We were very fortunate to have the opportunity last week to meet Dr. Bartholomew (Bart) Shaha and his wife Emily. Bart, who recently retired as the Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs, is a musician and poet who has known Surayia for many years. He is generously allowing us to use a painting that Surayia did for the cover of his book of Bangla liturgical and devotional hymns (Tomakei Daki — You Do We Call) that was published in 1977.
Bart says “It is a unique piece of work reflecting a Baul (mystic poet and folk-singer in Bengal), looking up to the heavens and praising God, holding a dotara on one hand, the other hand raised in complete harmony with the flowing music. The face and gaze of the person are typical of her unique art form. The painting lifts me to another world and reminds me of the many moments I have been in ecstasy during my compositions.”
Although this was the first time meeting Bart and Emily, we felt as if we had known them for years. We really appreciate their encouragement and support and look forward to seeing them again!