The tenth edition of Chobi Mela, an international festival of photography featuring a host of exhibitions and events, will begin today in the capital on February 28.
Local, foreign photographers, artistes and enthusiasts are expected to participate at an opening rally from Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, which will be followed by an inauguration ceremony at Chhayanaut Auditorium in Dhanmondi.
Thirty-three exhibitions by 44 artistes from 21 countries including America, England, Netherlands, Poland, Brazil, India, Syria, Pakistan and Bangladesh will be held at different venues all in Dhanmondi area, said festival director Shahidul Alam at a press conference held on Wednesday at Drik Gallery.
The conference was also attended by festival curators ASM Rezaur Rahman, Tanzim Wahab, Munem Wasif, Sarker Protick and foreign curators and artists Peter Bielobrgslay, Venessa Winship and Beth Citron.
‘This year’s event features 33 exhibitions themed on “Place” with works from 44 artists spanning 21 countries. The diverse range of exhibitions will put emphasis on places of conflict and transition, among others,’ said Shahidul Alam.
To mention a few exhibitions, American documentary photographer Susan Meiselas’ ‘Nicaragua in Time’, British photographer Stephen Champion’s ‘War Stories’, Dutch photographer Chirs De Bode’s ‘Exodus from Libya’, Syrian photographer Omar Imam’s ‘Live, Love, Refugee’, Indian photographer Anand Patwardhan’s ‘Prisoners of Conscience’, Pakistani photographer Madiha Aijaz’s ‘These Silences are all the Words’ and others will present stories of conflict and transition that is tossing the contemporary world.
Another important exhibition at the festival is ‘Rashid Talukder: A Life’s Work’, based on works by late legendary Bangladeshi photographer Rashid Talukder.
The shows will be held at a number of venues, all in Dhanmondi including Drik-Pathshala under-construction building, Drik Gallery (Dhanmondi and Panthopath), Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, Alliance Francaise de Dhaka, Goethe-Institut Bangladesh, Gyantapas Abdur Razzak Bidyapeeth and Britto Arts Trust.
The festival will also feature a number of engaging events like workshops, panel discussions, artists’ talks and others. World renowned photographers, writers and activists are scheduled to attend the festival, conduct the workshops and give artists’ talks.
‘Our viewers and local young photographers will have the opportunity to participate at the workshops and panel discussions where famous local and foreign artists and activists will take part,’ said Rezaur Rahman adding that Indian writer-activist Arundhati Roy will attend the festival and give a talk.
Late eminent photographer Dr Nawajesh Ahmed will be given lifetime achievement award (posthumously) at the opening ceremony today.
Festival director Shahidul Alam also announced the names of the eight members of festival advisory board at the conference. The board consists of, besides Khaled and Kabir, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, economist Rehman Sobhan, educationist Serajul Islam Choudhury, human rights activist Sultana Kamal, Indian photographer Raghu Rai and Nepalese writer-editor Kunda Dixit.
Drik Picture Library Limited and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute have been organising Chobi Mela biennially since 2000. The tenth edition of Chobi Mela will be held from February 28 till March 9.