Why Biman Fails

The long queue outside is nowadays usual. But I was unperturbed. I had come in early and there were the Hajj passengers to photograph. The cat strolling through the airport was somewhat amusing. A man, who could have been Chinese, gave it some food. The cat knew his way around the place. I had found cat pooh on several occasions before, but now I had the source file!
Alarm bells should have rung when I found no notice of the flight on the electronic board. The lack of people at the Biman counter was a bigger case for alarm. My friend Porimol, a journalist from the Daily Star, who was also going to Kathmandu was in the queue. At least I was in the right place! It could have just been “Biman Time” I convinced myself. When no one had turned up by 10:00 am, we all went off to the Biman Sales counter. At least there was a Biman employee there. “We have had nothing official” they said, but hear that the flight might be cancelled. They had no arrangements for rerouting, or any other arrangement. Their excuse for not letting passengers know had some logic. Since they themselves hadn’t been told, what could they tell us?

No attempt to inform passengers that flight BG701 to #Kathmandu cancelled #whybimanfails #eavig #Biman #bangladesh

A photo posted by Shahidul Alam (@shahidul001) on

Continue reading “Why Biman Fails”

Golam Kasem Daddy Letters: 1

73, Indira Road
Dhaka
8. 9. 97
Dear Dr. Alam,
I am in difficulty. I am unwell, but I am alone and there is none to help me. I am having slight attack of fever and am very weak. Many thanks for inviting me at Drik function, but I am very sorry I am unable to attend due to my illness. However, I hope the function will be successful. Thanks for 2 doorscreens, and many thanks to your mother for food. Manuscript for my photobook is ready for you. Please take it at your convenience.
Yours Sincerely,
Daddy

Hand written letter by Golam Kasem Daddy, when he was 103.
One of the last hand?written letters to me by Golam Kasem Daddy, written when he was 103. He passed away on the 9th January 1998./Drik Archives

Other letters by Daddy:
When the mind says yes:

Faculty recruitment at Pathshala March 2015

 

South Asian Media Institute
South Asian Media Institute

Vacancy Announcement

Pathshala South Asian Media Institute invites applications for the post of Contractual (Part Time) Teachers (Job Title: Faculty member) to teach the short courses and workshops the institution offers (Basic Photography Course, Foundation Course, Digital Photography, Teen Photography etc.) under the supervision of Head of Photography/Academic Council/Faculty Moderator. The Faculty Member/s will be responsible for planning, organising and implementing an appropriate educational programme at Pathshala in a learning environment that guides and encourages students to develop and fulfill their academic potential along with delivering an innovative and inspirational educational module that will positively impact the students? learning. Teachers need to be competent in teaching photography techniques including camera exposures, digital photography and composition as well as the appropriate use of light and lens. Other responsibilities include establishing, developing and implementing the curriculum and course materials for each semester. Contributing to the development and co-ordination of a particular area of the curriculum; providing a variety of learning materials, designing projects, organising group sessions and other activities to enhance the learning experience; maintaining discipline in accordance with the rules of the institute; performing certain duties including student support, counseling students with academic problems and providing student encouragement by treating all students fairly within a professional relationship. The faculty member should also  ensure that there is total confidentiality of all material used in the Pathshala courses and that there are no situations leading to a conflict of interest with competing institutions without prior managment approval. Preparing reports on one?s own activities with results against targets and suggestions will need to be presented in faculty  meetings.
S/he should be holding a minimum graduate or higher degree with good spoken and written Bangla and English and have at least 2 years of working experiences in a related field along with teaching experience on relevant subjects or work experience as a professional. Knowledge of relevant technology is assumed. Job location is in Dhaka and salary is negotiable with other benefits as per organisational policy.
Interested candidate should apply with a CV and a recent photograph to recruitment@drik.net or hr@pathshala.netby March 24, 2015.
Or
Send at this address by ?mentioning the post? on the envelope:
To
Head of Human Resource Department
Pathshala South Asian Media Institute
16, Sukrabad, Panthapath, Dhaka-1207, Bangladesh.
www.pathshala.net

Job Offer at Pathshala

?

South Asian Media Institute
South Asian Media Institute

Vacancy Announcement

Pathshala South Asian Media Institute invites applications for the post of Head of Photography for the Photography Department who will be responsible for the overall strategy of the department under the supervision of the Principal. His/her responsibilities include assisting the principal in providing the overall leadership of Pathshala; setting goals for the Photography Department together with the principal, manage and lead the Photography Department in order to achieve these goals for the department and for Pathshala as a whole; developing curriculum for the Photography department of Pathshala South Asian Media Institute; guiding the team in the development and implementation of short and long-term courses, schedules and programme plans; evaluating performance and the effectiveness of training programmes, providing recommendations for improvement and developing testing evaluation procedures; representing the Photography department of Pathshala when and where necessary; keeping liaison with universities, funding & donor agencies, media institutes and other media organisations; taking classes as a regular faculty member; seeking out interesting ideas and innovations through information, knowledge management; promoting regional and international collaboration, team building and learning and bearing overall responsibility for designing short & long course and training programmes after consulting with the academic council. ? At the minimum, s/he should have a graduate degree with good spoken and written Bangla and English skills having at least 5 years of working experiences in a related field. Sound ability to deal with programme and project development would also be expected. Job location is in Dhaka and salary is negotiable with other benefits as per organisational policy. Interested candidate should apply with a CV and a recent photograph to recruitment@drik.net ?or hr@pathshala.net by March 24, 2015. Or Send at this address by ?mentioning the post? on the envelope: To Head of Human Resource Department Pathshala South Asian Media Institute 16, Sukrabad, Panthapath, Dhaka-1207, Bangladesh. www.pathshala.net
Pathshala is an equal opportunities employer.

Defying the Laws of Gravity

??????????????????????????????????? Photographers in Bangladesh 1987 -2014

Rich Mix exhibition
It?s an unlikely mix. ?The powerful but sage Abir Abdullah,, the protesting activist Taslima Akhter, the quiet and reflective Sarker Protick, the agent provocateur Jannatul Mawa, the deep and other worldly Anisul Hoque, the disturbingly questioning Tushikur Rahman and the visionary Shahidul Alam. Collectively they shape one of the most powerful photographic movements of modern times. Continue reading “Defying the Laws of Gravity”

And Yet She Smiles

And yet she smiles. Gang raped numerous times as a child. Forced into pick pocketing. Caned till she was unconscious. Sold to a madame. Hajera Begum?s life has little that would give cause to smile. Yet she smiles. She cries too. Not because of the gang rapes, or the beating, or the many years she lives in the streets as a rag picker, but when she remembers that a man who worked in an NGO, refused to work in her team because she was a sex worker.
It was that moment that Hajera decided she would make sure it was different for others like her. She had earlier set up a self-help group for sex workers, but eventually, with the help of some university students and other friends and a generous journalist, set up an orphanage for abandoned kids. They are mostly children of sex workers. Some are children of drug addicts. A few are children of parents who simply couldn?t afford to keep them. Hajera and her thirty children live in five small rooms near Adabor Market 16, on the edge of Dhaka. Run entirely by volunteers, she has only one paid staff, the cook. ?What will I do with a salary?? she says. We share what food we have. I have a roof over my head and I have my children.
Remarkably, Hajera is not bitter. While she remembers every detail of her nightmarish life, she also remembers the friends who believed in her, and helped her set up the orphanage. Instead of remembering that she is incapable of bearing children because of brutal unwanted sex, she basks in the warmth of the 30 children who now call her mother.

Hajera (right) and her friends by Crescent Lake in the parliament grounds. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World
Hajera (right) and her friends by Crescent Lake in the parliament grounds. 1996. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

When I first met Hajera, back in 1996, she was a sex worker based in the grounds of the house of parliament. We became friends, and she and her friends would often visit us in our flat, an unacceptable act in most homes.
Hajera was a sex worker who set up a self help group for sex workers called Durjoy. She now runs an orphanage for 30 children, who are mostly children of sex workers. Some are children of drug addicts, a few are children of other low income families. They have all been abandoned. 16 Adabor Market. Dhaka. Bangladesh. Oct 2014
Hajera at her orphanage. 16 Adabor Market. Dhaka. Bangladesh. Oct 2014. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

?You hugged me today when you saw me in the street, just like the old times. That?s something men will never do. They will have sex with me, grope me in the dark, rape me if they get the chance, but they will never hug me, as a sister, as a friend. That is what I want for my children. That they will grow up with dignity, in a world where they will be loved.?
Hajera with her kids. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World
Hajera with her kids. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

As the kids get older, there is more need for money, particularly for schooling. Some of the students who support her have graduated and now have jobs. One works in a telecom company. With their help this February, they ran for the first time, a FaceBook campaign to raise money for the centre. The oldest girl Farzana is 13. The daughter of a mutual friend Hasna – who still works in the streets ? she has just been admitted into the respectable boarding school, Bharoteshshori Homes. Two of the boys are also being sent to good schools. She has high hopes for the other kids too, though she worries about Shopon who is deaf and mentally ill. But she takes great pride in showing me the bunk beds she?s had made, so the kids no longer have to sleep on the floor.
The new bunk beds. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World
The new bunk beds. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

As I look back at Hajera peering through the little window, bidding me goodbye, I realise how lucky the kids are, to have her as their mother.
Shahidul Alam
7th October 2014
Dhaka
More pictures here

Architecture as a way of life and place making

Rafiq Azam lecture
AIA CES: 1.5 LU|HSW
When:?5:30 PM – 8:00 PM MONDAY, JULY 28
Where:?At The Center
Rafiq Azam?is the principal of SHATOTTO architecture for green living, based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He will introduce us to his work and city, which is also home to works by Louis Kahn. Azam?s ?green? is not about global ratings or the current sustainability trend. It is his response to the sky, water, and vegetation that surround him and his city. There is an apparent simplicity in Azam?s work that disguises and belies a complex fabric revealing the wonders of the cosmos. ?Shatotto? in Bangla means ?doing something continuously.? Azam creates spaces and structures for one?s senses and thoughts in the context of South Asia?s past and future. His presentation will coincide with the New York introduction of his monograph by SKIRA, the first ever published about a Bangladeshi architect.
Program
Reception: 5:30 – 6:00 PM
Lecture: 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Opening Remarks
Lance Brown, FAIA, 2014 AIANY President
Introduction
Umberto Dindo, FAIA, Committee Chair, Architecture for Education
Speakers:
Rafiq Azam, Principal SHATOTTO-architecture for green living, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Rosa Maria Falvo, International commissions editor for SKIRA
Closing Remarks
Price:?Free for AIA and Asia Society members, and for students; $10 for non-members
Register Here
Sponsored by:?AIANY Committee on Architecture for Education
Supported by: Asia Society New York
 

1134 – lives not numbers

A group exhibition dedicated to the lost garment workers of Bangladesh.

Photo: Taslima Akhter
Photo: Taslima Akhter

Still haunted by the memories. When I close my eyes I see the procession of corpses, following me behind, taunting my sense of responsibility. 24th April, 2013, Rana Plaza collapses, 1134 lost to senseless greed, lives lost due to collective negligence. A dark day in the history of garments workers lives, a nightmare which will terrorize us for the rest of our lives.? Amongst the rubble, hidden beneath the stones, beams and bricks, thousands of workers lie enveloped in darkness, their dreams crushed under the weight of our negligence.

Continue reading “1134 – lives not numbers”

Call for themes: Chobi Mela VIII

Theme for
Chobi Mela VIII

Win a festival catalogue!
Deadline: 28 February 2014

Propose your theme for Chobi Mela VIII, January 2015

Chobi Mela, the international festival of photography since its inception in 2000 has aimed at exploring the semiotics of present day photographic practice in a broad international context, to bring about an understanding of the medium both within the industry and amongst the public at large. The past festivals, thematically addressed?Differences, Exclusion, Resistance, Boundaries,?Freedom, Dreams and Fragility?provided an opportunity to fine art photographers, conceptual artists and photo journalists, to explore possibilities, in its myriad forms.
Chobi Mela invites you to propose a theme for its upcoming eighth edition. Proposals will then be debated online and followed by a poll. The most voted theme will be chosen for the next festival and will win an exciting copy of the Chobi Mela VIII catalogue.
Deadline: 28 February 2014
Drop your theme and be a part of world?s most inclusive festival!

http://chobimela.org/chobimela-viii/
Best regards,
Chobi Mela Secretariat
Dhaka, Bangladesh
E-mail:?chobimela@drik.net