Meanwhile the Institute of Fine Arts at Dhaka University and the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy offered support for art expositions and sales. The artistic tradition of Bangladesh received international exposure, both through the regular organization of the Asian Art Biennale since 1976 and the recognition of individual Bangladeshi artists abroad. The art market at home also began to grow, and within the last couple of decades a number of private art galleries like the Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts, Shilpangan, Gallery Chitrak and the Bengal Art Lounge among others have been successfully running their business in the capital.
Durjoy Rahman Joy is one of the prominent individual art collectors in Dhaka. He is in his mid-forties and is a successful businessman, working in apparel export negotiations. He began collecting art in the late 1990s and has developed an intense passion for it. He has an amazing collection of over 750 works of modern art, mostly of Bangladeshi artists, but also features works by some of the biggest names in the international art arena. His collection includes works by Pablo Picasso, Lucien Freud, Henri Moore, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, and David Hockney from the West, and Jamini Roy, Nandalal Bose, Poritosh Sen, Akbar Padamsee, MF Husain,Subramanyam, Bijon Chowdhury, Jogen Chowdhury, Sanat Kar, Sunil Das and others from India. Durjoy travels extensively for business and looks for opportunities to visit galleries or artists at work during his sojourns. He has picked up original works by eminent artists at auctions or from established art dealers and galleries. He collects relevant books, catalogues and other documents of information on such works to ensure their authenticity. The three exquisite paintings of the great Indian master artist Jamini Roy (18871972) are definitely some of Durjoy’s prize collections.
Durjoy has some favourites among the artists of Bangladesh and goes all out to collect as many of their most representative works as possible. Rafiqun Nabi (Ranabi, b. 1943) is one such artist. Durjoy made his first collection of a Ranabi in 1997and now has a collection of over 70 of the artist’s works, mostly paintings, but also some prints. He has some of the largest Ranabi canvases in existence. Durjoy has a rich collection of the works of Quamrul Hassan (1921-1988), as well as prints, water colours and acrylics of Abdur Razzaque (1932-2005). Durjoy is fortunate to have been able to collect several works of Safiuddin Ahmed (1922-2012), specially his remarkable series of etchings and aquatints of the 1950s. He also has an expansive collection of Shahabuddin’s major works from the Freedom Fighter and the Athletes series. There is also a deeply moving, powerful painting on the assassinated Bangabandhu. His collection of abstract canvases of Kibria and Kazi Ghiyassuddin are some of their best works. Durjoy also has a fantastic ensemble of Aminul Islam, Murtaja Baseer, Quyyum Chowdhury, Samarjit Roy Chowdhury and Monirul Islam and of course impressive collection of most of the talented younger artists of Bangladesh. His apartment in Baridhara is itself a gallery of his select works while his Gallery Winners, also at Baridhara, has the greater bulk of his collection.
The next logical step for Durjoy Rahman would possibly be a comprehensive catalogue of his personal collection, culminating some day in the establishment of a permanent gallery of modern art. Other collectors may come forward with similar ideas. They have their own ways of seeing art and also of sharing it with other art enthusiasts.