A grand representation of arts from a diverse range of media, artists of multifaceted expressions and art connoisseurs and lovers with immense passion takes over the galleries and open spaces of National Art Gallery Plaza of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) that is organising the month long 17th Asian Art Biennale 2016 with support from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. The grandest art fiesta has been dedicated to the commemoration of artist Qayyum Chowdhury (1932-2014).
Finance Minister AMA Muhith graced the inaugural session as chief guest while Asaduzzaman Noor, Cultural Affairs Minister, the Thai and South Korean Vice Ministers of the Ministry of Culture and the Chairman of the Jury Committee Professor Rafiqun Nabi, spoke as special guests. Liaquat Ali Lucky, DG, BSA delivered the welcome address while Aktari Momtaz, Secretary of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs presided over the inaugural programme at National Theatre Hall of BSA.
The participation of Bangladeshi artists and their works are vivacious compared to the participation of international artists. That's why eight Bangladeshi artists have bagged awards from the total of nine, according to Rafiqun Nabi.
Kamruzzaman Shadhin (Bangladesh) for his gigantic installation work “Greed”; Dagmara Wyskiel (Chile) for his installation “Joint Game” (video and sound) and Md. Harun-ar-Rashid Tutul (Bangladesh) for his fantastic installation work “The Restless Wave of Time” have received the three Grand Prizes of five lakh BDT, medal, crest and certificate each.
Six Bangladeshi artists -- Kuntal Barai, Bipasha Hayat, Rajib Kumar Roy, Zihan Karim, Shyamal Chandra Sarker and Dilip Kumar Karmakar -- received Honourable Mention Awards. They received three lakh BDT, medal, crest and certificate each.
Eminent Artist Rafiqun Nabi (Bangladesh), Ms. Dolorosa Sinaga (Indonesia), Yuko Hasegawa (Japan) Zygmunt Rafal Strent (Poland) and Jinsub Yoon (Republic of Korea) were the jury members who selected the awards.
“The focus of this edition of the exhibition reflects on the values of material changes, technological applications with media and urbanisation and forging of the elimination of political, ideological and geographical boundaries. Art, as a common ground, provides interactions among the artists and nations. This is an exposure of our artistic heritage along with works of many other younger artists of the country. I hope we will become richer by the participation of artists worldwide in this grand art exhibition,” said AMA Muhith.
“I would like to start today with a happy announcement that our 'Mongol Shobhajatra' (a colourful procession to hail Bengali New Year) has been recognised by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage. Bangladesh has a rich heritage of nearly two-thousand years fostered by people from numerous different religions, castes and creeds,” Asaduzzaman Noor said.
“We are living through times of political changes, socio-economic upheavals and rapid urbanisation and we can see representation of this context in their works as well as the influences of our ever changing urban-rural settings. As we celebrate the 17th edition of the Asian Art Biennale that is the fruit of vision of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, founded by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1974, we do it with a mission of nurturing arts and culture of the independent nation,” he added.
Renowned Bangladeshi artists -- Dr. Farida Zaman, Professor Mohammad Eunus, Kalidas Karmakar, Nazlee Laila Mansur, Dr. Mohammad Iqbal Ali and architect Mustafa Khalid Palash selected Bangladeshi artworks while Professor Toyomi Hoshina, former Dean and Vice President of Tokyo University of Arts, Japan, selected international artworks submitted by the artists of 53 other countries of the world.
Apart from artists of Asia and Asia-Pacific countries, painters, sculptors, photographers and artists from other artistic branches from 54 countries are taking part in the grand art fiesta. One hundred and fifty four artworks by 148 Bangladeshi artists have been selected for display while 260 artworks by 150 artists from 53 other countries are on display at the biennale.
Besides, artworks by notable artists of Bangladesh are on display at the mega art show. For the first time, the organisers have declared an open call for online artworks submission worldwide. Asian Art Biennale is the pioneering art biennale of Asia and one of the forerunning art biennales of the world.
Besides, 145 foreign artists, art critics and museum curators are attending the event. Apart from the month long exhibition, a seminar on the title “Art and the City,” performance art show, international art camp and cultural programmes are underway simultaneously.
The biennale is exclusively showcasing the time-honoured artistic and cultural heritage of Bangladesh and the exhibition is open from 11am to 8pm daily till December 31.