The hurly-burly metropolis of Dhaka experienced a weekend of heart-warming cross-cultural exchange at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA). Kicking off with enthusiasm on November 30, the SAARC Festival of Traditional Dance and Handicrafts wrapped up on December 3, bringing together a series of captivating dance performances and the best of handicrafts from host Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Maldives.
The closing ceremony was held at National Theatre Hall of the academy to a houseful audience and a host of distinguished guests, artistes and delegates from SAARC Cultural Centre. Cultural Affairs minister Asaduzzaman Noor was present as chief guest at the ceremony along with the director of SAARC Cultural Centre, Wasanthe Kotuwella who attended the ceremony as special guest. BSA director general Liaquat Ali Lucky presided over the closing ceremony. At the ceremony, the Cultural Affairs minister handed over crests and certificates to all participants following spectacular dance performances by the artistes.
Before the festival bade adieu to the Dhaka audience after enthralling them over the weekend, performers from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Bhutan gave a taste of their consummate skills and a couple of fusion numbers combining the cultural heritage of each of the participating countries. The festival also stood as a protest against militancy, religious extremism and negativity existing in the society.
During the festival, BSA hosted two workshops, spanning two days, on traditional dance and handicrafts respectively along with an exhibition of handicrafts from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives, and a mesmerizing display of traditional dance.
Dance troupe of Ranjit Kumar Gogoi from India mesmerized the audience with their display of traditional dance. The other artistes from Ranjit's troupe include Seetarani Hazarika, Bharat Hazarika, Mususumi Borah, Pranjit Saikia, and Nivarani Baruah. They collaborated on stage with Bangladeshi, Bhutanese and Sri Lankan performers to create a fusion that left the audience elevated.
A delegation of performers led by Kunzang Thienly and participated by musician Pema Samdrup, singer Sangay Wangmo, Tandin, Sherab Tharchen and Kinzang Gyeltshen displayed the best from Bhutan. Sri Lankan Artistes Kariyawasam Madakakada Gamage Jayantha, Palaweni Arachchige Dilshan Kanisha Perera, Wirasingha Musiyanselage Danishka Chathil, Kahawela Mudiyanselage Wsantha Madhuranga, Muthugal Pedige Thushan Lakshitha Rajathissa, Konage Koralalage Lahiru Sawan Chanuka Bandara, and Migel Perera Matharn Mahawidhanage Sajitha brought their traditional dance and folk instruments which blended quite well with khol, kasha, dhaak, and flute from Bangladesh and India.
A group of artistes including Mohamed Hassan Fahmy, Ibrahim Hamaadhu, Ali Fahumee, Ahmed Ayaaz, Visaam Mohamed, and Adam Farushan brought love from Maldives.
BSA organised the festival with support from the Cultural Affairs Ministry of Bangladesh and SAARC Cultural Centre with a view to bring the best of handicrafts and traditional dance under one platform.