Sultan Ishtiaque

Sultan Ishtiaque has completed his MFA and BFA in Drawing & Painting from the Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka. His solo exhibitions are ‘Figuration of Complexity and Urban Exploration’ at Gallery Chitrak in 2017, ‘Melancholy of Urban Life’ at Alliance Francise de Dhaka in 2015, and ‘Ultramarine’ at Alliance Francise de Dhaka in 2014; all held in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Sultan was awarded Special Gold Medal at The 4th International Children’s Art Exhibition 2008 in China, Silver Medal at The 7th Niigata Biennial International Children Art Exhibition 2008 in JAPAN, and Special Gold Medal at the National Exhibition of EGYPT in 2007. Besides, he has attended group exhibitions in Boston and New York, USA, both in 2016. Sultan’s total number of group exhibitions stands at 17 from 2007 to 2016 and various art awards that he has received from different organizations stands at 51.

Posted by Sultan Ishtiaque on Sunday, 2 July 2017

Artist’s Statement

I grew up in a busy place of Dhaka City. As a child, I always wanted to draw while conducting my academic studies. My involvement in art has been since then. At the early stages, I used to draw the beauty of nature mostly, figurative art like our folk singers performing on stages surrounded by many audiences, still life, structural works etc also became my subject. During that period between 2003 and 2009 I have participated in many art competitions and won many awards including UNESCO awards, Gold from Egypt, Silver from India, Silver from China and many awards from our country as well. After completing my studies at college, I got admitted to Department of Drawing and Painting, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka. In this stage, my subject and concept of art had been changed. The beauty of nature alongside harsh reality of society, historical places, urban life, ship breaking yards, working class people started to came into my artworks. In May 2014, I did my first solo painting exhibition in La Galerie , Alliance Francaise de Dhaka. About 50 paintings were put on display. This show has brought big success in my career. My second solo show began in September 2015 at the same venue. I’ve achieved ”Media Best Award in Water Colour 2012”, ”Media Best Award in Oil Painting 2014 and 2015” during this period. I got an invitation to take part in a residency programme from the President of India in October 2015 which, I consider as one of my major success as an artist.

When I look back at my childhood, my everlasting memory is that I am falling in love for art practice so much deeply that I am spending most of my days creating paintings and reading art books from the times of renaissance, mannerism, realism and impressionism. Of course there are other memories I have of my childhood but my involvement in art practice during that time is the most important and memorable part to me. If asked, why I have chosen art? I would say, to me, art is a place where I can express myself , my emotions ,  my thoughts , my perspective about my surroundings, my country etc and most importantly I find peace when I create art .

I work mostly on the spot and sometimes also in my studio. I prefer watercolor and oil color as mediums. I do believe my art language is realistic and impressionistic. I like them because I think they give me the ability to show and explore my thoughts and help me to reach out to every kind of people around the globe more efficiently than other styles of art like abstraction. More importantly I can show my unique skill through my realistic language. However, as an observer I like almost every form, style, patterns of visual art except photo realism. I think title is very important because it helps me to convey my message to the viewers easily.

At the early period of my artistic journey I used to draw natural beauty but over the times my approach has changed. The latest concept of my art include diversity of my surroundings like hard working people and wage earners working in shipyards with their life at risks which are naturally touching phenomenon as we know, each year hundreds of people are dying in ship breaking yards.

My Inspiration comes from my surroundings, nature, social events etc. Ancient worlds and its history also inspire me. Old master artists like Rembrandt, da Vinci, Claude Monet, Renoir, Courbet’s works inspire me most. Events from my academic study period as an art scholar definitely inspired me most.


Paintings of Artist Sultan Ishtiaque.

Posted by Sultan Ishtiaque on Monday, 9 April 2018

Paintings by Artist Sultan Ishtiaque

Posted by Sultan Ishtiaque on Friday, 26 January 2018

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Artist At Work

Posted by Sultan Ishtiaque on Sunday, 5 November 2017

Posted by Sultan Ishtiaque on Sunday, 5 November 2017


3rd Solo Painting show by artist Sultan Ishtiaque at Gallery Chitrak . Opening ceremony – Friday ,14 July at 5.30 pm .location-road 6 house 4 .dhanmonde R/A .Everyone is invited . Thank you . Event link –

Posted by Sultan Ishtiaque on Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Exhibition Catalogue


Exploring through sundry strains of city life

Takir Hossain

Realism is largely believed to have commenced modern art. Plainly, this is due to its opinion that daily chores and living surrounding ambiance are suitable subjects for art. Realism concentrates on the progressive aims of modernism, questing for novel truths through the reassessment and debunking of traditional systems of values and beliefs. Realism concerned itself with how life was planned socially, economically, politically, and culturally in the mid-nineteenth century. This led to unyielding, sometimes terrible and awful portrayals of life’s distasteful moments and many more. Realism was the first openly anti-institutional, non-conformist art movement. Sultan Ishtiaque is one of the earnest followers of realism in our country and his thinking process and belief engulfed the genre of art. It has been deeply observed his capability to draw mass and their unending struggle, deep pain, surrounding dimension, textural malleability and he constructs sensitive compositions, which are really remarkable. His paintings are fresh, strongly built (in the sense of density of colours) and provide the spectators a sense of pleasure. A socially conscious artist, Sultan paints people, capturing the diverse moments of their social bindings. He uses loose brushstrokes to delineate the various elements in his compositions, in which the subjects provide movement and colour, living scenes in which light and the atmosphere create a mysterious effect.

Sultan emotionally paints the Old Dhaka and its narrow and congested road, the adjacent ambiance of dockyards. The massiveness of dockyards and its vibes of light and shadow ponder him to focus on the subject. The labourious and diverse activities in dockyards have been deeply imprinted in his mind. Dockyards employ great number of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled labours in an unhygienic environment. The life is very harsh and unpleasant there and the toiler’s daily chores, ecstasies, anguishes and dreams can also be discerned some of his works. He prefers to paint the people he knows. Therefore his neighboring subject is his first, and favourite field of investigation. He never finds it a problem to be- treated as a storyteller of a humanistic tradition, classical in his painting approach, as long as it shows the compassion and the emotions he experiences when painting his subjects.

Sultan elaborately portrays the ship building process, drudgers engrossed with works, upside down ships and cargos under repair, scrap metals of ships scattered on the ground and plying ships on docks. He also portrays small and big boats in all their possible varieties as well as repairing and maintenance activities around the banks of the rivers.

Sultan also closely scrutinises the metropolis’ unplanned urbanisation, ruined richness of heritage, changing socio-political and economic conditions. For deeper inspiration and bringing variation in his thematic works, the artist has passionately visited different parts of Old Dhaka and other parts of the country.

Sultan fervently paints Old Dhaka with its vibrant activities, downtrodden people and their daily chores, rickshaw pullers, narrow alleys, condensed habitations, wrecked buildings, cluttered wires, scattered across roads, jam-packed atmosphere, etc. He does not draw any single figure; he depicts people in masses in different approaches and aided by sufferings, torments, bliss and ecstasies.

Sultan has brought a completely new theme for the current exhibition. He superbly portrays Dubai’s full of jaw-dropping views from its myriad of skyscrapers. He visited the city few years back and its modern structural designs and mind-boggling views still haunted him immensely. In the series of painting, Sultan simplified the image by creating planes of hazy hues for the shapes that are crucial to the overall structure of the composition. The viewer’s eye is directed into the composition by the diagonal recession of strong azure shadows. The diagonal contours of the shadows disrupt the otherwise predominantly vertical composition.

Most of his works have a great tendency towards study based simultaneously with experimentation of various themes and objects. Besides works produced by water and pencil, Sultan has also contributed several oil paintings for the exhibition. He is comfortable in oil medium as it gives him an opportunity to enjoy its liberty and suppleness. He spends enough time whenever he is to complete a piece of oil painting. Observing his works thoroughly, one can easily feel the apparently lucid tonalities running smooth before the eye. He tries to express his feelings through simple realistic articulation, though shades differ from time to time in his works. The exhibition discloses life’s elation, thrill, vibration, depression, peace and other poetic aspects of urban life.

Sultan has a passion in meticulous curation of rural and semi-urban issues with vibrant shades. His watercolours are revitalising and offer the viewers with a sense of bliss. His depictions are jovial and have the right kind of resilience, that is to say, he knows where to bring things to an end. In his short career, he has developed a style in watercolour medium. The medium’s lucidity gives him a freedom to express his creativity properly. His watercolours have been done by swift brushstrokes. He possesses sufficient perseverance and potentials necessary for transforming visual insight of the world into a heart-rending approach. He draws pleasure from painting which moves his creative soul and enables him to translate language, colour and composition. In the process, the viewer gets to know the artist’s individuality and mental state at the time of painting.

When Sultan gets immersed with his paintings, he loses himself. He is recognised for nurturing enough gallantry to destroy his labourious productions if he finds them unsatisfactory and therefore to create a new pattern, as the world of painting surrounds him from all possible dimensions. He most certainly does not seem to relent and on the contrary cannot help but breathe life into each painting. In this very way Sultan applies colours and creates mind-boggling images. He puts layers upon layers of paint and draws objects continuously, until he feels that he has achieved what he has been striving for. The outcome is a contemplative, subtly balanced arrangement of colours and space that does not fail to draw an art enthusiast’s eyes.

List of Exhibition

Solo Exhibition

1 solo painting Exhibition –  ‘Ultramarine’’ Alliance Francise de Dhaka, 2014
2nd Solo painting Exhibition –   ‘’ Melancholy of Urban Life’’ Alliance Francise de Dhaka, 2015
3rd Solo painting Exhibition- ‘’Figuration of Complexity and urban exploration’’ , Gallery Chitrak .

Group Exhibitions

2016    “2016 Boston Contemporary art Exhibition” ,The Liberty Hotel , Boston .
2016    “Group Exhibition of South Asian Artists”, Eye for Art Gallerey , New York .
2015    ‘’Group Exhibition of 5 bangladeshe artists’’ Tokyo University of Arts, Japan
2015    ‘’Dark and light’’ Alliance Francaise de Dhaka’’ Dhanmondi
2015    “The Beauty of Drawing’’ Athena Gallare of Fine Arts, Badda.
2012   ”Voice of Time” art Exhibitions at Gulshan Art & Culture Center, Bangladesh
2012    “Welcoming Borsha” art Exhibitions at Gallery Cosmos,, Bangladesh
2012       5th Friendship art Exhibitions at Shilpakala Academy, Bangladesh
2014    “Mohsin Hall Charukola Group’’ group art Exhibition, Bangladesh
2013    “Bohe Kal Nerobodhe’’ group art exhibition, Bangladesh
2012    “Annual Art Exhibitions” at Jainul Gallery,, Bangladesh
2011    Barger Young painter’s Art Exhibitions, Bangladesh
2012    Barger Young painter’s art Exhibitions, Bangladesh
2008   The 4th International Children’s Art Exhibition 2008, China,Organized by                                                                      CINA  International Exhibition Agency, (Award: Special Gold)
2008    The 7th Niigata Biennial international Children Art Exhibition in JAPAN, (Award: Silver)
2007    National Exhibition of EGYPT, Organized by The National Center for Child’s Culture
              (Award: Special Gold)


2014                 “Media Best Award” in Oil painting , Dhaka University, Bangladesh

2012 “ Media best award” in water colour media, Dhaka University, Bangladesh.
2008 The 4th International Children’s Art Exhibition, China, Award: Special Gold
2008 Art competition Friendship between India and Bangladesh Competition for Calendar  2008
2008 Art Competition, Organized by EXIM Bank for Calender-2008
2007 The National Center for Child’s Culture Awards, Egypt. Award: Gold
2007 The 7th Niigata Biennial international Children Art Exhibition in Japan, Award: Silver
2007 SHANKAR’S International Children’s Compitition at New Delhi, India, Silver Medal
2006 International Children – Art Biennale, Bangladesh, Supported by unicef ,Award: Silver.
2006 International Children & Adult Art Competition Organized by Grameen Phone, Special prize
2006 Art competition, Bangla Academy 2006, Third prize
2006 Federal Cultural organization World health day, third prize
2005 Mohan Victory days art Competition 2005, Bangladesh national Museum, Second prize
2005 Mascot & Logo Contest, Clean Dhaka master plan, J I C A, Mayor Prize 
2005 National Children art Competition, Bangladesh, First prize
2005 Star ship juice tiffiner fankey, Punashcha, Bangladesh, Best performer
2005 Adult Jia Art Competition 2005, Bangladesh, First prize
2005 National Children &  Adult Art Competition 2005, 2nd prize
2005 National Children art Competition,Organized by Foolkiri ashar, First prize
2005 Annual cultural competition, Government science attached school, first prize
2005 National  art Competition, Bangladesh red crescent society, Special prize
2005 Century cultural forum, Children &  Adult Art Competition, First prize
2005 National children art competition, Sisoo Academy, Bangladesh, 3rd prize
2005 Children art competition , Netra Opohar, First prize
2005 Asian Children’s art competition Ceremony,Mithsubishi impress gallery ,special prize
2005 Children &  Adult Art Competition,Organized by Chirantan 1971, Second Prize
2005 Putua Kamrul Hasan,National Art Competition, special prize
2005 Art Competition, Environment Department paribash ministry of Bangladesh, 3rd prize
2005 Art Competition FOR Kaji Najrul Islam, Organized by ZENICIS, special prize
2005 Art Competition Give Peace a Chance for participating Lions, Special prize.
2005 International peace poster contest, special prize.
2005 Children &  Adult Art Competition, Sponsored by  SAVLON, special prize
2005 National art Competition, Organized by AMRA KOORI, third prize.
2005 National Victory Day art competition, Dhaka Sisoo Kallayon Foundation, 2nd prize
2005 Open Children &  Adult Art Competition, Organized by Purbita, 2nd prize
2005 Cultural Competition, Organized by Kendrio Alor Bhabun Parashod, First prize
2004 Natun Kuri 2004 (BTV), Bangladesh Television, Second Prize.
2004 Tejgaon Thana National art Competition, Dhaka, first prize.
2004 Painting art competition. Islamic Republic of Iran First Prize
2004 Padma Kuri Glod medal, Gold
2004 High Commission of India, Special prize
2004 Art competition, Participate by  ECRON, first prize
2004 Art Competition “ Amar Sabuj Bangl ,Organized by Colgate 2004, first
2004 Mohan Victory days Competition 2004, Bangladesh national Museum, Special
2003 Art competition Bangla Academy 2003, First prize
2003 Poster Contest, UNFPA, First Prize
2003 Bangladesh – China friend shif. Art Competition, First Prize
2003 Art competition Mohan Victory days Competition, Bangladesh national Museum, Special
2003 Children &  Adult Art Competition,Participate by Delta Life Insurance 2003, Gold medel
2003 Art Competition “ Amar Sabuj Bangla, Participate by Colgate, 3rd Prize
2003 Nurul Kader art competition, special prize.