12:00 AM, August 28, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015



Dhaka Social Art Festival draws crowd

With the help of installations and pictures assimilated to depict the lives of the underprivileged, visiting South American artist Matijn Crowe recreated the lives of the common people of Dhaka. The installation work also included work of local artists with whom he had collaborated. Three months of work culminated in the exhibition from August 22-24 at the Dhaka Art Center. It was interesting to see the diverse perceptions of the subject by foreigners and local artists, said veteran artist Wakilur Rahman. For instance, Fehmida Urmi had used pale colours and Bangla script at the back of her work, themed on a protest against child marriage.

A steady wave of people was seen on the three days of the exhibition.

Artist Martijn Crowe initiated the project and creative director of the Factory Art Studio, Ronald Merkesteijn collaborated with him. They worked with over 50 organisations, local artists, school and college students, university professors, an orphanage to develop this project, with the aim of creating public awareness and social responsibility.

Crowe worked together with 25 Bangladeshi artists at Dhaka Art Centre -- painters, photographers, authors and graphic designers. The group worked with the question “What is your contribution to the world?” In the process they picked up a group of people to make a connection with. Trina, one of the participants, says “The process has brought me close to the Bangladeshi people. I walked past them every day; now I know about their lives. The lives of the people we worked with changed, and I invite you to do the same: see them, and make connections.”

The social issues of homosexuals, rickshaw drivers, elderly and the homeless, wandering musicians and bangle sellers were touched upon. These people were contacted, and they spoke out their thoughts. Through the course of the three months, their ideas and definitions changed, as did the people they worked with. From their experience, they created their art work.

The exhibition, in and around Dhaka Art Centre, was an interactive experience showcasing art, movies and performances based on the Gespius festival Crowe organised at Amsterdam, using the city as part of the exhibition.

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