The 10th edition of Chobi Mela, one of the most prestigious photography festivals in Asia, began on Thursday with an opening rally from Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, following an inauguration ceremony at Chhayanaut Auditorium in the city.
At the opening ceremony, the guest of honours were curator of USA's Rubin Museum of Art Beth Citron, Nepali publisher, writer and editor Kunda Dixit, Indian photographer Raghu Rai, and economist Rehman Sobhan.
The programme was presided over by festival director Shahidul Alam. Lifetime achievement award 2019 was presented to late Dr Nawajesh Ahmed, internationally renowned photographer, agriculture scientist and author, for his outstanding contribution in photography of Bangladesh.
All venues of the 10th edition of the festival are situated in Dhanmondi.
The Drik-Pathshala under construction building in Panthapath is the main venue, along with Drik Gallery at Dhanmondi and Panthapath, Goethe Institut, Gyantapas Abdur Razzak Bidyapeeth, Britto Arts Trust and Alliance Française de Dhaka.
Artist's talks, panel discussions and curated slideshows are organised at Goethe Institut.
An excellent selection of films is scheduled to be screened at Alliance Française de Dhaka auditorium while Pathshala South Asian Media Institute is the educational venue where workshops and portfolio reviews are held.
Thirty-three exhibitions with works from 44 artists spanning 21 countries will be featured during the event.
'Archives of Persistence' - a series of different projects consisting Bangladesh Garment Sromik Samhati, is included in this diverse range of exhibitions. One of the vital exhibitions at the festival is 'Rashid Talukder (1939-2011): A Life's Work', based on works by late Rashid Talukder, one of the legendary photojournalists of Bangladesh.
The exhibition portrays a priceless visual documentation of Bangladeshi people's history of independence - starting from the early 1950's Language Movement to 1971's Liberation War.
Eight workshops by prominent photo practitioners from around the world will be hosted covering a variety of topics.
Some of artist's talks will include Arundhati Roy, renowned German publisher and bookmaker Gerhard Steidl, Indian Bengali singer, songwriter and music researcher Moushumi Bhowmik, and pioneering Indian photographer and photojournalist Raghu Rai.
Chobi Mela X has partly commissioned 13 Bangladeshi artists as Chobi Mela Fellows to produce site-specific artwork.
The focus of Chobi Mela is to strengthen the exposure and access of less-exposed majority world artists (Asia, Africa, Latin America etc.) that supports them in working towards change and prosperity.
Shahidul Alam said, "Chobi Mela has and will continue to be about bringing people together and, more importantly, bringing them to Bangladesh."
Chobi Mela announces its newly formed advisory board consisting Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, former Bangladesh Bank deputy governor Khondokar Ibrahim Khaled, human rights activist Khushi Kabir, Nepali publisher, writer and editor Kunda Dixit, Indian photographer Raghu Rai, economist Rehman Sobhan, literary critic, activist and historian Serajul Islam Choudhury and human rights activist and former advisor to the caretaker government Sultana Kamal.
Mobile exhibitions on rickshaw vans have become a trademark of the festival resulting into an active participation of the masses. The mobile exhibition travels all over Dhaka to create platform for expression for people with low levels of textual literacy.
The festival will continue until March 9 while registration remains open every day for all.
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