Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home |  Volume 6, Issue 09, Tuesday, March 01, 2011




Nitya Upahar's Barnamala Ebong Amar Desh Amar Dol

To celebrate the International Mother Language Day and World Cup Cricket, Nitya Upahar organises Barnamala and Amar Desh Amar Dol, a special exhibition from 14 February to 10 March. Former captain of national cricket team Habibul Bashar Sumon, BCB official Ahmed Sazzadul Alam and first Everest conqueror of Bangladesh Musa Ibrahim were present at the inauguration ceremony at Basundhara City Mall on 14 February.

Special collections of children's artwork on Bangladesh Cricket team (pictures and t-shirts), tiger related masks and souvenirs, t-shirts, saris, bed sheets and other materials are available there. The masks have been designed by Sandwip, Russel, Tuhin, Sabbir and Sohel.

The exhibition also presents unique collection on Ekushey by new and old designers in the likes of Quaiyum Chowdhury, Hashem Khan, Dhrubo Esh, Sabyasachi Hazra, Anisuzzaman Sohel, Mahbubur Rahman, Habibullah Al Imran, Anahid Jaffri, Shahed Hijol, Sadia Mijan, Bahar Rahman including designs of Nitya Upahar design studio.

Aarong's cricket fever

Bangladesh, a country full of passionate cricket fans is at the peak of its enthusiasm on the most coveted cricket event on the earth. Aarong, at this moment of joy and celebration, is proud to be associated with the cricket buzz and has brought some beautifully crafted mementos for the raving cricket fans.

One of those is a cricket ball shaped candle, which manifests the spirit of the game, symbolising the ray of hope and good wishes of millions of fans for our cricket team. Another product is a miniature of Bangladesh's most traditional and popular transport, 'Rickshaw'. These specially designed Rickshaws carry a few inspiring message for our National Cricket Team, echoing our love for the great game of cricket. These are limited edition World Cup Mementos, which you cannot afford to miss.

An exhibition with a difference

Japanese print making is a form of art that is completely different from the traditional Bengali Art. The tool at an artist's disposal in this case aren't the oft-used paint and brush but rather print-making utensils such as wooden blocks, metal shavings etc. Oil based layer of colours are used to create different textures. According to the artists, the pictures are simple, philosophical and crystallised. All the prints are created manually using different techniques.

Rarely heard or displayed in Bangladesh, it hence came as a delightful surprise for all art connoisseurs when The Gallery presented their recently on-going exhibition titled 'The Recent Works of Fudezuka Toshihisa'. The famous Japanese artist, whose works have been displayed in Taiwan, Tokyo, Korea, Qatar, Holland, France and Canada, has now came to Bangladesh for the first time. With over 60 solo exhibitions in Japan and overseas since 1988 under his belt, it was assured that his collection at The Gallery would have some extremely unique prints and the visitors were certainly not disappointed in that respect.

Educated in Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and fellowships at University of Alberta, Canada along with a one year fellowship awarded from the Japanese Government Agency of Culture to research contemporary printmaking in Poland, Fudezuka is considered an expert in his field. Thus, his exhibition in Dhaka is considered to be yet another step forward in Bangladesh's art scene.

Even before the exhibition opened officially, one of the prints was already sold out. Such was the drawing capacity of Fudezuka's works as he inspired awes with every design. Numerous print making techniques were used in the works including engraving, etching, screen print on hand paint, wood cut, wood engraving and cut metals using burin. All of these methods are relatively new in Bangladesh and thus there was a justified buzz among the crowds who impatiently waited to soak up the beautiful prints on display.

Fudezuka Toshihisa also announced that he will be holding workshops at Dhaka University, Rajshahi University, Chittagong University and UODA. This will present a unique opportunity to these students to broaden their horizons in the art field and popularise the taught methods of print-making.

The recent collection showing 46 excellent prints make up an envious collection of art-work that is sure to add beauty to one's living room but also add a bit of culture. Of all the prints, the wood-cut prints stand out. This centuries old art form requires a lot of skill and expertise and once done correctly can produce works of wonder as shown by Fudezuka Toshihisa.

Fudezuka Toshihisa has been invited to Bangladesh by Gallery Cosmos. The response to the exhibition has been favourable to say the least. It is indeed a treat and even people who don't consider themselves as art lovers can check it out at The Gallery, House 7B, Road # 13, Gulshan 1.

LS Desk


Ajo: A café for all

Ajo. The name itself arouses images of a culture, beautiful yet on the verge of being lost. Ajo simply means 'unknown', something we can all identify with, lost in a world of confusion where everyday it becomes harder to understand who we really are. Indeed, it is quite hard to come across cafés these days which can successfully blend the global with the local, to truly become 'glocal'.

Khalid, the co-owner of the newly opened 'Ajo' pledges to thus remind us of who we really are and yet preserve the memory of who we have become.

Located at Dhanmondi, Road Number 7/A, House 60, as a part of Dhaka Arts Centre, right next to the cultural hub of the lakeside, 'Ajo' is indeed a café with a difference. Inexpensive food, a noticeable difference in the environment and a menu representing the best of all worlds,

Ajo instantly makes a mark on its customers. Successfully implementing the 18-step retailing process, Ajo leaves an immediate impression even on the most casual of observers. After the 'wow' effect at the fourth step, Ajo soon lets its culinary delights do the talking.

But Ajo is much more than the food itself. The whole place has a fascinating story to tell and looking around one can collect the pieces of this tale for themselves. The architectural beauty, the concepts and designs used to create Ajo are unique in their own right. Comprising of 80 percent recycled materials, the café can be considered extremely environmentally friendly.

A crow's nest chandelier, use of discarded ship's floorboards and metals, discarded transistors and even self-made bulb-holders, all exude a feel of an ambience surreal. Following patterns inspired by a century old Buddhist temple, the place advocates the Zen philosophy, luring visitors to a sense of peace and tranquility whilst sitting in the middle of the bustling Dhanmondi area.

A choice of casual or relaxed dining awaits the clients, who may choose any of the five sitting areas, including a smoking area and even an air-conditioned area with a bookshelf filled with books in place. Ajo doesn't try to characterise its customers, opening their doors to people from all walks of life, incorporating everyone's whims and wishes in one quiet retreat.

'Cafés should match our culture, not create an artificial ambience.' Khalid states, whilst displaying the tea cup which is styled to a completely local design. Head-Office Communication indeed worked hard to realise this difficult concept of not only blending various cultures, but also keeping one in its rightful pedestal. Ajo, the name itself, credits no particular language, a testament to what the project delivers. 'We don't try to over-sell.' Khalid concludes, though they do strive to over-deliver. From Reshmi Kebab to steak, Ajo has a menu to serve everyone complemented with an aura like no other. Though Ajo's journey has just started, if they continue in their current vein, it is clear that they can indeed go the distance.

By Osama Rahman
Photo courtesy: Ajo


Celebrating mediocrity

Phew! Finally we wriggled our way out of humiliation; what a relief! I mean losing to Ireland would be nothing less shameful than wearing that donkey's cap from school days and roaming the streets instead of class rooms.

Last Friday our Tigers were saved, but that too at the nick of time, from falling into disgrace, again. I mean what can I say, I love them but I am quite tired of supporting and backing their mediocre act, match in and match out.

Celebrating mediocrity is what we in the media do all the time. We pamper and shower praises on any trifle successes like there is no tomorrow; not only in cricket but in everything.

But that is another note I'll save for my dry spell, right now I want to bash the media for hyping up unnecessarily. As die-hard fans we are blind, we just cheer the mere fact that our little boys are trying to take it out with the bigger boys, as if that should be reason enough to be smug. After white-washing New Zealand you expect them to scare Ireland, not barely survive.

They are never in balance, it seems like the poor, overtly praised cubs are always oscillating in a limbo; today they score a perfect ten and tomorrow a pathetic naught. They are never consistent, never in rhythm with each other; they barely understand each other's tempo, let alone build partnerships.

I know I am being labelled as a traitor but sorry, I am putting my foot down, I want to cheer for my team, but only when they genuinely try, and not give up their wickets foolishly. The batting fiasco with Ireland, I can not be pleased about that.

There is always an excuse for their pitiable performance; axe the fool, Mash's injured ligaments, Tam's bad mood, coach's indifference, the pitch not good for batting or bowling, the dew and what not.

Honestly there is a math to cricket and as hopeless as we are on the subject, we never go by rules or formulas. We just take to the field relying solely on what only they can say; instincts maybe. There is no urgency to learn from or rectify or review the previous debacles.

Any effort on their part is magnified ten times, praised and appreciated and we, the media, are just spoiling them to the core. Yes they are reprimanded too but most of the time we are simply gaga goo goo over them because they are here, giving us a reason to celebrate no matter how pitiable their show.

Our baseless appreciation only makes them air-headed and they start to fly after the first hit. We will always be nipped at the bud because we celebrate half-hearted efforts. I am glad that we won against Ireland, but believe me there could have been a massive upset. And all would have been lost. By the way don't expect the Tigers at the quarter finals, that would be asking for too much from the young cubs with no claws or teeth.

-- Raffat Binte Rashid





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