Fantasy and Reality Mix: an Inspired Chobi Mela VI Opens
“All that we value, that we strive to uphold, all that gives us strength, has been made of dreams”
The Chobi Mela VI - International Festival of Photography will open tomorrow 21 January at the National Theatre Auditorium, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh at 4 pm. The festival with its theme of “Dreams” will be inaugurated by a representative from every continent. Dr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor, International Criminal Court will join virtually with a special message for Chobi Mela and its participants.
The 29 print exhibitions containing over 400 images are as diverse as the artists that produced the work for this festival. Embedded beyond and beneath the surface of the images is a fast changing world and the strongly felt need to capture that “moment,” tell the story, blow the whistle, and be within the campus of photographers committed to getting the best of their craft. “We are essentially storytellers,” says Shahidul Alam, festival director of Chobi Mela. “The transaction from analogue to digital hasn’t changed the fabric of storytelling. Today the tools are different. Our dreams differ of course. From the need of the activist to speak out against unlawful killings, to the artistic aspirations of creating a visual aesthetic, to the conceptual goals of a certain engagement through a particular visual form.”
The inauguration at the National Theatre Auditorium, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and the evening sessions of presentations at Goethe Institut (21-27 January) will be broadcast live on Drik TV ( www.drik.tv). This unique feature of this festival will engage a number of professional and amateur photographers and other virtual participants from across the globe. An estimated 200,000 people visited the last Chobi Mela festival. This year the number is expected to be even larger.
This year the festival will recognize contributions to photography and society made by three outstanding artists through the Chobi Mela Lifetime Achievement Awards. This year’s recipients are J. D. Okhai Ojeikere of Nigeria, Pedro Meyer of Mexico and posthumously Naib Uddin Ahmed of Bangladesh. The award includes a scholarship given in the name of each recipient to a deserving student, to study for a year in Pathshala, The South Asian Media Academy.
Many artists will be here at the festival to present their work and joining them and culturally enriching the festival will be international practitioners from photography, publishing, advertising and educational sectors. Nine workshops will be held during the festival period by expert trainers in the photography field upgrading skills and knowledge of national and international participants. The week long evening presentations at Goethe Institut will provide the platform for debate on the semiotics of present day photographic practice in a broad international context, exploring new trends and issues in a fast evolving new media environment.
Interest in the festival is high from national and international media. Here in Dhaka “Channel I” kicked off national media coverage with a prime time TV program presenting highlights of the Chobi Mela VI festival, as well as taking a look back at previous festivals. Much of the international interest at present stems from articles in the National Geographic website, Vogue Italy, Wall Street Journal as well as publicity on websites, blogs and Face Book pages of artists.
The festival will be held till 3 February at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Alliance Francaise de Dhaka, The Asiatic Gallery of Fine Arts, The British Council, Drik Gallery, The Goethe-Institut and the Lichutola at Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka.
See also: http://www.chobimela.org
For more information please contact:
Chobi Mela Secretariat
House 58, Road 15A (New), Dhanmondi, Dhaka 1209
Tel +8802 8112954, 9120125, 8123412
firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 01911224884
Liason and Communication:
Chulie de Silva
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The Air we Breath
Air is one of the five elements we cannot live without. In Bangladesh we have very little awareness about protecting our air from getting polluted. In recent times we have addressed other types of pollution, but we also need to create greater consciousness about air.
Dhaka has an estimated population of more than 10 million. Air pollution has emerged as a serious problem in the city. Blackening of the city air and reduced visibility can be observed in some areas at times even with unaided eyes. Episodes of choking smells and irritating eyes are common.
Air pollution in Dhaka is serious due to increasing population and associated motorization. Studies show that the average ambient concentrations of suspended particulate matter (SPM) and airborne lead are higher than the Bangladesh national ambient air quality standards and much higher than the WHO guidelines. The city's average SPM levels are about 2 times higher than the Bangladeshi standard of 200 µg/m3 in residential areas and are more than 10 times higher than the WHO guidelines of 120 µg/m3 (24 hours) in commercial areas. Lead levels are also high compared to other cities in the world.
Severe air pollution is threatening human health and economic growth in Dhaka. The city encounters an estimated 3,580 premature deaths, 10 million restricted activity days and 87 million respiratory symptom days. The economic loss associated with these health problems could range from a low estimate of US$ 60 million to a high estimate of US$ 270 million, equivalent to 1.7% to 7.5% of the city's gross product.
Photography & Text By:
Syed Mahfuz Ali
Syed Mahfuz Ali is a Weeding photographer based in Dhaka,Bangladesh.
He got interested in photography and completed Graduation in weeding photography and photojournalism from Pathshala- South Asian Institute of photography, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
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