Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday reiterated her call to everyone to be vigilant against distortion of the victory of the War of Liberation, saying the people of Bangladesh, motivated by the spirit of the War of Liberation, will continue to take the country forward in the future.
"The painting of an artist can be understood with the heart and simultaneously it can motivate a person with patriotism and awaken consciousness," she said.
"The spirit of the great War of Liberation is very important for us, as people of Bangladesh will get awakened with that spirit, and they will pull the country forward further in the future with the ideals of the Liberation War," she added.
The prime minister made these remarks while addressing the inauguration ceremony of a special art exhibition titled "1973-2023 Retrospective" with the selected paintings of Independence Award-winning and internationally-acclaimed artist and valiant freedom fighter Shahabuddin Ahmed at Bangladesh National Museum in the city's Shahbagh.
Some 140 selected artworks of Shahabuddin Ahmed are being displayed in the month-long exhibition.
Bangabandhu's youngest daughter, Sheikh Rehana, was present at the inaugural ceremony.
Terming the exhibition of Shahabuddin Ahmed's paintings as very significant, Sheikh Hasina said that it is highlighting the nature of Bangladesh, the state of the country's people, and the spirit of the War of Liberation in front of the people, especially the youths of Bangladesh.
Through this exhibition, people will get an opportunity to enjoy many of his rare paintings, apart from knowing the feelings of the artist about patriotism as well as the War of Liberation, she remarked. "And I think the War of Liberation and the victory of the War of Liberation are very important in our national life."
Wishing the month-long exhibition a success, she said, "Shahabuddin was a freedom fighter and it seems that he is still a freedom fighter, as his artworks are reflecting the thought and spirit of the War of Liberation, which inspires me more."
Sheikh Hasina also extended her gratitude to Shahabuddin Ahmed as he has brought honour for Bangladesh from across the world through his artworks.
Earlier, the prime minister opened the retrospective exhibition by cutting a ribbon. She also visited the paintings being displayed at the exhibition.
At the function, she also unveiled the cover of a book titled "Shahabuddin, A Retrospective 1973-2023."
With State Minister for Cultural Affairs K M Khalid in the chair, Bangladesh National Museum Director General Md. Kamruzzaman delivered the welcome speech.
President of the Board of Trustees of Bangladesh National Museum Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique, Cultural Affairs Secretary Khalil Ahmed, Painter Shahabuddin Ahmed and French Ambassador to Bangladesh Marie Masdupuy also spoke on the occasion.
Noting that paintings touch the hearts of people, the prime minister said, "The artworks can awaken patriotism and a spirit amongst the people."
She said the spirit, ideals and history of the War of Liberation were erased following the assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975.
But, the poets, artists, litterateurs and writers have played a pivotal role in retaining the spirit of the War of Liberation through their works, she said.
"Since they kept up the spirit during that time, we, the politicians, later restored democracy and ensured the voting rights of the people through political ways and finally took steps to build the country in line with the spirit of the War of Liberation," she added.
The prime minister said that now the spirit of the War of Liberation has started reincarnating among the young generation of the country, which is a big achievement.
She hoped that the people would be awakened with the patriotism and the spirit of the War of Liberation, by visiting the exhibition.
Sheikh Hasina also recalled Shahabuddin Ahmed's contribution as a freedom fighter during the War of Liberation and as a painter after the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
While delivering his speech, Shahabuddin Ahmed with an emotion-choked voice narrated his affection for Bangabandhu and his memories with the Father of the Nation.
He also told the audience how Bangabandhu sent him to Paris, France after the Independence that made a base for him to attain today's position.