The Story of a Starfish Thrower

Via Vanessa Marjoribankson Apr 29, 2016

Starfish article featured pic v2

I have always held a strong sense of right and wrong. I have always wanted to help people.

Someone asked me recently why, and I responded that this was as much a part of me as the color of my eyes.

Then I realized that these innate characteristics were likely multiplied during defining moments in my own life when I wished for someone to help me.

I was the kid who found baby birds on the ground and took them home to live in our hot water cupboard. I would enlist my friends’ help to find bugs in the garden that we would mash up and painstakingly feed to the “patient” with tiny pipettes. More often than not, the baby birds didn’t survive, which bought floods of tears.

Sometimes they did, though, and for every feathered life saved, the angst was worth it.  Continue reading

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Open Call For Iranian and Bangladeshi Artists

Open Call For Iranian and Bangladeshi Artists

Khooshk

Exchange Program (Iran – Bangladesh)
1-31 July, 2016 – Tehran
7 January – 7 February , 2017 – Dhaka

Application Deadline
10 May, 2016

Pathshala and Kooshk Residency present the first round of exchange program between Tehran and Dhaka for two Bangladeshi and two Iranian visual artists. This exchange program exists out of two parts. The first part is held from 1-31 July, 2016 in Tehran, Iran.

In this residency, the Bangladeshi artists have the opportunity to work in Tehran, Iran and collaborate with the Iranian artists. During this time, the space will be open to a local public of artists, students, and art critics. The program will end with a presentation and a panel discussion. Continue reading

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HUMAN CHAIN: Protest against the murder of Photographer and Drik Employee ‘Irfanul Islam’

Irfanul Islam
Irfanul Islam

 

প্রেস বিজ্ঞপ্তি

দৃক কর্মকর্তা ও আলোকচিত্রী মোঃ ইরফানুল ইসলাম হত্যার প্রতিবাদে মানববন্ধন

ঢাকা। ৮ এপ্রিল, ২০১৬

দৃক কর্মকর্তা ও আলোকচিত্রী মোঃ ইরফানুল ইসলাম হত্যার প্রতিবাদে দৃক পিকচার লাইব্রেরি লিমিটেডপাঠশালা সাউথ এশিয়ান মিডিয়া ইন্সটিটিউট যৌথ উদ্যোগে ঢাকা বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের টি.এস.সি. রাজু ভাস্কর্যের সামনে ৯ এপ্রিল ২০১৬ শনিবার, বিকাল ৩:৩০ মিনিটে প্রতিবাদী মানববন্ধনের আয়োজন করেছে।

মানববন্ধনে আলোকচিত্রীরা ক্যামেরায় কালো কাপড় বেঁধে এবং অংশগ্রহণকারীরা কালো ব্যাজ পরে প্রতিবাদী প্ল্যাকার্ড প্রদর্শন করবেন।

উক্ত মানববন্ধনে উপস্থিত থেকে সংবাদ পরিবেশনের অনুরোধ করছি।

দৃক ও পাঠশালার পক্ষে
এএসএম রেজাউর রহমান
জেনারেল ম্যানেজার, দৃক

যোগাযোগঃ
সুরবি প্রত্যয়ী- ০১৯১২১৬০১৫০
ইমেইল- surobip@gmail.com

Dear All,

Drik Picture Library and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute will initiate to form a Human chain at T.S.C, Dhaka University on 9th April, 2016, Saturday at 3.30pm for the protest against the murder of Photographer and Drik Employee ‘Irfanul Islam’ who was kidnapped and murdered on 2 April, 2016. Photographers will wrap black cloth on their camera and other participants will wear a black badge and show protest placard.

We are requesting you all to take part in this protest and please note your presence and support is VERY IMPORTANT. 

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Posted in Bangladesh, Governance, Human rights, Killings, Law, Pathshala, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Irfanul Islam: My quiet friend

Irfanul Islam
Irfanul Islam

The moon was low over the city lights at 4:30 in the morning in Mexico City. A dull orange thin sliver, it too was in mourning. I was heading to the airport, but had just heard the news. Rahnuma had been keeping me updated. Ever since Irfan’s disappearance, we had feared the worst, but hoped upon hope that this time it would be different. They had the money, why did they need him? The news hit very hard.

I had joined the Bangladesh Photographic Society in 1984. Irfan had been part of our small administrative team. After serving as secretary general and three terms as president, I left the BPS to start up the Drik agency. Irfan soon decided to follow me to Drik. He worked in the darkroom with Anisur Rahman. The giant prints we had made in those days of Bangabandhu, in that tiny darkroom, with improvised troughs and hand mixed chemicals, were the handiwork of these two fine technicians.

Quiet and somewhat reclusive, Irfan was also slightly self-conscious as he had a mild stammer. He was a photographer, though he was not employed as one at Drik. He still joined us on photo shoots. He made friends easily with his disarming smile, but was less comfortable with more public roles. Once we closed the wet darkroom at Drik, a lab technician was no longer needed. Given his interest in photography, we tried Irfan out at our school of photography, Pathshala, but it was Drik, where he felt at home, and while he was not normally the person to say no or be defiant, this was one instance where he put his foot down. He was not going to budge from Drik. We had to find a new role for him. Continue reading

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The spirit of a ghostly fabric

Rare depiction of terracotta weaver. Terracotta art was at its peak from 4th - 8th century. Courtesy of Ruby Ghuznavi, Dhaka. Bangladesh. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World
Rare depiction of terracotta weaver. Terracotta art was at its peak from 4th – 8th century. Courtesy of Ruby Ghuznavi, Dhaka. Bangladesh. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Having heard Saif speak of muslin over the last three years, I had gained some knowledge, albeit second hand. Going out filming with him to museums, arboretums and libraries, I had met some of the world’s leading experts. Lived part of the history. A surprise awaited me. It is not a book written by an expert, but a labour of love, written by a hungry enthusiast, not yet jaded by the weight of authority. It has all the facts. The rigour of research. The scholarly precision. The concern for one’s fellow human. Continue reading

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Posted in Arts, Bangladesh, Colonialism, culture, Drik and its initiatives, Imperialism, Shahidul Alam, South Asia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Chobi Mela IX: Transitions

Imagine being told you have only ten more days. To love, to live, to celebrate, to cherish, to repent, to ponder. Perhaps ten weeks, maybe months. Perhaps you have cancer, or you are on someone’s hit list. Or you have just been sentenced.Perhaps someone thousands of miles away will press a button. Perhaps you are in jail, being tortured. Perhaps death to you is a release, and end to pain, an  acceptable price for your belief. Let’s move to happier thoughts. Perhaps you will start a new life. Maybe your first child is about to be born. You have crossed many miles and you near land. You see sunlight after years in solitary confinement. You bathe in rain after months of drought.

Maybe you have a discovery that will transform the way we live. Are you at a fork in your life as an artist? Have you embraced another medium, has someone given new meaning to your work? Is there a new visual language that will help interpret your world?

Perhaps you are seeing, or hearing for the first time. Maybe you are in love.Perhaps years of research have unearthed hidden wonders in the artistic space you walk on? Have you found a sparring partner, who stretches you to the limits of your potential? Is there a new way of seeing? Does your artistic journey, bring new relevance to the work you produce? Are you ready to emerge, as a butterfly from a chrysalis, momentarily waiting for your wings to dry?

Are you a curator whose interpretation has caused the world to look at a body of work anew? Are you on the other side of the fence, seeing what artists within have forgotten to see?  Are you prepared to take on the complexities of seeing, when doors are closed, minds are locked?  Perhaps space is your forte, and you work with the physicality of a venue, producing site-specific work that is ephemeral in its form, but eternal in its concept. Are you tied down by the shackles that define photography, or are you prepared to take flight, going outside the boundaries, reaching out to the periphery, unearthing the unknown?

Are you the old or the new, or do you not accept such definitions? Does your visual space extend to the non-visual, do you hear, touch, feel through your eyes? Is your photography trapped between the corners of a two dimensional frame, or will new relationships between dimensions be the catapult that releases your art? Do pixels move you? Are you married to grains of silver? Are objects found and unearthed, part of your domain?

Does the white cube encumber you? Do you seek open spaces? In spirit, in mind,in form. Are you able to connect the dots? Are you the artist, the curator, the scientist, the historian, the editor, the journalist, the collector, who will find the magic that will take photography to new heights? Who will tell your story? Share your thoughts, cherish those moments. Who will help you live after you die? Who will hold your hand as you dance naked in the sun, wear bright colours, sing out loud? Are you the storyteller who visualizes a changing planet?

Submission Guidelines

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Postdoctor in Photography, Photography and Human Rights

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 06.46.27

University of Gothenburg

Type of employment: Fixed-term employment, 2 years
Extent: 100 %
Location: Valand Academy, Gothenburg
First day of employment: 2016/9/1
Reference number: PER 2016/54

Valand Academy at the University of Gothenburg and the Hasselblad Foundation have a long-term partnership developing critical reflection on photography and its mediation. As part of this partnership, the Hasselblad Foundation is launching a research project on photography and human rights in Autumn 2016, and photo-based artists holding a PhD can apply to a two-year Post-Doctoral position at Valand Academy starting September 2016. The number of positions available is one.
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What Joy Bangla means today

Originally published in New Age

By Shahidul Alam

Joy Bangla in those days had not been commandeered by any political party. It was a slogan we all used. Some took it more to heart than others. I was on a rickshaw heading towards mejo chachi’s house, (she is mother of my footballer cousin Kazi Salahuddin, better known by his nickname Turjo). Seeing a friend on the road I shouted out Joy Bangla. Joy Bangla, he waved back. At mejo chachi’s the rickshawala refused to take my fare. “Joy Bangla bolsen na. apnar thon bhara loi kemne?” (You said Joy Bangla. How can I take fare from you?). Despite my insistence he wouldn’t budge. The rallying cry belonged to us all. He saw me as a fellow warrior.

On the 16th December, I had gone into a burning military convoy opposite Sakura hotel and took a partially charred Browning light machine gun as a trophy. Almost at the same site where I had seen, nine months ago, people being gunned down as they ran from the flames on the night of the 25th March. They lived in the slums near the Holiday office. Their brutal death part of a statistical count we still argue about.

Years later, I tried to put together a visual chronicle of the war. Collecting photographs from great photographers from far away lands and many local ones who had witnessed our pain, and shared our victory. There were moments of great bravery and greater sacrifice. There were moments of immense pain. The weight of great loss. Rashid Talukder’s image of the dismembered head in Rayerbazar was one of the most striking. Kishor Parekh’s sculpted frames showing, dignity, honour, elation and loss. Raghu Rai’s monumental images of seas of people seeking shelter. Captain Beg’s rare photographs of the mukti bahini during battle. Mohammad Shafi’s striking image of women smuggling grenades in half submerged baskets. Aftab Ahmed’s image of the final surrender, stoic and significant.

A woman emerges out of hiding for the first time, carrying a rifle and accompanied by her children. The family were hiding from Pakistani troops during the Bangladesh War of Independence in 1971. Photo: Penny Tweedie
A woman emerges out of hiding for the first time, carrying a rifle and accompanied by her children. The family were hiding from Pakistani troops during the Bangladesh War of Independence in 1971. Photo: Penny Tweedie

The image that stood out from all the others however, was by Penny Tweedie. Freelancing and without an assignment, Penny had neither the luxury of a client’s budget, nor the assurance of a publishing slot. She did the best she could, getting lifts from fellow photographers, flitting between areas of conflict and stress, she stayed close to ordinary people. People like my rickshawala friend, or the people I saw dying on the night of the 25th March. People who resisted, people who fled, people who sheltered others. People who fed people when they had little food themselves. The image of a woman, carrying a gun walking through a paddy field, with children in tow, was for me the image that encapsulated the war. These were ordinary people who had war thrust upon them. They made do, as best as they could. Bearing their pain with dignity. Fighting with no hope for return. Unlike me, they were not trophy hunters. I doubt if that woman ever made it to a muktijoddha list. I have no way of knowing if she, or her children made it through the war alive. They gave us this nation where we had all hoped we would be free. Continue reading

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Photographer Rasel Chowdhury Wins Bangladesh’s Top Contemporary Art Award

Photographer Rasel Chowdhury Wins Bangladesh’s Top Contemporary Art Award

 artnet News

Rasel Chowdhury. Photo: Sarker Protick

Documentary photographer Rasel Chowdhury beat out 300 other applicants to win this year’s Samdani Art Award. The winner was announced today at the Dhaka Art Summit, which is curated by Diana Campbell Betancourt. It is the largest showcase of South Asian contemporary art in the world.

Bangladesh’s premier art prize is awarded bi-annually to emerging artists between the ages of 22-40 living and working in the country. Chowdhury, who is a contract photographer for the New York Times and Getty, will enjoy an all-expenses paid three-month residency at the Delfina Foundation in London in order to work on his craft. Continue reading

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