Shahbuddin’s artworks at online auctions leave audiences enthralled

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September 30, 2021

At Sowda.com, one of the paintings has already sold out, and bidding for ‘Freedom’ will close today. Meanwhile, bidding for three of his works on Astaguru closed yesterday.

For the last few weeks, art enthusiasts in Bangladesh have been enthralled about the ongoing online auctions of internationally acclaimed painter Shahabuddin Ahmed. 

The opportunity to bid to collect four of Shahabuddin Ahmed’s paintings has been opened by e-commerce site Sowda.com. Beginning in August, the auction will continue till 6 October. 

Art lovers from different parts of the world can participate in the auction by registering on Sowda.com’s website and following a few simple steps. 

The auction at Sowda interestingly coincides with another online auction being hosted by Indian online auction house Astaguru.

Shahabuddin’s ‘Untitled’ creation is on offer at an estimate of Rupees six to eight lakh, alongside two of his other works, and bidding is slated to end on 29 September. The auction features the work of 87 Indian artists.

Shahabuddin Ahmed. Photo: Courtesy

Shahabuddin Ahmed is arguably the most famous living Bangladeshi artist. He was awarded the Chevalier De L’ordre Des Arts Et Des Lettres (Knight in the Order of Fine Arts and Humanities) by the Ministry of Cultural Affair and Communication of France in 2014. 

He is also the recipient of the Independence Day Award from the Government of Bangladesh in 2000. His paintings have been displayed in galleries like Olympic Museum, Lausanne, Switzerland, Municipal Museum of Bourg-en-Bresse, France, Seoul Olympic Museum, South Korea, the National Taiwan Museum and Bangladesh National Museum.

Zakaria Swapan, founder of Sowda.com, spoke with The Business Standard about the auctioning process, getting Shahabuddin Ahmed on board and their future plans. 

Run. Image: Shahabuddin Ahmed

“We started Sowda.com. back in May or June and we were selling different kinds of products such as home décor, electronics, fashion accessories and clothes, among others. When we decided to put paintings on auction and look for artworks, we luckily got these four paintings by renowned painter Shahabuddin Ahmed through art agent ArtCon,” Swapan said. Swapan informed that ArtCon had contacted Shahabuddin Ahmed on their behalf and he was very cooperative and amazed by the idea. 

Consequently, four of his exclusive paintings were added for the auction – Freedom, Horses, Run-1 and Run-2. One of the paintings has already been sold and bidding for ‘Freedom’ will close today. The base price for each painting is Tk150,000.

“It is an absolute honour that we got paintings by the internationally acclaimed Shahabuddin Ahmed at the beginning of our journey. We are overwhelmed with the responses we have received so far. People from all over the world are participating in the auction to collect his artworks,” Swapan said.

The auction process is simple. Users can register on the site and participate in the auction for any painting. He added, “We set a base price for each, and take Tk500 as a token from the users, which is returned to them after we receive payment for the products. At the same time, we only clear payment to the sellers once they deliver the products to the customers. Sowda.com works as a platform for both sellers and bidders.”

Zakaria Swapan. Photo: Courtesy

Speaking about the transparency of the auction process, Swapan said, “We pay 100% attention to avoid any kind of scam for both buyers and sellers. As the middleman, we make sure the buyers are real people with good intentions to buy and get the products delivered as well.”

Swapan concluded, “In the future we have plans to add artworks and collectibles by various other artists and individuals. Auction is not a new concept – this is how artworks are preserved all over the world. Online auction is a relatively new idea in our country but I am sure the concept will become popular and become more standardised with time.” 

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