The art market and music industry in the country in 2017 were not vibrant as not many big exhibitions were organised and no album could create any buzz in the market.
Throughout the year only seven grand art shows were organised and none of the over 400 mixed albums, those got released mostly in the two Eid festivals, could make profit.
National Art Exhibition, SAARC handicraft exhibition, Chobi Mela, Kahal Art Exhibition, Oriental Art Show, Shital Pati Exhibition and Print exhibition of Indian artists were remarkable art shows organised in 2017.
The 22nd National Art Exhibition, featuring 364 artworks by 328 artists, was organised by Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy at its National Art Gallery in July. In November, the academy, in association with cultural affairs ministry and SAARC Cultural Centre, organised a four-day handicraft exhibition featuring handicraft items made by 22 artistes from four SAARC countries-Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka. The academy also organised a group print show of 65 Indian artists at the gallery in December.
Bangladesh National Museum organised an exhibition of Shital Pati at its gallery celebrating the inscription of the traditional craft item on the UNESCO’s representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in December.
The ninth edition of Chobi Mela was jointly organised by Drik and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute in February displaying 29 solo and two group exhibitions by 27 photographers from 16 countries.
Oriental Painting Study Group organised a group show in October featuring 80 oriental paintings by 25 local and 26 Indian artists at Zainul Gallery of Dhaka University, while Kahal Art Group organised a group show featuring 380 experimental artworks by over 300 artists from 11 countries at National Art Gallery of BSA.
Apart from these shows not many remarkable shows were organised, though many private galleries, in the previous years, used to organise grand art shows.
Explaining the reason for a decrease in the number of big art shows, Dhaka University’s fine arts faculty dean and also a painter Nisar Hossain said that number of art buyers was decreasing.
‘It has happened partly because the big buyers these days purchase artworks by organising private art camps and partly for some art galleries’ involvement with selling forged artworks,’ Nisar said.
Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Nisar said, does not pay much attention for promoting art as it does for theatre.
The bareness of music industry could not be overcome despite the musicians had expressed hope that the music industry would revive with introduction of digital release. Most of the solo artistes and bands launched solos and albums digitally but could not make expected profit.
Launching of music albums in CD format has become occasional and sporadic, the producers said.
Even the Jazz & Blues Festival organised in January on the Le Meridien Dhaka’s rooftops or Dhaka International Folk Festival organised in November at Bangladesh Army Stadium could not create any buzz.
Though there seemed to be no hope of holding Bengal Classical Music Festival, the biggest classical music festival that Bengal Foundatrion organises annually, because of venue crisis; the sixth edition of the assembly of the top classical musicians was, however, organised in December at Abahani Limited’s playground in Dhanmondi with participation of 250 artistes.
Internationally acclaimed singers Runa Laila and Farida Parveen had some achievements to share. In May, Runa Laila was awarded Distinguished Celebrity Legend Award in New York, USA along with leading creative women and entrepreneurs form across the globe by the US-based educational organisation Barinu Institute for Economic Development. Popular French music label Ocora Radio France produced a Lalon Sangeet album of Farida Parveen in Novemevber marking her contributions to the world music.
Another remarkable album launching that music industry saw was Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy’s launching of 13,450 diverse genre songs like Jari, Saree, Murshidi, Baul, Bhatiali, Bhawaia and others in July.
‘Not only art and music, culture in general is struggling for various socio-economic reasons,’ said cultural activist Nasiruddin Yousuff.
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