Dick Doughty, Managing Editor Saudi Aramco World and Shahidul Alam, Chobi Mela VI Festival Director at the media briefing at Drik. 20 January, 2011. Photograph Saikat Mojumder.
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"
Dhaka, Bangladesh. 20 January, 2011: 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 programpresenting 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
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