Dhaka, Feb 20 (UNB) – A 12-day-long group art exhibition titled ‘Musicality in Wood’ will begin at the Gallery Cosmos in the city’s Mohakhali New DOHS area on Friday.
Eminent artist Monirul Islam will inaugurate the exposition at Villa de Anjuman, House-115, Lane-6 of New DOHS at 5pm.
The exhibition is based on woodcut prints from the outcome of a printmaking workshop held at Cosmos Atelier71 Printmaking Studio which was conducted by artist Anisuzzaman Anis, a Professor of Printmaking Department of the Faculty of Fine Arts of Dhaka University.
The exhibition will run from 12 noon to 8 pm every day till March 5.
The entire exhibition consists of the woodblock prints produced by 30 talented artists who participated in the workshop.
Woodblock or woodcut is a traditional form of relief printing where the artist’s design or drawing is made on a piece of wood, and the untouched areas are then cut away with gouges, leaving the raised image which is then inked.
Dhaka, Feb 13 (UNB) - Pahela Falgun, the first day of Spring in the Bengali month of Falgun, is being celebrated across the country today (Wednesday) in a colourful way with young girls and boys joining various functions wearing dazzling dresses.
Falgun is the eleventh month in the Bengali calendar and the first month of the season, Spring, the king of all the six seasons that brings back warm sunshine, budding flowers and dancing of birds.
The first of Falgun is known as Pahela Falgun and usually falls on February 13 of the Gregorian calendar.
After the dryness of winter, new leaves start to come out again and the nature adorns the branches with new colorful flowers such as Shimul, Polash and Marigold.
Falgun brings joys and colours both in nature and life. Everything in nature gives an impression of youthfulness or freshness, as if the nature takes a new birth. The festival-loving Bangladeshi people welcome and celebrate this day with great joy, love and in a colourful manner.
Girls are dressed in 'bashonti' (yellow or orange) coloured sarees while boys wear colorful panjabis to welcome the Falgun.
A spring festival is being celebrated on the premises of Dhaka University's (DU)'s fine arts faculty, which is the centre of the festival.
Besides, different socio-cultural organisations have chalked out various programmes in the capital and elsewhere to celebrate the day.
Prayagraj, Feb 12 (AP/UNB) — At the world's largest pilgrimage in Prayagraj in northern India, tens of millions of Hindu faithful travel to the sacred sangam — the confluence of three holy rivers — to take a dip.
The Kumbh Mela, or pitcher festival, is a series of baths by Hindu sadhus and sadhvis, holy men and women, and other pilgrims who believe the ritual cleanses them of their sins and ends the process of repeated reincarnation.
For some, stripping down for a holy dip also signifies the stripping away of the material world.
At every Kumbh, including this year's, thousands of devotees are initiated into the reclusive sect of the Naga Sadhus — naked, ash-smeared cannabis-smoking Hindu warriors and onetime-armed defenders of the faith who for centuries have lived as ascetics in jungles and caves.
On so-called royal bathing days, the Naga Sadhus lead the 13 monastic orders' processions — on garlanded horses, elephants and tractors — through the festival grounds and into the river, armed with tridents and swords.
Performed by senior priests, the elaborate process of initiation comprises five rituals, starting with the shaving of heads and beards, ritual offering of saffron robes, wearing prayer beads, applying ash on the body and giving up their last piece of clothing.
The aspirants have to take a vow of celibacy, practice tough physical and mental conditioning and renounce worldly possessions and family ties.
After a purifying bath in the river and a prayer ceremony, the sadhus have to perform "Pind Dan," a Hindu funeral ritual to pay homage to their ancestors for the salvation of their souls.
Usually this ritual is performed only after a person dies.
But the last "Pind Dan" ritual at the Naga initiation ceremony is for the sadhu himself, symbolizing the unity of his soul with God.
"They will consider themselves dead, and only their soul will live on. They will pronounce themselves dead even while living," said Santosh Mishra, a 50-year-old priest of the Juna Akhara monastic order.
After they are ordained, the Naga Sadhus must remain partially or fully naked for the rest of their lives, sleep on the ground, limit themselves to one meal a day, obey their leaders and gurus and protect the Hindu religious traditions.
The ancient Kumbh festival, which UNESCO added to its list of intangible cultural heritage in 2017, runs through early March. About 150 million people are expected to attend.
Geneva, Feb 5 (AP/UNB) — A Geneva art museum says Facebook prohibited it from promoting an upcoming exhibit with images of two statues — a half-naked Venus and a nude, kneeling man.
The Museum of Art and History took to Twitter to say it had wanted to post pictures of the statues on Facebook to promote the "Caesar and the Rhone" exhibit that opens Friday, but the social media platform "prevented us from it, because of their nudity."
The museum instead put the images on Twitter on Friday with the French word for "censored" over the statues' presumably private parts, adding: "Maybe it's time that this platform changes its policy for museums and cultural institutions?"
Facebook didn't immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.
The museum's 3½ -month exhibit pulls together works from the Louvre Museum in Paris, an antiquities museum in Arles, France, and other institutions to convey Caesar's invasion of the Rhone River region running through Geneva and southeast France to the Mediterranean.
The marble statue of "Venus of Arles" was made in the first century and depicts the goddess posed with one arm outstretched and a robe draped around her waist. The first-century B.C. bronze of a bearded captive shows him with his hands seemingly bound behind his back, symbolizing Rome's triumph over Gallic tribes.
Museum of Art and History spokeswoman Sylvie Treglia-Detraz said a first attempt to post the images drew a Facebook response: "We don't allow ads that depict nudity, even if it isn't sexual in nature. This includes the use of nudity for artistic or educational purposes."
The issue strikes at the differing attitudes about nudity in Europe, where topless and even nude beaches and parks aren't unusual, and in the United States, where government officials have been known to cover up topless statues.
Prayagraj, Jan 30 (AP/UNB) — Laxmi Narayan Tripathi expertly applies eyeliner while discussing religious matters with Hindu holy men and attending to an endless stream of visitors eager to touch her feet and receive her blessing.
Among India's best-known transgender activists, a Bollywood reality TV star and a former Asia Pacific representative to the U.N., Tripathi is capitalizing on the ruling Hindu nationalist party's emphasis on the nation's Hindu heritage to claim a place for transgender people among its religious elite, stirring both admiration and controversy.
Her newly formed Kinnar akhara, or monastic order, has set up camp at the weekslong Kumbh Mela festival, a series of ritual bathings that rotates among four Indian sites every three years and draws tens of millions of Hindu pilgrims.
The Kinnar camp on the edge of the festival grounds is adorned with images of Ardhanari, a half-male, half-female composite of the Hindu god Shiva and his consort Parvati, that religious scholars date to the 1st century.
Although hijras — the term Indians use to describe eunuchs, androgynous and transgender people — were an integral part of the ancient Hindu society described in the religion's Vedas scriptures, they have been marginalized in modern India, forced out of their family homes as children and often sold into sex trafficking.
Hindu families have continued ancient practices of paying hijras to dance at births and marriages, considering their presence auspicious, while simultaneously denying them access to these same rites.
One of the most orthodox orders, the Juna akhara, invited Kinnar to take part in the Kumbh's first royal bath — a saint-led procession into the river — on Jan. 15. Since then, Tripathi has been pushing for recognition by the umbrella group that sets rules for the akharas.
Tripathi, born a Brahmin, the highest Hindu caste according to the Vedas, said she was inspired to form the akhara after a 2014 Supreme Court ruling that found transgender citizens were a "third gender" due all rights and protections accorded by India's Constitution.
"I was not at all religious. But after the court verdict, I had a space already in my religion, so why should I see another religion than the one which I was born? What was mine had to be mine. We decided to reclaim it," she said.
Unlike other akharas, which are only open to Hindu men, Kinnar, founded in 2015, is open to all genders and religions. On the Kumbh's first bathing day, Tripathi led a train of 21 tractor chariots from their tent camp to the bathing ghats at the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati rivers, with devotees following on foot, as observers showered them with flower petals.
One notable absence: naga sadhus, the ash-smeared Hindu ascetics — the onetime-armed defenders of the faith — naked except for prayer beads and garlands of marigolds who lead the akharas' procession on royal bathing days.
"We have stripped enough in our lives, let us just have fun," Tripathi said.
They bathed in the presence of Juna members.
"For them to bathe with one of the oldest and most orthodox of the monastic orders, I consider that quite revolutionary," said Ashok Row Kavi, chairman of the LGBTQ advocacy group Humsafar Trust.
Kavi said, though, that Tripathi had "put herself between a rock (and) a hard place" by challenging the akharas' all-male order on the one hand and, on the other, by siding with Hindu nationalists in their call for a temple to the Hindu god King Ram to be built on the site of a 16th-century mosque that Hindu hard-liners destroyed in 1992. Many hijras are Muslim.
The temple campaign is part of a broader effort by members and sympathizers of India's ruling Bharita Janata Party — led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi — to establish Hinduism as the center of Indian heritage, downplaying the multiculturalism that resulted from India's place on the old Silk Road and the hundreds of years of rule by Muslim Mughal kings and the British empire.
Kinnars celebrated their inclusion at Kumbh as a victory, but greater acceptance by Hinduism's most powerful leaders — in the religious and political spheres — remains to be seen.
Mahant Suresh Das, the head of Digambar akhara, one of the largest monastic orders, said a statute limits the number of orders to 13.
"Moreover, they are hijra," he said. "They are neither man nor woman. The nature has punished them for the misdeeds of their previous lives. We are pure who follow (ancient Hindu religion). The Kinnars are impure."
The Kinnars traveled to Prayagraj, recently renamed by the Hindu nationalist-led Uttar Pradesh state government from the Mughal-era Allahabad, in October 2017, when 60 transgender people were ordained as monks.
Kinnar saint Pushpa Maa said being ordained gave new meaning to her life, "which was otherwise reduced to seeking alms by dancing in marriage or during birth of a child," she said, adding, "I used to beg in trains or main crossings of the city. (Tripathi) helped us to erase that image. We are no longer a hijra but part of an organization which is fighting for our religious rights."