ChobiMela VII begins todayCultural Correspondent
The seventh ChobiMela, the international festival of photography, will begin today at the National Art Gallery of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy along with six other venues in the city.
The other venues for the fortnight exhibition are Alliance Française de Dhaka, Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts, Chobir Haat [opposite to the faculty of fine arts at Dhaka University], Dhaka Art Center, Drik Gallery and Lichutala at FFA.
The current exhibition will also include mobile exhibitions that will tour Dhaka on rickshaw vans taking the festival to the people, said the organisers at a press conference held on Thursday at Drik.
Festival director Shaidul Alam, Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide, Indian photographer Pablo Bartholomew, Chinese photographer Zhang Hai, general manager of Drik Rezaur Rahman, among others were present at the conference.
The theme of the seventh edition of the exhibition is fragility and features 35 exciting exhibitions with artistes representing more than 24 countries, including the work of seven local artistes.
Referring to a New York Times report, the organisers further claimed ChobiMela as ‘only truly international’ and ‘also perhaps the world’s most demographically inclusive’ festival.
‘This year’s festival while being an extension of previous festivals contains not only a very diverse range of work in terms of photographic practices, but also in terms of the ideas behind it,’ said Shahidul Alam, Festival Director.
‘This time ChobiMela has a much broader stronger curatorial input bringing in different styles and approaches and expanding the visual vocabulary. Additionally, new venues even within Shilpakala have allowed curators to do things in a very different way,’ he added.More than 130 international fine art photographers, conceptual artistes and photojournalist will join the Dhaka photography community to discuss and debate on issues central to contemporary photographic practice.Three of the exhibiting artistEs, Graciela Iturbide from Mexico, Pablo Bartholomew from India, and Zhang Hai from China are already here.
‘In a sense the festival is a teaching laboratory within which photographers, students whoever, can get involved. Just by visiting a festival you can never get that sense. Here it’s a living-breathing event,’ Alam said pointing out special features by which the local photo community stands to benefit.
‘A festival of this sort, which would cost millions of dollars anywhere else, is impossible run on your own in the long run,’ the festival director said calling for greater government support for the festival.
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