Artist Monirul Islam was conferred with the "Royal Spanish Order of Merit" for his outstanding contribution to art on December 16. The award was handed to the artist at the Dhaka residence of the Spanish Ambassador to Bangladesh at Gulshan in the city.

The Spanish Ambassador in Dhaka Alvaro de Salas formally handed over the medal and certificate to the artist. Cultural Minister Asaduzzaman Noor, Brac founder and its Chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Anis A Khan, managing director and chief executive of Mutual Trust Bank; ambassadors and high commissioners of different countries, artists and a number of art collectors were present at the event.

The artist's reaction: "I am elated to receive the award. This will encourage me to be more devoted to my work. My special thanks to the people of Spain, the Queen and the Spanish Ambassador to Bangladesh."

Bangladeshi expatriate painter Monirul Islam's artworks are easily recognisable as he can translate life's diverse dimensions with his signature style, techniques and innovations into captivating works, where subdued colours, lyrical lines, subtle textures and forms blend harmoniously. He controls his medium and his technique with a certain mastery.

Monir's specialty is his delicate lines and the balance between use of space and composition. Use of space is an important aspect of his paintings and the artist likes to work with unusual forms and shapes -- transforming them amazingly into tangible expressions. An admirer of nature, Monir tries to replicate colours and harmony prevalent in surrounding environment through his works. The space that is found in his works is aptly related to the perspective of the themes. In his compositions, the artist uses doodles, sharp lines, dots, tiny motifs and a lot of symbols. His canvases are occupied by various sized amorphous forms and compositions (some are blurred), articulating romance, longing and melancholy.

Monir considers pure colour to be the most effective way to express emotions and sensitivity. He believes that colour approaches the soul directly and is able to induce profound emotions in the viewer. He applies his colours meticulously, in thin layers, and reduces the texture of the paint to its most minimal state. In the early '70s, he established a personal abstract language and maintains that style.

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