General Information
Painter and Cartoonist
Teaching, Cartoonist

Full Name: Rafiqun Nabi

Affiliation: University of Dhaka

Current Position: Freelance Artist

Date of Birth: November 28, 1943

Place of Birth: Bangladesh

Home District: Chapainawabganj

Nationality: Bangladeshi


Rafiqun Nabi popularly known as Ra’Nabi (born 28 November 1943) is a famous painter and cartoonist of Bangladesh. The cartoon character named “Tokai” is his unique creation. Since 1978, Tokai has been published as a cartoon strip in the weekly Bichitra magazine. He was awarded the Ekushey Padak, the second highest civilian honor conferred by the Government of Bangladesh in 1993 for his unique contribution to the arts.

Rafiqun Nabi was born in Chapainawabganj district. His father Rashidun Nabi was a police officer. Mother Anwara Begum was the daughter of a zamindar family. He spent his childhood and adolescence in different areas of the country due to his father's job as a police officer. They settled in Dhaka in mid-fifties. Ra’Nabi spent much of his childhood and youth in Old Dhaka. He joined the school in the middle of 1950. He completed his secondary education from Pogoz High School in old Dhaka and in 1959 he was admitted to the Government Art College of Dhaka. Here Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin, Kamrul Hasan studied in the presence of famous teachers. In the first year of Art College, he sold his first painting for 15 taka. In his second year, he became known by drawing sketches and illustrating book covers in local newspapers. In 1962, he received a scholarship from the Asia Foundation and Graduated in 1964.

After completing his studies, Ra’Nabi started working regularly in Dhaka's top newspapers at that time. He regularly drew cartoons in the weekly Purbadesh newspaper of poet Abdul Gani Hazari's column Kalo Pechar Diary. He started his life as a teacher of Dhaka Art College on August 3, 1964. He started his teaching career with first year students of Art College. In 1971, during the liberation war, he collected money, clothes and food for the freedom fighters from Dhaka. In 1973, he enrolled at the Athens School of Fine Art in Greece on a post-graduation scholarship from the Greek government and studied print making. He returned to the country in 1976. From a teacher, he gradually rose to the position of lecturer, assistant professor, associate professor of Dhaka University. From 1988 to 1991, he served as the head of the drawing and painting department of the Institute of Fine Arts. He was the director of this institute from 1994 to 1997. Currently working as a freelance artist.

On 17 May 1978, the first comic strip titled ‘Tokai’ was printed in the inaugural issue of Bichitra. The first cartoon that became hugely popular and was regularly printed in Bichitra magazine.

Ra’Nabi was awarded the Ekushey Medal in 1993 for his contribution to the arts. Apart from this, he has won the National Academy Award for Fine Arts, Agrani Bank Sahitya Award, National Academy Award 13 times for book-cover design. In 2008, he was named 'Excellent Artists of the World' among 300 painters from 80 countries for his painting titled Drought. He received the "Sheltech Medal" awarded by Sheltech for the year 2015.

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