During the COVID-19 pandemic, country’s leading music artistes enthralled audience through their live musical performances at a virtual programme organised by Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) on Wednesday.
The event, titled ‘Art Against Corona’ was streamed live on BSA’s official Facebook page at 5pm as part of the academy’s stream of live events for the past couple of days.
Liaquat Ali Lucky, Director General of BSA gave the welcome speech at the event, which was anchored by renowned news presenter Imtiaz Ahmed Siddiqui and co-ordinated by BSA Public Relation Officer Hasan Mahmud.
Featuring a plethora of celebrated music artists of the country, the event was joined by noted ‘Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra’ singer Bulbul Mahalanobish, popular singer Agoon, music composer-singer Bappa Mazumder, Imran Mahmudul, Porshi, Suchitra Suchi, child artist Marissa, musician Ashok Kumar Sarker and special addition to the programme, Lebanese singer Tara Maalouf.
“In these unprecedented times, we all have been suffering from the socio-economical havoc the coronavirus pandemic has created for us. Culture has always been our strength as a nation and we must continue our passion. This virus will eventually disappear, but till that we need to remain hopeful and strong. This special event is part of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy’s virtual cultural programmes to honour and provide a platform to all our talented artists and connect them with the audience in this challenging period,” said Liaquat Ali Lucky.
Lucky welcomed Lebanese singer Tara Maalouf at the live programme who thanked BSA and the audience for the opportunity. Covering two popular Bengali songs - ‘Shono Ekti Mujibor’ and ‘Orey Neel Doriya’, along with a spiritual Lebanese song - Tara reminisced about her past performances before Bangladeshi audiences and also the entertaining performance of Bangladeshi artists such as Agoon who grooved the audiences at Lebanon in the past.
Popular music artist Bappa Mazumdar said, “Ever since the pandemic began, artists like us who have been heavily relying on live musical events are passing extremely hard times, as we all are being forced to be in home-quarantine with no concerts or live programmes. I think it is a good opportunity to focus on how we can showcase this type of events with better quality, and I personally thank BSA for arranging this programme and all the participating artists for joining in this wonderful venture.”
The singers then enthralled the audience rendering several popular Bangla songs. Bulbul Mahalanobish performed ‘Valobashi Ekti Shei Naam, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’ as a tribute to the Father of the Nation and ‘Amaro Desher o Matir o Gondhe’, a song she called a universal ode from every patriot to their individual countries.
Among others, Bappa performed his evergreen song ‘Joler Daamey Kinechhi’, Agoon performed 'Prithibi te Shukh Bole Jodi Kichhu Theke Thake', Porshi sang ‘Vromor Koiyo Giya’, Suchi performed ‘Gaan Noy, Jibon Kahini’, 'Dukhho Amar Bashor Raater Palongko tributing the legendary singers Runa Laila and Sabina Yasmin and child artist Marissa sang 'Jodi Tor Daak Shune Keu Na Ashe' & 'Esho Malobika'.
BSA started this live initiative since the World Music Day on June 21, its Public Relation Officer Hasan Mahmud told UNB.
Artists, animators, and cartoonists have shared their views on how they are making the best use of their lives within four walls of home amid coronavirus epidemic keeping it in mind that every cloud has a silver lining.
They converged on a virtual platform to reflect on different aspects of life saying they should never feel hopeless because difficult times always lead to better days.
Centre for Research and Information’s (CRI) youth platform Young Bangla hosted the thought sharing session titled ‘New Normal’ on Monday night.
Britto Art Trust Coordinator and himself an artist, Mahbubur Rahman,Nadia Samdani, Co-Founder and President of the Samdani Art Foundation and Director of the Dhaka Art Summit; her partner in each of these ventures as well as life itself, Rajeeb Samdani; two very talented, up-and-coming Bangladeshi artists - the London-based Ayesha Sultana and Dhaka-based Sabyasachi Mistry; artists, Samir Asran Rahman, an animation artist, Syed Rashed Imam Tonmoy, an artist and cartoonist participated in the session.
Meghdol Band Vocalist Shibu Kumar Shil conducted the session.
Shedding light on the life lived inside four walls during the Covid-19 pandemic, Mahbubur Rahman said, “Due to the socio-economic crisis emerging from the (health)crisis, people are undergoing depression."
But, he said, like every cloud has a silver line, this time brings about blessings as well. "People are endowed with ample time to reflect on themselves, reshaping thoughts, and spending time on books."
He also shared his plans that he may work out while staying home.
A few days into Dhaka Art Summit calling it a day, its organizers Rajeeb Samdani and Nadia Samdani had to shut themselves up inside home due to the spread of Coronavirus across the world.
As observed by Nadia, it was quite a difficult task to restrict themselves inside home for weeks in a row but they adjusted with it well with time.
As part of the ‘New Normal’ life, they are conducting all of their activities online.
Samdani Art Foundation is organizing a workshop titled ‘Art Around the Table’ with participation of artists and art enthusiasts in the country and abroad, highlighting on how to master art and photography.
“Jaago Foundation has teamed up with us on this project. We carried it out not just for artists but for everyone else as well. Artists are donating their remunerations to Jaago Foundation,” said Rajeeb.
Staying in home quarantine in London, Artist Ayesha Sultana said that she had also been planning for new ideas to work on.
In her view, though the art galleries in Europe have been reopened following its closure due to the spread of Covid-19, it will not be easy to organize art exhibitions in South Asian countries such as Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.
“I cannot say for sure when our country will be able to organize exhibitions again. The government can take initiative in this regard,” she said.
Sabyasachi Mistry said, “I am carrying out my office tasks from home and spending my time on reading books and listening to music. Currently, I am not getting my hands on the creative works.”
Animation Designer Samir Asran Rahman said that he had been missing his time in the studio as he had to do all the tasks from home.
Cartoonist and Artist Syed Rashed Imam has been working on the graphic novel on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The gigantic initiative of creatively presenting the life stories of Bangabandhu, based on his Unfinished Memoirs, for children, teenagers, and youths was taken by Bangabandhu’s grandson Radwan Mujib Siddique.
Awami League’s research wing Centre for Research & Information (CRI) has been publishing the books since 2015.
Recounting that experience, Tonmoy said there is no precedent of such a well-researched graphic novel in Bangladesh. "At first, it took time to design the characters. Then we managed it well. We are done with seven books. There will be graphic novels on 10 issues.”
A nine-day online Miniature Art Project DOOB (Immersion) will begin on Thursday.
Young Bangladeshi artist Azizee Fawmi Khan is the initiator of this project which is her very first attempt at art curation. The virtual art project will be showcased on social media platforms from June 25 to July 3.
Azizee said Doob is an independent and multidisciplinary online based 'Miniature' art project intended to showcasing nine emerging young artists' works from Bangladesh.
“At its core, Doob proposes to its collaborators to examine their understanding of this now somewhat immersed world, nature, biodiversity at the time of this pandemic," the artist said.
She said the first interaction of Doob started at the beginning of June around the time to celebrate World Environment Day, which started as a discussion among a few artists over social media.
In this project, some artists directly address social and environmental issues while others find optimism in nature and simplicity of life. One tends to swim even deeper into one’s psyche to analyse the different states of being, she added.
Azizee said since usual gallery based art practice is no more an option at this moment, all the artists have been working from home. So, Miniature was chosen as the project's art form to overcome the limitation of space.
“The purpose of this project is to hold on to these perceptions, raise awareness about nature and all the important things in life. So that we breathe in a better, brighter and harmonious world, since we are about to resurface again,” the initiator said.
The collaborating artists are – Sara Hossain, Antora Mehrukh Azad, Anannya Mehpar Azad, Nusrat Jahan Titly, Arzina Ahasan, Sarah Jabin, Shipra Rani Biswas, Taniya Rahman Roshney and Shaily Shrabonti.
To visit the exhibition online, Event link on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/746611002757443/ while the page link on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/doob.immersion/) and To follow on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/doob_immersion.
South Asia’s first virtual film festival, the "8th Liberation DocFest Bangladesh-2020" concluded on Saturday having drawn a great response from film lovers at home and abroad by providing a breathing space for all amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The five-day-long festival, organised annually by the Liberation War Museum, wrapped up with a concluding and award-giving ceremony via Zoom.
The closing ceremony was attended in virtual space by legendary thespian and former Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor MP, Ministry of Liberation War Affairs Secretary Aminul Islam Khan, President of International Theatre Institute (ITI) and noted theatre personality Ramendu Majumdar, cultural personality and Chairman of Dhaka DocLab Nasiruddin Yusuf Bacchu, media partner United News of Bangladesh’s Director Nahar Khan, festival director Tareq Ahmed and Liberation War Museum Trustee Mofidul Hoque, very much the driving force behind the organization, along with participating filmmakers, jury board members and the organizers.
"The 8th Liberation DocFest-2020 has generated a new idea on how to consolidate our strength in this unfortunate time of the ongoing global pandemic. This was a tremendous festival organised by the Liberation War Museum with its main focus on our Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as 'Bangabandhu: the Liberator' and other great leaders - and I believe when the crisis ends in future, we will meet again and celebrate new ideas and films," Noor said commenting on the festival.
Secretary to the Liberation War Affairs Ministry Aminul Islam Khan appreciated the participants and the organizers from home and abroad, saying, "Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman said "Nothing can stop us from doing good things" - and throughout the festival, this was proven by all the enthusiastic filmmakers-viewers and organizers.”
He said it was a pleasure to see a huge number of young and energetic minds take part in this year’s DocFest showing great enthusiasm for the history of Bangladesh.
Speakers and organisers expressed their heartiest gratitude to the festival’s organizing partner Cosmos Foundation and media partner United News of Bangladesh (UNB) for their support in both the arrangement and operation of this year's festival.
Nahar Khan, Director of UNB and Vice President of Cosmos Group said, "It was truly a wonderful opportunity for UNB and Cosmos Foundation to provide support as the Media and Technology Partner respectively, and work in collaboration with the Liberation War Museum for the first of its kind virtual DocFest in South Asia."
Festival Director Tareq Ahmed said that a total of 1800 films were submitted in the 8th DocFest till late March and 200 were selected from the list till last April. And finally a total of 83 films were screened throughout the five-day festival.
Concluding the ceremony and the 8th edition of the Liberation DocFest-2020, Trustee of Liberation war Museum Mofidul Hoque thanked all participating filmmakers who came with the determination to overcome the challenge of life through bringing hope in the darkness.
"Filmmakers from more than 50 countries joined in this first-ever virtually hosted film festival in South Asia - which is a very significant achievement for us all. In this unprecedented and unthinkable time of the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19, the festival became an international example that will carry forward the solidarity of the world," he said.
Thanking the Cosmos Foundation and UNB, Hoque said Cosmos Foundation and UNB always come forward to support the Liberation War Museum and because of their tremendous support, the festival became an international standard festival of documentary films.
Hoque also mentioned that the festival was part of the birth centenary celebrations of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and next year it will be celebrating the 50 years anniversary of Bangladesh's Independence.
Noted Bangladeshi filmmaker Aka Reza Galib, Jury Member of the National Competition announced ‘Khunti (Road to Roots)’, a Bangladesh/India joint collaboration as the winner in the ‘National Competition’ category. The director of the film, Md Zahirul Hassan, will receive Tk One Lakh, a crest and a certificate.
Kim Young Woo (Programmer and Chair at the DMZ DOCS festival, South Korea), Jury Member of the International Competition announced ‘Highways of Life’, a film from India by director Amar Maibam as the winner in the ‘International Competition’ section. Amar will receive 1,000 USD, a crest and a certificate.
Apart from these two major awards, two Youth Jury Awards were announced in the ceremony. ‘True False & A Revolution’ by Farid Ahmad won the Youth Jury Award in the ‘National Competition’ and ‘BUTTERFLIES IN BERLIN - Diary of a Soul split in two’ by Italian filmmaker Monica Manganelli won as part of the ‘International Competition’ section.
Nepalese filmmaker Subina Shrestha announced ‘GALENA’ by Ezzatollah Parvazeh of Iran as the Special Mention in the ‘International Competition’ category.
Friday marks the fourth day of South Asia’s first online documentary film festival, the 8th Liberation DocFest Bangladesh-2020 - being celebrated with 21 extraordinary documented tales on the reels that are being showcased on the festival website.
Continuing the excellence in short films, the fourth day projected the highest number of extraordinary short films in the fest as well.
Bangladeshi short-film ‘Flying Child’ by director Fazle Rabbi is being showcased at the ‘National Competition’ category. Slovenian short-film 'A Long Journey for the First Steps' by Jasmina Mustafić and Ratko Stojiljković is being projected as part of the ‘International Competition’ section.
Other short films are being projected in the ‘Cinema of the World’ category - including ‘Life in Gray’ by Brasilian filmmaker Leonardo Martinelli, ‘Mayday’ by Miguel Gaspar from Portugal, ‘Spread The Wings’ by Alice McDowell from Ireland, Pakistani film ‘Life in a Grave’ by Shayhaq Baloch, Iran’s entry ‘Qarlavaj’ by Ehsan Kamali and ‘Outside The Comfort Zone’ from the United Kingdom by British filmmaker duo Nataša Cordeaux and Cheyenne Ritfeld.
The only tri-nation project in Friday’s schedule is the film ‘Oro Blanco’ by Gisela Carbajal Rodríguez. The jointly collaborated film is representing Germany, Argentina and Mexico in the ‘International Competition’ category.
Two films are being showcased as part of the ‘Special Package’ category - much anticipated ‘Rahman, the Father of Bengal’ - a joint collaboration of Bangladesh and Japan by filmmaker Nagisa Oshima, based on the life of Bangladesh’s Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman - and ‘Tales from our Childhood’ by Indian filmmaker Mukul Haloi.
‘Long Period of Persecution’ by Bangladeshi filmmaker Proshoon Rahmaan, ‘Boundaries’ by Yuliya Shatun from Belarussia, ‘Controlled Breaths of Air’ by Efemia Fard from Bulgaria, ‘Laundry’ by Ali Feizi from Iran, Priya Thuvassery’s Indian entry ‘Coral Woman’, ‘Sheep Hero’ by Ton van Zantvoort from Netherlands, Indian director Vishal Gupta’s film ‘That's Uncle Jerry at the Crossing’, ‘I love you Greece’ by duo Farid Lakkimi and Dorothée Landelle from France, ‘Blue Breath’ by Rodrigo Areias from Portugal and Bangladeshi documentary film ‘Rising Silence’ by director Leesa Gazi - these are the other full-length films being showcased as part of the stacked category of ‘Cinema of the World’.
Viewers can enjoy these films till Saturday midnight by registering at www.liberationdocfestbd.org (http://ldfbd.liberationdocfestbd.org/signup). Details are also available at the festival’s official Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Liberationdocfestbd/.
A total of 70 films are being screened during this documentary film festival
that will continue until June 20. Cosmos Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bangladeshi conglomerate Cosmos Group, has associated with this year’s festival as the Technology Partner while the media partner is United News of Bangladesh (UNB), South Asia’s first fully wired digital news agency.
Also read: Liberation DocFest: Enthralling tales from home and beyond