F?ted internationally, the country?s photographers have struggled for status at home. Could that be about to change?
From the series ?Railway Longings? (2011-2015) by Rasel Chowdhury
The eerie moonscape of Munem Wasif?s new photographic series, ?Land of Undefined Territory?, appears empty. On closer inspection, it reveals the scars of industrial activity, from vehicle tracks to stone crushing. The sense of menace and alienation is compounded by a three-channel video with a grating soundtrack.
These digital black-and-white shots were taken along an indefinite border between Bangladesh and India ? disputed land that is now home to unregulated mining but which also soaked up the blood of past upheavals, from the first, temporary partition of Bengal under the viceroy in 1905, to Partition in 1947 and the Liberation war of 1971. Ostensible documentary veers into questioning in Wasif?s deeply unsettling yet distanced probing of history, territory, ownership and exploitation. Continue reading “Photography in Bangladesh: a medium on the move”
“Shumon Ahmed uses photography to record a new history whilst rewriting its past, his multiple pictures of Bangladesh, show the angst, isolation and sprawl of the (modern) metropolis in a manner (fitting) of Woody Allen?s (cinematic) images of New York City” – Anwar Akhtar Photographer Shumon Ahmed lives and works in Dhaka, Bangladesh; a country plagued by extreme weather conditions but equally resourced by fertile land. Since a boy, Ahmed has watched his mother country become something all its own.? Despite the jarring climatic and agricultural fluxes, aesthetics has come to the fore, and the Bangladeshi contemporary art scene reflects a more positive potential for the county?s inherent cultural and social structures; culminating in the inaugural Dhaka Art Summit 2012 in April this year .Continue reading “Shumon Ahmed, Home Land”
The?Russian, Eastern & Oriental Fine Art Fair, an annual summer event in London?s Mayfair, displays fine art spanning the last 1,000 years. This year, works from Iran, India, China, Korea and Vietnam will be on display for the first time.
Among the more striking contemporary works is a set of photographs by Dhaka-born?Shumon Ahmed. Ironically entitled Land of the Free, it comprises seven images detailing the experience of Mubarak Hussain, the only Bangladeshi to have returned from Guantanamo Bay.
The fair takes place on June 9-12 at the?Park Lane Hotel. All images copyright of Shumon Ahmed, courtesy of the fair.