Bangladesh is reeling under a spate of attacks against women. This includes rape, murder and sexual harassment. By far the majority of perpetrators are people affiliated with the ruling party. The police is known to actively support and protect the perpetrators. A bicycle rally from Shahbag to Manik Mia Avenue in protest against rape. 15th October 2020.
The rains are late this year, but I’m not complaining. The monsoons is my favourite season. Tagore’s lyrics rendered beautifully by Jayati Chakraborty. Get a big screen,. Good speakers. Sit back and enjoy.
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?
73, Indira Road
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.
Other letters by Daddy:
When the mind says yes:
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.
Send at this address by ‘mentioning the post’ on the envelope:
Head of Human Resource Department
Pathshala South Asian Media Institute
16, Sukrabad, Panthapath, Dhaka-1207, Bangladesh.
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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Photographers in Bangladesh 1987 -2014
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.
In fifteen years, and with the most rudimentary of equipment, they have taken a hundred square metres of Dhaka as their own and created a vortex of creativity that has shaken the world of photography. The whirlwind around that vortex, fueled by a revolution against injustice, has not only taken on a tired education system steeped in bureaucracy, but also a global and seemingly impenetrable photographic industry hijacked by wealthier nations. They are photo-militants who have learnt to defy the rules of gravity.
The work is remarkable for its range, but is bound by an underlying strand: a belief that the art of photography, cannot, must not, limit itself to the aesthetic alone. The compulsion to address wrong, regardless of the vocabulary of the art, is what holds this wild bunch together. Unlike other schools of thought however, Pathshala has been able to accommodate and thrive on this diversity. Freed from the need to conform, unencumbered by role models other than in ethics and philosophy, each artist has found a unique signature, where the greater signature of the school only becomes apparent when one steps back to see the bigger picture. Multicoloured bogies in vastly different guises all on the train to justice.
Alam’s “Struggle for Democracy”, produced at a time when the concept of a photo story had not been developed, looks at politics not merely in terms of the physical struggle for power, but also in everyday life. Religion, class, gender and militarization are all addressed in a succinct essay produced and exhibited under oppressive military rule. An open letter to the prime minister, incorporated within a visual narrative, formsa window for other practitioners to peep through.
Abir Abdullah, at that time a young recruit at Drik, looks at the war veterans whom the euphoria of victory had left behind. Classic in its approach, it is the tender humanity of his work and his ability to relate to a dream that had shaped a generation before him, which makes the work stand out.
One could walk past Anisul Hoque without seeing him. Quiet, unassuming, almost invisible, Anis is almost like the bonsais that he grows. His work, influenced by the mother that he lost while young, is similarly diminutive, but detailed and laden with symbolism. He is the ultimate sufi photographer.
Taslima Akhter is inseparable from the labour movements she has singled out as her space. It is only fitting that perhaps one of the most iconic images of the decade, was seen through her lens. One that she was perhaps destined for. Typically, she scorned the award ceremony in Amsterdam, to be there with the workers.
Tushikur Rahman draws on his own troubling past to take us to uncomfortable realms. Dark and somber, the work unearths the subject of suicide, a common but taboo subject that middle class sensibility finds difficult to discuss. While it draws us into problematic areas, the work, through his own life, also gives us hope and provides an understanding of youth culture.
Sarker Protick’s delicate imagery floats amongst this heavy cast. The high key images surround their subject, wrapping them in tenderness. While the typical photojournalist photographs events and moments, Protick photographs feelings, his images lovingly brushing themselves across the canvas.
Jannatul Mawa returns us to the essence of documentary photography. She peels back layers of societal veneer and strips bare the relationships of power and class. Embedding herself within that social milieu, she offers images that are understated and unreliant on words, reminding us that the personal is political.
Diverse as they are, there are few courts of Justice that could deny the living, breathing documents, of these powerful witnesses of our times.
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. 1996. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World[/caption] Continue reading “And Yet She Smiles”
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.
Reception: 5:30 – 6:00 PM
Lecture: 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Lance Brown, FAIA, 2014 AIANY President
Umberto Dindo, FAIA, Committee Chair, Architecture for Education
Rafiq Azam, Principal SHATOTTO-architecture for green living, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Rosa Maria Falvo, International commissions editor for SKIRA
Price: Free for AIA and Asia Society members, and for students; $10 for non-members
Sponsored by: AIANY Committee on Architecture for Education
Supported by: Asia Society New York