Bangladesh president Abdul Hamid said cultural activities had an important role to play in promoting the tradition of communal harmony including the development of the spirit of nationalism, patriotism and discipline among the youth of a nation.
The president was delivering his speech as chief guest at the inaugural of 'The 18th Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh-2018' at the National Theatre auditorium of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on Saturday.
The month-long exhibition will display 483 artworks by 465 artists from 68 countries including two and three-dimensional artworks like painting, prints, photography, sculpture, installation, performance and new media arts.
Dubbing arts and culture as a powerful tool to occupy one's place in the world map, he said ‘You know that one of the main tools of art and culture is to create knowledge-based society, intellectual practice and progressive society. Cultural activities play an important role in promoting the traditions of communal harmony, including the development of the spirit of nationalism, patriotism and discipline among the youth of a nation. Art has also a strong contribution in developing good relationship and bonding.’
‘This year's participation of 68 countries of the world is truly commendable. Asian Art Biennale has become one of Asia's oldest and renowned fine arts exhibitions today,’ the head of the state Abdul Hamid said.
Mentioning a long time successful journey in building a creative humanitarian society overcoming obstacles, he said ‘Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy founded by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman played an important role in the development of native culture with the support of the cultural personalities. I believe that international arrangements will also play a unique role in highlighting Bangladesh's cultural heritage abroad.’
Calling culture the mirror of life, he said ‘Traditionally, people of this country are cultural-minded. Many of the poets, singers and artists of this country have been inspired by the great nature of Bengal and liberal cultural sensibilities. They have enriched our art and culture with their intellectuality and brilliance and highlighted the country abroad.’
Remembering the role of artists and cultural workers in every democratic movement including the liberation war and struggle for liberation, the President said "The role of art and culture in building nation is immense. Artists and cultural workers have an outstanding contribution in the achievements of Bengali nation. The artists of this country have been playing a strong role in upholding the spirit of language movement and values of the war of liberation for a long time. Cultural activists have always played a brave role in any need of the nation.’
Abdul Hamid also said ‘The nature and activities of the artists can vary from country to country. Every artwork represents the national culture and culture of every artist apart from the artists' own thoughts. Though the creation of artworks and production of artistic thought means one's personal thing, his/her creative works spread everywhere for its universality.’
Thanking all of the 18th biennial Asian Fine Arts exhibition organizers, and Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, which has made a concerted effort to make the programme successful, the President said ‘18th biennial Asian Fine Arts exhibition is a powerful and effective platform for exchanging views and experiences among artists from home and abroad. This will add a new dimension to the aesthetics of the arts.’
Cultural affairs minister Asaduzzaman Noor was present as a special guest while Professor Emeritus of the Tokyo University of Arts, Tetsuya Noda, also participated in the opening ceremony with cultural affairs secretary M Nasir Uddin Ahmed in the chair.
Jury Board President prominent artist Shahabuddin Ahmed announced the names of winners at the inaugural session and later awards were given to winners.
Four observers -- Artist Jogen Chowdhury from India, Professor Tetsuya Noda from Japan, Dr Marek Bartelik from Poland and Deborah Frizzell from the USA -- also attended the festival.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from South Asia