imperfect | world | 2010

Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Mar 22,2006

Rana at Baitul Mukkaram

Next time you go for jummah prayers to Baitul Mukkaram (Dhaka’s landmark mosque) take a look around at the stalls around there and at the stadium. This is Rana. You will see him there. He sells all *types* of VCD at his stall. I asked him whether the recent intended crackdown on p*rn*gr*phy troubles him (announced by Information minister M Shamsul Islam). ( Pls excuse the asterisks: if i write the whole word, google picks it up and I get the wrong kind of visitor to this site!) Not in the least, he tells me. Sometimes he has to lie low because the police have to flex their muscles etc but “things always blow over.” The last time he had to lie low for a bit was about six months ago. He sells triple x, double x and a new genre, well to me at least:- Rana calls it “ganer modhe khola mela,” which roughly translated means “songs with open stuff” - that is risque dhallywood music videos interspliced with european hardcore stuff.

Taking a look at the titles you suddenly realise you don’t get them in Gulshan video stores. I asked him what the quality is like. He assured me that he would give me top quality stuff. I bought four video CDs. Two turned out to be blank CDs. One had a virus file as well as the intact VCD files. Only one of the four CDs was playable - it was a “ganer modhe khola mela” one. Not bad for 120 takas?! I was a bit saddened that my copy of Sayed Shamsul Alam’s “Damn Care” was a blank - it looks like a real dhallywood classic with buxom Moiuri look-alikes brandishing knives dripping with blood.

Read my earlier brief post questioning Hayekian interpretations of this phenomenon of intersplicing p*rn*, and Dhallywood in general.

Murshida Arzu Alpana in exhibition

  • Filed under: Art
Feb 24,2006

She was sipping tea as I entered the gallery on No 27 Dhanmondi. I wondered around mesmerised by the solo exhibition. I wondered how could one possibly sit there sipping tea and not be drawn by the works on view. Afer I had gone around twice, I flicked through the pages of the stylishly produced but thin gallery booklet on the artist. And there she was at the back - the photograph of the artist. I recognised her even though she was not sipping tea. Even prettier in life than her picture in the pamphlet, I had no hesitation in asking her if she was the artist, and then insisting that she tell me about some of the paintings. She graciously obliged. My first question was about a protest painting about the war in iraq entitled “Stop Genocide.” She revisited her thoughts about that acrylic work and explained how distraught she was that all this was being done in the name of democracy and freedom. I moved on to my purchases and insisted on explanations. Here was a chance to get to the artist and ask her about the things that resonated within me. Entitled “Recollection” one work was a wispy, floating and a nebulous recollection of a river in Faridpur. Incredible - her ancestry is the same as mine!

Murshida Arzu Alpana

She must have been irked. She must have thought I was an uncouth consumer wanting the “specs” on her life’s reflections. I hope not. The exhibition is called SPAGAT: Living in two worlds. She has been living in Germany since 1993 and as the booklet points out she understands “poignantly the feeling of in-betweenness that characterises modern metropolitan living and the whole migrant ethos.”" That much is clear. There is also a little anger in some of the paintings. No, quite a lot I think. The social awareness is explicit, and she seems to be directing it in a progressive direction. Murshida is an extremely engaging artist and I could hardly tear myself away from the gallery. I can’t wait to tell A in Berlin about her. And I can’t wait to see more of her works in Berlin! If you are in Dhaka - go see the exhibition at the Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts until the 28th of this month!

Behind the glass-wall