Chobi Mela X kicks off

Monwarul Islam and Tanzil Rahaman | Published: 15:36, Feb 28,2019 | Updated: 18:23, Feb 28,2019

Chobi Mela X

Veteran photographer Shahidul Alam leads a rally brought out from Pathshala South Asian Media Institute in Dhaka in observance of the inauguration of Chobi Mela X on Thursday. — Ali Hossain Mintu

The tenth edition of Chobi Mela, an international photography festival, kicked off amid festivity and enthusiasm at a number of venues in the capital Thursday morning.

Featuring 43 exhibitions by 44 artistes from 21 countries and a host of events, the festival, which has already put the name of Bangladesh on the global map, was inaugurated through a rally brought out from Pathshala South Asian Media Institute and an inauguration ceremony at Chhayanaut auditorium.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by, among others, Rubin Museum art director Beth Citron of the United States, Nepalese publisher, writer and editor Kunda Dixit, Indian photographer Raghu Rai and economist Rehman Sobhan. Festival director Shahidul Alam presided over the inauguration ceremony.

Photographers, artists and activists observed a one minute solemn silence paying tribute to the 69 people who died in the Chawk Bazar fire in old Dhaka on February 20.

A documentary on the history and evolution of the Chobi Mela was screened.

‘Photography is the medium of capturing truths of life. We shouldn’t hesitate to capture and present the truth,’ said Indian photographer Raghu Rai.

‘Photographers often find themselves in trouble only because the medium is very powerful in exposing the truth and because of its power, photographers must work to bring positive changes and build a more humanitarian world,’ said Nepalese writer and editor Kunda Dixit.

‘I want to thank all the volunteers and curators of the event. I am grateful to them all for their tireless works to make the tenth edition of the festival a vibrant and engaging event,’ said festival director Shahidul Alam.

Following the inauguration, Chobi Mela lifetime achievement award 2019 was conferred on Dr Nawjesh Ahmed (posthumously) for his outstanding contribution to photography. Nawjesh Ahmed’s sister Tahmina Khan received the award handed over by economist Rehman Sobhan.

A documentary featuring the life and works of late internationally acclaimed photographer Dr Nawjesh Ahmed was also screened.

The tenth edition of the festival is featuring works by eminent photographers from the United States, England, Netherlands, Poland, Brazil, India, Syria, Pakistan, Bangladesh and others.

A few exhibitions, US documentary photographer Susan Meiselas’ ‘Nicaragua in Time’, British photographer Stephen Champion’s ‘War Stories’, Dutch photographer Chirs De Bode’s ‘Exodus from Libya’, Syrian photographer Omar Imam’s ‘Live, Love, Refugee’, Indian photographer Anand Patwardhan’s ‘Prisoners of Conscience’, Pakistani photographer Madiha Aijaz’s ‘These Silences are all the Words’ and others are being featured in the festival.

The shows are being held at Drik-Pathshala under-construction building, Drik Gallery (Dhanmondi and Panthapath), Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, Alliance Francaise de Dhaka, Goethe-Institute Bangladesh, Gyantapas Abdur Razzak Bidyapeeth and Britto Arts Trust.

The festival also features a number of engaging events like workshops, panel discussions, artists’ talks and others. World renowned photographers, writers and activists are scheduled to attend the festival, conduct the workshops and give artists’ talks.

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