Emphasising the importance of nurturing arts and culture for crafting a better society, junior Cultural Affairs Minister KM Khalid has said both have the infinite power to travel between good and bad times and are effective tools for preserving history.
“The world is passing a crucial phase due to the ongoing global pandemic, and we have been continuously observing so many emotional situations altogether on a regular basis. Through continuing the artistic journey, we certainly can preserve emotions of history so that our future generation can get to learn how the world has dealt with the crucial situations amid all hardships.” Khalid said on Tuesday.
He emphasised the importance of preserving artworks from different genres and subjects as well as keeping cultural practices active, while inaugurating the 24th edition of the National Art Exhibition 2021 at its virtual inauguration ceremony.
“When we first explored the havoc of this deadly pandemic, we saw many heartbreaking moments everywhere in the world. People could not bid adieu to their beloved ones who had lost their battle to Covid... parents could not touch their children and vice-versa.
"Despite observing a handful of miseries like these, we have seen how our artists have utilised their divine power to capture these emotions on their canvases and showed their creativity through exhibitions like the one we are launching today. This is how art can preserve history, for which the government is providing continuous support and motivation,” Khalid said.
Known as one of the most vividly celebrated art exhibitions of the country and one of the flagship artistic ventures of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) since 1975, this year’s National Art Exhibition creates history with its first-ever virtual edition, due to the pandemic.
The inauguration ceremony was also joined by the newly appointed Secretary to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Md Abul Mansur, as the guest of honour, while eminent artist Abdul Mannan joined the inauguration ceremony as the special guest.
BSA's Director of Fine Arts Syeda Mahbuba Karim delivered the welcome speech and the inauguration ceremony was chaired by BSA Director General Liaquat Ali Lucky.
“We really wanted to have the opportunity to cater to our art enthusiasts a physical exhibition as we have done in the previous years, but we had to go virtual this year considering the safety of everyone. I request the art admirers to explore the exhibition by visiting the virtual gallery of BSA’s website and YouTube channel,” BSA’s Director of Fine Arts Syeda Mahbuba Karim said at the inauguration ceremony.
The organisers informed at the event that a total of 157 paintings, 47 sculptures, 53 prints, 17 photographs, 18 installations, 10 oriental artworks, 20 crafts, seven new media works, five graphics works, and seven potteries are on display, alongside six special performance art shows. Of the over 1,000 artworks submitted by a total of 786 artists, 347 artworks of different mediums and genres by 323 artists are being showcased at this year’s exhibition.
The inauguration ceremony was followed by a glimpse of the month-long virtual exhibition, after which the names of the award recipient artists were announced. Mohammad Hasanur Rahaman won the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy award worth Tk 200,000 (2 lakh) as the best artist of this year’s exhibition.
Eleven departmental prizes for different genres worth Tk 100,000 (1 lakh) each were awarded to artists Imtiaj Ahmed Rasel (Installation Art), Ruhul Karim Rumee (Painting), Md Anisuzzaman (Printmaking), Kanok Kumar Pathak (Sculpture), Sushanta Kumar Adhikary (Oriental Art), Samiya Afrin (Crafts), Md Robiul Islam (Ceramic), Al Monjur Elahi (Graphic Design), Md Al Yeacha Irfan Uddin (Photography), Efat Razowana Reya (Performance Art), and Zihan Karim (New Media Art).
Five honourable mention awards worth Tk 25,000 were given to artists Abu Tareq Md Kadimul Islam Jadu (Painting), Kazi Sayed Ahmed (Painting), Aminul Islam Ashik (Sculpture), Alok Rajbongshi (Sculpture), and Md Rafiqul Islam (Printmaking).
The rest of the five special ‘Honourable’ prizes - Bengal Foundation award, Artist Kalidas Karmakar award, Language Activist Gaziul Haque award, Shahjalal Islami Bank Foundation award and Artist Kazi Anwar Hossain award - was awarded to artist Abhijit Chowdhury (Painting), Rasel Kanti Das (Painting), Tanvir Ahmed Joy (Sculpture), Promotesh Das Pulak (Installation Art), and Kamruzzaman (Printmaking), respectively.