Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |  Volume 6, Issue 27, Tuesday, July 05, 2011





Upon entering the cosy workshop, one is greeted with warmth. The small room with a southerly glass window, adjacent to the busy road that is Malibagh, shuns away the cacophony that is outside and segregates the mind to a more placid atmosphere.

There is a certain level of charm in the place, one that brings composure to the mind, essential for the nurturing of art.

Beginning Friday, 17 June 2011 a nine day long Wood Block Printmaking Workshop was held at Cosmos-Atelier71 Printmaking Studio, Cosmos Centre, 69/1, New Circular Road, Malibagh, Dhaka 1217. Conducted by well-known artist and printmaker Anisuzzaman, Assistant Professor of Department of Printmaking, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka, the workshop was attended by ten printmaking aficionados, some settled in Dhaka, while others joined in from different parts of the country. As conductor, artist Anisuzzaman presented a demonstration of stylistic methods of fine art that is wood block printmaking.

CosmosAtelier71, the organiser, aims to consolidate its unique role as a space where international and local art practitioners meet to create contemporary printmaking art through its process-based workshops, residencies and discussions that are presented to the local and international audience through its public program of exhibitions, open studios and publications.

Celebrated painter and printmaker, Biren Shome and art connoisseur Nevine Sultana attended the workshop as Guest Artists.

- LS Desk
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed


A home away from home

serviced apartment is a type of furnished apartment available for short-term or long-term stays, which provides amenities for daily use.

Serviced apartments can be less expensive than equivalent hotel rooms. Since the beginning of the boom in cheap international travel and the corresponding increase in the level of sophistication of international travellers, interest in serviced apartments has risen at the expense of the use of hotels for short stays.

The benefits of serviced apartments may include more space and privacy, convenience when travelling with family and the cost savings associated with cooking one's own meals in the apartment.

In a world that has truly evolved as a global village, concepts reach the very ends of the earth as soon as they are formed. The idea of serviced apartments is truly a novel concept, an innovation of the West, which is gradually infiltrating the urban framework of our tourism and housing sectors.

Travellers, who visit Bangladesh on business or for leisurely travel often opt for serviced apartments -- studio or one bedroom units -- over hotels. These temporary housing facilities are more feasible for travellers seeking a homely and low-budget alternative to hotels.

"These apartments offer better value for money. Employees of multinational companies or corporate houses who need short term accommodation prefer serviced apartments for a homely alternative to the confines of a hotel," said Suchita Nahid, HR Manager, Save the Children, Bangladesh.

The aim of serviced apartments is to provide three star accommodation to create an intimate living environment with the warmth of a home. A team of professional and experienced staff provide security and quality services over 24-hours for the comfort of guests.

Most of the apartments have common amenities like well-furnished bedrooms, attached lavatories and shower space, a living room to entertain guests and a separate kitchen where one is free to cook his/her own breakfast, lunch or dinner.

The bathrooms usually boast a running supply of hot and cold water, there are large screen televisions in the living/bed rooms, refrigerators, telephone lines with STD connections and broadband Internet -- keeping contact with those afar was never easier.

"We're trying to upgrade the hospitality sector to enhance our competitive edge," said Tanveerul Haque Probal.

Probal is the Managing Director of Building For Future and former President of Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB), who has been closely observing the boom in this industry.

Rafflesia, often termed the pioneers of serviced apartments in Bangladesh, is a project of Building For Future and nestled in the posh setting of Gulshan. Apart from their luxurious rooms they also maintain a restaurant, located in the ground floor of the apartment, that bears a strong reflection of Bangladeshi culture and cuisine.

It also offers delectable continental cuisine for the pleasure of their foreign guests.

Competing for the niche market, Lakeshore Hotel Apartments, also at Gulshan is coming strong. Their studio apartments are 373 sft, overlooking the wonderful view of the lake and provide all required amenities for a short stay. Also making a mark on the tourist's map is SEL Nibash Serviced Apartments, a project of SEL Engineers and Architects at Green Road.

"Customers are more tech savvy these days. They expect quick and easy access to information and booking facilities any time of the day," said the Manager. SEL has a health club, business centre, safe deposit box and locker facilities.

Heritage Serviced Apartment, also located in Green Road, provides fully furnished rental apartments located in convenient areas in the city of Dhaka. This apartment is specifically designed for the comfort of overseas Bangladeshi residents as well as foreigners intending to stay in Bangladesh for a short span of time.

Today's tourists -- business or otherwise, prefer a homely atmosphere in their dwellings. Concepts of hotel management have changed over the years, giving rise to boutique hotels and so on. The idea of serviced apartments have proved popular among foreign expatriates, and is catching up with non-resident Bangladeshis back home for a short trip.

It is with certainty that this sector will make a boom, and fast.

By Farizaa Sabreen


Wear it the Tagore way

Remember the time when you were a baby girl and you used to grab every opportunity you got of wrapping mummy's dupatta around yourself like a sari and put the anchol over your head? Given your way you would have made the sari your every day attire and gone around the house like the begum sahib pretending to cook and take care of your doll babies imitating mummy.

Then you grow up and as the memories of the toddler years fade away the fondness for saris is locked into a corner only to be unleashed once you reach your post-adolescent years or for some, like yours truly, your adolescent years.

Being Bengali women we nurture an innate fondness for saris and being Bengalis we grow up with a certain hint of Tagore in our lives -- be it when we have to read his poems and stories in class, when we sing our national anthem or when our parents turn the volume up on his songs on a rainy morning. Saris as we wear them have more Tagore in them than one would expect.

The modern style of wearing saris with the kuchi, the pleats, which came after the not so fetching ek panch style, has its roots in the Tagore family and it was the females of the conservative Tagore family who started this trend.

The celebrations of the 150th birthday of Rabindranath Tagore were quite extensive with different establishments in the country arranging musical extravaganzas, dramas, fashion shows etc. Thus, when Shafayet Ali Tarafder, the chairman of Manick Benarasi Limited at Mirpur, visited Shantiniketon in India he got to thinking about how he could pay his tribute to the great Tagore.

Being the owner of a sari shop what better way did he have, to pay his tributes, than to make saris? So, Tarafader decided to replicate the saris worn by members of the Tagore family and bring their tradition to the people.

Thus, Manick Benarasi Limited started its Tagore Studio Collection of katan saris with six designs. The motifs used on these saris are fundamental designs which were pioneers used during the period when designs on benarasi saris came into existence.

One will find, in this collection, the traditional butidar katan, butidar katan paga with small butis all over the body and wide anchol, butidar mina katan, jangla katan and the striped katan that was worn by Mrinalini Devi.

The saris have been exactly duplicated from the pictures, available at Shantiniketon. These were the saris that the Tagore women used to wear whenever they went out of the house into the public eyes even if it was to a short distance from home.

Manick Benarasi Limited took the liberty of applying different colours to the designs because their true hues could not be ascertained due to the black and white photography of that era.

The saris have been designed to cater to both the elderly and the younger age groups with the simpler ones priced as low as Tk 4000 and the more gorgeous ones up to Tk 7000. These saris are also exported by Manick Benarasi Limited to India where they have been widely welcomed.

According to Tarafder, plans of producing attires, similar to that worn by Rabindranath Tagore himself, such as the jobba, for men are in the process of implementation.

Georgettes, chiffons, nets and other saris have had their turn;
it is now time to revisit our roots. In your search for traditional saris with a touch of class and elegance this is the place for you to go where, along with the Tagore Studio Collection, you will come across a collection of wonderful katan, jamdani and benarasi saris.

For more, please contact Manick Benarasi Limited, Section-10, Block-A, Lane-9, House-1, Mirpur, Dhaka.

By Karishma Ameen
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed


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