Lecture no- 340 Series: Nature
Speaker: Shahidul Alam
Topic: My Journey As A Witness
Date: August 26, 2014
Time: 6.30 PM
Venue: EMK Centre, Midas Centre, 9th floor, Plot: 5, Road 16 (old 27), Dhanmondi, Dhaka
Moderator: Tughlaq Azad
Ticket: 50 Taka only
Older than the mountains, it is a river that forces its way through the towering Himalayas. The Tibetans know it as the Yarlung Tsang Po (the purifier). In India, it is known as Brahmaputra. In Bangladesh, it is also known as the Jamuna, The Padma and finally the Meghna before it opens into the sea.
Photographer Shahidul Alam will share his journey towards Brahmaputra’s origin.
A photographer, writer, curator and activist, Shahidul Alam obtained a PhD in chemistry before switching to photography. He returned to his hometown Dhaka in 1984, where he photographed the democratic struggle to remove General Ershad. A former president of the Bangladesh Photographic Society, Alam set up the award winning Drik agency and Pathshala, considered one of the finest schools of photography in the world. Director of the Chobi Mela festival and chairman of Majority World agency, Alam’s work has been exhibited in galleries such as MOMA in New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Royal Albert Hall and Tate Modern in London and The Museum of Contemporary Arts in Tehran. He has been a guest curator of the Whitechapel Gallery, the Musee de Quai Branly, Winterthur Museum and the Brussels Biennale. Alam’s numerous photographic awards include the Mother Jones and the Howard Chapnick Awards and the Open Society Institute Audience Engagement Grant. A speaker at Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Oxford and Cambridge universities, Alam is a visiting professor of Sunderland University in the UK. He has been a jury member in prestigious international contests, including World Press Photo, which he chaired, as well as Prix Pictet, chaired by Kofi Annan. An Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, Alam is on the advisory board of the National Geographic Society and the Eugene Smith Fund.
Alam’s recognition as a writer, has led to his participation in literary festivals throughout the globe. His recent book “My Journey as a witness” was listed in the “Best Photo Books of 2011” by American Photo. Former picture editor of Life Magazine John Morris considers the book “The most important book ever written by a photographer”
His current landmark work “Eighteen” questions the role of the military in the abduction of the indigenous activist Kalpana Chakma and has been widely acclaimed, both in the fine art field and by human rights activists.
Alam’s work alongside that of his current and former students will be on show at Oxford University in September 2014. He is also a widely acclaimed public speaker and will be speaking at the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford as well as in Dubai, Doha, Cologne, Cape Town and Johannesburg in September.