New York, SEP 28 (AP/UNB) — Perpetually crowded Times Square has a new statue for pedestrians to navigate — but it's unlike any other.
Artist Kehinde Wiley unveiled his biggest work ever Friday, a massive bronze statue of a young African American man in urban streetwear sitting astride a galloping horse.
Called "Rumors of War," it flips the script on traditional statutes commemorating white generals. Wiley described his bold work as a call to arms for inclusivity.
He told The Associated Press afterward that he hoped young people would see it and "see a sense of radical possibility — this, too, is America."
The project was born when Wiley saw Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart's monument in Richmond, Virginia. That 15-foot-tall bronze work portrays Stuart astride a horse and is part of the city's string of Confederate memorials along Monument Avenue that includes ones for Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson.
"I'm a black man walking those streets. I'm looking up at those things that give me a sense of dread and fear. What does that feel like, physically, to walk a public space and to have your state, your country, your nation say, 'This is what we stand by.' No. We want more. We demand more," he said. "Today we say 'yes' to something that looks like us."
The horse-riding figure in "Rumors of War" — on the Broadway Plaza between 46th and 47th streets — has turned in his saddle, his attention seemingly toward an American Eagle store. His Nikes are firmly in the stirrups and his majestic horse is in movement, focused on something across the street.
"Rumors of War" will display in Times Square until December before finding a permanent home at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.
For now, Wiley's work joins other sculptures in the plaza of the so-called Crossroads of the World. There are also statues of Father Francis Duffy and producer George M. Cohan, both white men.
The unveiling was bookended by performances from the marching band from Malcolm X Shabazz High School in Newark, New Jersey. Other speakers at the unveiling included Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.
"Today is a monumental day," Stoney said. "In Richmond we have 10 Confederate monuments to the Lost Cause. I think that is 10 too many."
Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) – The 14th edition of National Children’s Drama and Cultural Festival, a joint venture of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) and People’s Theatre Association, is going to be inaugurated at BSA on 20 September, Friday.
This year, a total of 10,000 children from 94 drama troupes and 64 districts will perform and exhibit 85 performances every day at 8 venues of BSA from 20-28 September.
The nine-day fest is scheduled to be inaugurated by Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader. Cultural Affairs Minister K M Khalid, legendary artist Mustafa Monwar, Bangladesh Centre of International Theatre Institute’s President of Honor Ramendu Majumder and Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation’s Secretary General Kamal Bayazid will attend the inauguration as special guests.
A press conference took place at National Theatre Hall’s seminar room on Wednesday, where the festival’s convener, People’s Theatre Association’s founder and BSA Director General Liaquat Ali Lucky briefed about the event.
Started in 1995, the festival is considered as Bangladesh’s biggest drama and cultural fiesta solely participated by children.
Kathmandu, Sep 14 (AP/UNB) — Devotees pulled a girl believed to be a living goddess, Kumari, around Nepal's capital on a wooden chariot as tens of thousands of people lined the streets to get a glimpse and receive a blessing.
President Bidhya Devi Bhadari and other top officials were among those seeking a blessing Friday from the girl, one in a long series who have been worshipped as a living goddess.
Indra Jatra is an eight-day festival celebrated mostly by the Newar community, the native residents of Kathmandu. It is also known as the festival of deities and demons. It especially honors Indra, the Hindu god of rain, to mark the end of the monsoon season.
Indra Jatra begins a festival season that runs until October, during which both Hindus and Buddhists celebrate with family, feasts and merry making.
Families gathered Friday for feasts and at shrines to light incense for the dead, and men and boys in colorful masks and gowns representing Hindu deities danced to traditional music and drums, drawing throngs of spectators to the city's old streets.
The masked dancers, one of the highlights of the ceremony, can be fearsome, entertaining and awe-inspiring, depending on the performers' movements.
Dhaka, Sept 9 (UNB) – The 5th death anniversary of pioneering Nazrul Sangeet artiste and exponent Feroza Begum was observed on Monday.
Born on July 28, 1930 to Khan Bahadur Mohammad Ismail and Begum Kawakabonnessa, Firoza Begum is often considered as a trailblazing woman for pursuing a challenging career as a Nazrul artiste in the 20th century.
As a direct student of the national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, whom she first met at the age of 10, Firoza Begum dedicated her whole life nurturing and promoting the songs of Nazrul in the subcontinent. She was known as the ‘rebel disciple of the rebel poet’ for her groundbreaking activities as a Nazrul artiste.
Throughout her career, she had also directly supervised many fellow Nazrul Sangeet artistes in both Bangladesh and India.
She first made her way into the music world in 1940 and sang in All India Radio while studying in sixth grade. Since then till her death, a combined total of her 700 songs and more than 20 audio cassette records were released.
The eminent artist had been honoured with prizes in both Bangladesh and India. These include Independence Award (1979), Netaji Subhash Chandra Award, Satyajit Ray Award, Nasiruddin Gold Medal, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Gold Medal, Nazrul Academy Award, Churulia Gold Medal, Gold Disk from CBS, Japan, Meril-Prothom Alo Lifetime Honorary Award (2011), a ‘D Lit’ from University of Burdwan and Bongo Shomman from Mamata Banerjee (2012), to name a few.
Her sons Hamin Ahmed and Shafin Ahmed are two of the most renowned faces in Bangladesh’s band industry.
Firoza Begum passed away on September 9, 2014.
Dhaka, Sep 01 (UNB) – Country’s legendary artist, puppeteer, painter, sculptor, fine-arts professor and media personality Mustafa Monwar turns 84 on Sunday. This celebrated artist was born on September 1, 1935 at Jessore to the renowned poet Golam Mostafa.
Currently serving as the chairman of the Bangladesh Shishu Academy and a professor of the Department of Drawing and Painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka- Monwar started his career as lecturer at the East Pakistan College of Arts and Crafts, after graduating from the Government College of Art & Craft, Kolkata after obtaining excellent results.
In his illustrious and successful career, he held the position of director general at Bangladesh Television (BTV), Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and the National Media Institute. He also served as a managing director of the FDC, and the founder president of Directors Guild Bangladesh.
Mustafa Monwar is known as the "Puppet Man of Bangladesh". During the Liberation War in 1971, he organized puppet shows at the refugee camps in West Bengal to make people aware about the war. His television puppet show ‘Moner Kotha’ ran on BTV for 12 years, which told the story of a little girl called Parul and her seven brothers named Champa who were cursed and turned into flowers. It is based on the folklore ‘Saat Bhai Champa’.
Still holding the affection and dedication to puppetry, Monwar is running the Dhaka-based organization, Educational Puppet Development Centre (EPDC). He is the Bangladesh representative of the Denmark-based International Puppet Development Centre.
This eminent art maestro has earned the prestigious All India Fine Arts Competition award, Zainul Abedin Gold Medal and most notably country’s highest honor, the Ekushey Padak in 2004.