From Manila to Dhaka, Unity in Diversity: An Art Exposition
Dhaka, Bangladesh, has been named the most unlivable city in the world. Yes, it’s chaotic in all sense of the word. All artists present in the festival will tell you in chorus what they feel about the capital…a 180 degree turn in perspective about humanity. I myself experienced a totally complex emotion from the time we arrived at the airport and seeing the streets for the first time going to our four stars hotel, from my first meal, on the way to the opening of the Biennale and post parties every night, from the heritage tours down to the longest river (Buriganga) cruise, more than enough time to finish a 24 inches x 30 inches painting during our art camp, in between picture taking, singing and dancing, eating and sightseeing of the monotonous landscape all in grey scale. All of these ignites a different sensation in me, so different that I can not surely defines it, its like you are in between the state of melancholia and trying to be happy which is I think synonymous.
But the first impression may not last forever or it’s what the country is trying to do. All the elements of surprise will welcome you, that makes them truly unique I remember one artist whispered to me – “hey, they do have Biennale…” and yes this impressed us a lot. They are proud of who and what they are, they stood up and remain true to their culture, arts and tradition, too strong as if change will never happen. They offered the artists present in the event in black and white the meaning of the opposites; the ugly and the beautiful, sad and joy and drawing us the fine line between poor, poorer and the poorest and defining the true meaning of stillness and blessedness.
All of these affect all who witness Dhaka. It overwhelms all your senses, you will need an extra senses to understand Bangladesh. For us artists, it’s a new way of narrating life through our arts.