun Nahar Keya, Assistant Professor of Fine Arts (Drawing and Illustration) Department at Jagannath University; and Md Maidul Islam Khan, Assistant Professor of the Department of Fine Arts at the Shanto-Mariam University of Creative Technology.

Lauding the Bangladeshi young artists' promising talent and prospects, Prof Nisar commended Berger's initiative in providing an excellent platform for these talented individuals. "With the 28th edition of the competition, we have already honoured over 150 artists through Berger's platform, and I'm certain it will substantially impact Bangladesh's art sector," the art maestro said at the event.

Rupali Chowdhury, Managing Director of Berger Paints Bangladesh Limited, expressed her gratitude for completing this year's event. She remarked, "Like every year, we saw some wonderful paintings by young painters. I believe these artists' bold strokes of creativity on the canvas of society will be a source of inspiration. In their colours, we will learn the mantra of celebrating life."

Md Mohsin Habib Chowdhury, the Chief Operating Officer of Berger Paints Bangladesh Limited, stated, "The creative brilliance of these young painters will eliminate all prejudices. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the entire artist community for supporting us over the past 27 years."

From the Champions

Congratulating the top three winners in this coveted art competition, Dhaka Courier asked Md Imtiaj Islam Rasel, Md Ashraful Alam and Ariful Islam Bachchu to share their feelings.

Md Imtiaj Islam Rasel

"The particular artwork, for which I received this prestigious award, is pretty close to my heart - and this 'Journey By Bus' really took me a long way and made me a winner in several prestigious competitions, including this one. Before joining the Department Of Fine Arts, Islamic University, Kushtia as a Lecturer - I completed my MFA in Painting from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata (2019), and my BFA in Painting from the Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka, Dhaka (2015), and was a recipient of the ICCR scholarship. Using my travel experiences as a visual language, I explore connections between place, landscape, culture, environment, time, and memory. Through this practice, my mind is instilled with a sense of wanderlust, through which new narratives are created - thus, this 'Journey By Bus' was created.

My heartfelt thanks to everyone for participating in the 28th Berger Young Artist Painting Competition 2023. Special thanks and gratitude to my respected teachers and judges, and Berger Paints Bangladesh Limited for encouraging young artists like this every year."

Md Ashraful Alam

"Awards are always inspiring as they recognize the efforts of an artist, and the same goes for me. This award is a motivation for me to march forward and Berger Paints Bangladesh Limited truly turned this competition into a glorious art event for the young artists in the country who eagerly await to participate with yearlong dedication and hard work. When the artists get felicitated with this award, they get inspired to work even better in future. This is my seventh participation in the competition and my second award.

Thanks to Almighty Allah. I am deeply honoured to receive this award. It is truly humbling to be recognized for my passion and creativity. I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Berger Paints Bangladesh Limited for this incredible honour. I could not have achieved this without the unwavering support of my family, teachers, colleagues and students. I am grateful to Khulna University where I am currently working as a Lecturer in the Printmaking Discipline, and also to the Department of Printmaking, Faculty of Fine Art at Dhaka University where I completed my Honours and Masters."

Ariful Islam Bachchu

"I am thrilled to have won third place in the 28th Berger Young Artist Painting Competition. Any award provides motivation and inspiration. This award will help me in my professional endeavours, and I would like to thank Barger Paints Bangladesh Limited and the honourable Jury Board for their support of my effort. I express my gratitude to all my respected teachers, elder brothers, younger brothers and sisters and all well-wishers of my educational institution Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University Faculty of Fine Arts.

My artistic series 'Reflection of Brutal Celebration' began at the Gallery Cosmos, where I worked as an artist and now working as a Gallery Executive. My heartfelt gratitude to its Director Tehmina Enayet, Artistic Director Sourav Chowdhury and thanks to all concerned at Gallery Cosmos, for the continuous inspiration and support in the new journey. I express my special gratitude to my parents, my wife, brothers and sisters, relatives - and I dedicate this award to my parents."

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