Chobi Mela, one of the premiere international festivals of photography since its inception in 2000, concluded yesterday. It was organised by Drik Picture Library Limited and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute. This year, the arrangement took place at several venues, including the Drik-Pathshala under-construction Building, Drik Gallery in Dhanmondi, Alliance Française de Dhaka, Goethe Institut, Gyantapas Abdur Razzaq Bidyapeeth, Britto Art Space, Chhayanaut and EMK Center in Dhaka. It featured exhibitions, workshops, art talks, film screenings, awards and more.
Several bold exhibitions, overseen by independent curators from Bangladesh and the world, befittingly augmented the prestige of the photo fiesta. Curated by Munem Wasif, the impressive exhibition titled Rashid Talukder (1939-2011): A Life's Work was one of the significant ones. Rashid Talukder, a founding father of modern Bangladeshi photography, is also a pioneering visual documentarian of country's glorious struggles spanning from the Language Movement of 1952, to the Liberation War in 1971.
American documentary photographer Susan Meiselas' solo project, titled Nicaragua in Time, was another important show that shed light on her capturing of the Nicaraguan revolution of the late 1970s. Nicaragua is a contemporary classic—a seminal contribution to the literature of concerned photojournalism. Susan's solo project forms an extraordinary narrative of a nation in turmoil. Starting with a powerful and chilling evocation of the Somoza regime during its decline in the late 1970s, the images trace the evolution of the popular resistance that led to the insurrection, culminating with the triumph of the Sandinista revolution in 1979. The aforesaid exhibitions were held at the Drik galleries in Dhanmondi.
Drik-Pathshala Under-Construction Building offered several exhibitions overseen by both Bangladeshi and foreign curators. Renowned Bangladeshi artist, critic and curator Mustafa Zaman curated the show titled Near-tragic Farsightedness that could be otherwise mentioned as How to be Oblivious to Human Sufferings. It is about an understanding of the tragic time when all positioning seems futile. Therefore, the project is about the wait for a better time, a moment for truth to arrive.
Applying contemporary ways of presentation, talented artist Zihan Karim, an audio-visual artist known to work with moving image, installation, sound and painting, curated a contemporary art show that explored the subtleties of time, space, and vital societal facts.
Borders and Freedoms/Borders of Freedom was a sound-based installation intended to be an interrogation of the relation of various ideas of freedom with the physicality and abstraction of borders, mainly in the context of the broken land of Bengal. This project was based on field recordings and field notes from Bengal and it comes out of the collaboration of Moushumi Bhowmik and Sukanta Majumdar, who work diversely with sound and listening. This piece was based on several literary and cultural texts from Bengal, making an attempt to 'sound' them.