Representing Bangladesh throughout a majestic career of 25 glorious years as a prolific visual artist, Nazia Andaleeb Preema is an established name in the global art community. Tuesday marked the birthday of this dynamic, talented and successful artist.
Her enthralling artistic journey was celebrated this year through her book ‘Preema Donna: An Infinite Journey’, an artistic visionary book which was unveiled with her enthralling, mystic performance at this year’s Dhaka Lit Fest.
Published and produced by Cosmos Books, the book’s foreword has been written by National Professor Dr Anisuzzaman. Divided into five chapters, the book depicts Preema’s artistic journey of 25 years.
Portraying Preema’s brave approach of aesthetical vision that depicts her philosophy of context, ‘Preema Donna’ has already started earning critical acclaim from the art enthusiasts of the country.
“This publication is my inspiration to be more committed towards my intense journey of creativity, and I dedicated the book to the next generation of creative minds to proceed with their passion in art. I believe it is a vice-versa process, and I urge them to have a deeper look at life- a process which made whoever I am today,” Preema said about her book.
She thanked Cosmos Group and Enayetullah Khan for always supporting artistes with initiatives such as this publication.
The artist has showcased her performances in many international exhibitions, including the ongoing 58th La Biennale di Venezia, 2019 in Italy. Her work, ‘Fake news, women and visibility paradox’, is currently being showcased at the biennale, which marks Bangladesh’s third consecutive participation in the ongoing Venice Art Biennale.
Preema did her Graduation (BFA) and Masters (MFA) from (drawing and painting department) of Dhaka University. To complement her creative urge, she completed a seven-year certificate course in Tagore and classical music from Chhayanaut Sangeet Vidyayatan. She received fellowship in Visual Arts from the “Global Art Village”, New Delhi, India in 2005.
Currently serving as the Director and Curator of "Bangladesh Art Forum", she has been curating exhibitions to promote Bangladesh Art in International Art platform (Asia House/London (2010, November), Foundation Alliance Française/Paris (2011), Cité Internationale des Arts/Paris (2011) and many more.
Preema is also an advisor and creative editor to Bangladesh Brand Forum and Consultant for web, graphic and digital art for local and multinational corporate houses for the last 14 years.
A pioneer web-master and graphic designer in Bangladesh who started her career in 1997 and is still going strong, Preema has been working with various prestigious national and multi-national organisations as a web and graphic design consultant since 1997. She is now exploring her majestic digital experimentations, which include video installation, performance and digital illumination, along with the traditional techniques of art.
Preema’s painting was auctioned for Cancer Charity (2008) at the "Grosvenor House", London.
She is one of the very few artists with distinct technique and unbeatable boldness in Bangladesh who has incorporated new media (performance, video installation and digital art) over genres, ranging from traditional to digital through challenging her limits. These made Preema one of the dynamic and provocative contemporary visual artists of today’s generation in the country.
Some of her important video performances and live arts are ‘Monajat’ 2008, ‘And Stare Continues’ 2009, ‘Marry my Egg’ 2011, ‘Monologue’ 2012, ‘Aged with cell phones' 2014, ‘Ico-lation’ 2015, ‘News Agony’ 2015, ‘Existence’ 2016, ‘Intimacy Conflict’’ 2016, ‘My unborn Fetus’ 2017, ‘Blindfold’ 2017, ‘Intersection’ 2018 which are widely exhibited and received high acclamation internationally.
Along with 20 solo (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Japan, USA, UK, Turkey, Morocco, Uzbekistan) exhibitions, she has also enriched her career by participating in five Asian Art Biennales, Fukuaka Museum Residency, two Tashkent Biennales, Istanbul Biennale, Venice International Art Expo (2010, 2012, 2014) along with prestigious art fairs (Art Basel Miami, Tuyup Art Fair/Istanbul, Dubai Art Festival, Dhaka Art Summit, Delhi International Art Festival).
Preema received BASIS (Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services) award 2016 in Visual Arts category, PRIDE of Bangladesh recognised her as the most prolific visual artist of 2016, prestigious Anannya Award as recognition of being the outstanding woman in creative field of Bangladesh for 2014, Fukuaka Museum grant in 2012 for art residency, Royal Overseas Award 2011 in Fine Arts, Britain, honourable mention award in fine art category by Jatiya Mahila Parishad (2009), Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin Award in Painting by Bangladesh Charushilpa Parishad (2007/2008), Web Art Award (1st prize) by Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (2006).
‘Dilemmas With My Flamenco Tailcoat’, a Spanish solo play written, acted and directed by Spanish theatre artist Valeria Tejero Navas was staged on Monday at the international theatre festival ‘BotTala RonggoMela 2019’ and mesmerized audiences with its unique presentation of storytelling through song and dance.
The play told story of a woman from Andalusia village of Spain, Isabelle Valderramas who was known as the ‘Golden Star’. Through her experiences and dance, she told her audiences about how flamenco dancing by women has evolved over the years which does not have any specific root but continental heritage.
Isabelle was engaged in dance and considered as a very disrespectful person due to her passion to perform- back in the old times in Spain. Bullied and hated by society for being passionate to dance, how she then ended up developing her role on stage portraying her dilemmas and fight for the culture that eventually got the recognition as an intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO- that story was told through the playwright, director and actor of this solo play, Valeria’s beautiful, harmonious performance.
After the performance, Valeria Tejero Navas was greeted and honoured by the Liberation War Museum trustee Mofidul Hoque. She took part in the discussion with the enthralled audiences who shared their curiosities about several aspects of the play, as well as answered and appreciated the enthusiasm of Bangladeshi audiences despite the language barrier.
Dilemmas With My Flamenco Tailcoat is a production of the troupe Moon Palace (Madrid, Spain). Staged in several countries in the world, the troupe performed the production for the first time in Bangladesh, courtesy to this ongoing international theatre fest ‘BotTala RonggoMela - 2019’, arranged by ‘BotTala - a performance space’.
International theatre festival ‘BotTala RonggoMela 2019’ kicked off at the Liberation War Museum in the city on Saturday.
Renowned theatre personality Ataur Rahman along with Cultural Affairs Secretary Dr Md Abu Hena Mostafa Kamal inaugurated the third edition of the 11-day festival organised by BotTala, a performance space.
Three young playwrights -- Sadhana Ahmed, Ruma Modak and Shubhashish Sinha -- joined the opening ceremony as special guests.
A total of 10 troupes from five countries – Bangladesh, India, Iran, Nepal and Spain -- are set to perform in this year’s festival.
Two troupes from Bangladesh, including hosts ‘BotTola,’ and eight other international troupes will stage their plays from 7:30pm every day till November 26.
Crutch-er Colonel (Bangladesh) was staged as the opening play at the Liberation War Museum auditorium on Saturday evening. Presented by BotTala, the play is adopted from Shahaduz Zaman’s novel with the same name and directed by Mohammad Ali Haider.
Ten other plays were staged on the opening day. These are Amar Mukher Anchalkhani (India), Dilemmas Witch My Flamenco Tailcoat (Spain), Mysterious Gift (Iran), 4.48 Psychosis (Nepal), Biswa Mangal (India), Macbeth (Bangladesh), Shluk (India), Blackhole (India), Acharya Profulla Chandra (India) and Khona (Bangladesh).
Legendary theatre personality, playwright, director and actor Mamunur Rashid will be honoured with the lifetime achievement award at the concluding ceremony of the festival on November 26.
Also following the tradition of the previous years, eight divisional theatre activists who have been working diligently to promote theatre in the country will be awarded at the festival.
For the first time, the festival will also honour 10 prolific associates behind the scenes who had been working as unsung heroes for years as the light, make-up, sound and stage assistants.
The 11-day festival will also feature screening of documentaries, discussions, songs, dances, recitations, three master classes on several aspects of stage drams and five documentaries made on prominent Bangladeshi and Indian dramatists.
Egypt celebrated on Friday the 117th anniversary of the establishment of the Egyptian Museum located in downtown Cairo, which is home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities.
Held at the museum in Tahrir Square, the celebration was attended by Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anany, government officials, foreign ambassadors and a number of cinema celebrities.
The celebration included many events, including the opening of two temporary exhibitions at the museum.
One of the exhibition focuses on education in ancient Egypt, while the other displays the mummies found recently in an ancient cachette in Upper Egypt's Luxor Province.
Over the past few years, the Ministry of Antiquities has been moving a lot of its unique artifacts to the under-construction Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) near the Pyramids Plateau in Giza, whose soft opening is scheduled for 2019 and is expected to be the top and largest in the Middle East region.
"The Egyptian Museum will never die. Even if the collections of Tutankhamen and the mummies will move very soon, it will keep its main treasures, its masterpieces will stay here," minister al-Anany told Xinhua during the celebration.
"Each year we will be celebrating the improvement of new services and new display at the museum."
The minister highlighted the ongoing development and rehabilitation project at the Egyptian Museum, which is being carried out by the Antiquities Ministry in coordination with the Egypt's Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation and in partnership with the European Union (EU).
The project, which started last June, will be implemented during the next three years with an EU grant of 3.1 million euros.
The two-storey museum was built during the reign of Khedive Abbas Helmi II in 1897 and was opened for visitors in mid-November 1902.
The ground floor is specified for featuring heavy monuments such as large statues, coffins, wall inscriptions and others, while the upper floor showcases drawings, small statues, ancient daily life activities and tools, in addition to the complete set of ancient King Tutankhamen's artifacts.
As Cuba's capital celebrates its 500th anniversary of its founding on Nov. 16, 1519, residents and visitors alike reflect on what makes Havana unique.
"It has a captivating beauty in what can be seen and what cannot," said Havana historian Eusebio Leal.
Leal has been instrumental in the renovation of the city and its numerous colonial-era monuments, including the Morro Castle of the Three Kings, which dominates the entrance to the bay.
"It's not for nothing that visitors come from all over the world. They come because we have a beautiful city," said Yamile Delgado, who works for a state-run company working on the renovation of the historic old quarter.
Anette Acosta came to Havana to study history at the University of Havana, but stayed on after completing her degree and now works at the House of Asia.
"Living in Havana has changed me," said Acosta, who used to live in the town of Guines, southeast of the capital, in the nearby province of Mayabeque.
First-time visitor Marta Lopez, traveling from her native city Barcelona with a friend on a two-week vacation, underscored "the hospitality and joy of the people in Havana."
Katherine Bonner, a French national who arrived in Cuba two days ago, also for the first time, said she was "a little overwhelmed by the heat, but very eager to see everything and try the specialties of local cuisine."
Havana's renovation began in December 1982, in which year the Historic Center of the city was elected a world heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
But restoration work, designed to rescue the historical and cultural landmarks that draw visitors from around the globe, was kicked into high gear as the city's quincentennial celebrations came near.
On a smaller scale, each year on Nov. 16, residents gather to mark the anniversary of Havana based on the legend of the first mass and council meeting held in the city, at the foot of a mahogany tree. A memorial building was erected at the site in 1828.
Thousands of Havana residents gather to walk around the tree counterclockwise and, as tradition dictates, make three wishes.
Renovation work has been critical to a city that has suffered decades of acute economic crisis following the fall of the Soviet Union and the resurgence of U.S. hostility.
One of the iconic features to benefit from the restoration programs is the malecon, or seafront promenade. It hugs the city's coastline for 8 km, drawing Cubans and foreigners, especially at sunset, to enjoy the view and sea breeze.
"Havana is a 'Wonder City' for so many reasons, for its people, for its buildings, for its great history, for how hospitable it is," said tour guide Alejandro Gonzalez.