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EVENT

23 Years of Drik

Drik stands today as a well-established centre for artists, photographers and enthusiasts. This makes it hard to believe that 23 years ago this was a rudimentary building of only one floor with a tin shed ceiling -- and so it is no wonder that Drik has come a long way. On the 4th of September Drik celebrated their 23rd anniversary with a lot of enthusiasm. The programme, scheduled to start at 6.00 pm on the day, garnered a huge audience comprising photographers, students and fans from around the country as well as from India and China. And the presence of world renowned, National Geographic photojournalist Reza Deghati as the guest of honour just added icing to the cake.

The event started with Shahidul Alam, the Managing Director of Drik giving a short introduction to the history of how Drik started and of the early formative years, clearly showing how a group of people started a huge project with so much enthusiasm , which has taken shape into what Drik is today. His lecture on Appreciating Fine Art Prints was well received after which he moved on to present a few rare print collections, which were up for sale.

Next a documentary was presented showcasing in brief Drik's promising project titled Rural Visual Journalism Network -- a group of young journalists across the remote areas of the country portraying the local news online.

Another big part of the event was the Golam Kasem Daddy lecture -- a lecture dedicated to Golam Kasem, a pioneer of photography in the country , by curator Wakilur Rahman on the subject of Curating Contemporary Art and Art Practice in Bangladesh.

But the biggest attraction of the event and the one which left everyone talking was Reza Deghati's speech. He has been involved from the earlier days of Pathshala, when it was established as a photography programme, and he gave a brief summary of how far it has come. Coming from a world renowned photographer, it was inspiring to hear of the esteem Bangladeshi photographers have earned in the last two decades in the international scene. Reza's speech was also an inspiring one -- he talked of his earlier days in photography, persecution by the secret police in Iran from when he was 16, living in exile, the horrible realities he had to face -- and all that to come to the point of how one should always follow his dream and what he believes in.

The culmination of this was a slide show of a collection of Reza's pictures which left the audience captivated and clapping for a long time. Reza's amiable attitude to all present, some of whom were his early students, made the event a very homely one. The event ended with cake and food and lots of fans going up to Deghati to get a chance to talk to him.

The exhibit 'Insider, Outsider?' complimenting this event started from the 6 September and will continue till 12 September. The exhibition was held recently in the Guardian Gallery. This includes pictures from photographers from Drik Picture Agency among 17 others.

Overall the event was a success, the organisers deserve applause. The sheer number of people who attended was a clear indication of the enthusiasm that was the vibe throughout the event. It was fun, lively and inspiring and from what can be gathered from the speeches made Bangladesh has come a long way in the field of visual arts. If Reza Deghati can be believed, even hoping for a Pulitzer is not stretching it.

By Moyukh Mahtab
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed


DHAKA BITES

Mind the Gap

Munize Manzur

Right before you step onto the subway train, a large sign scrawled on the platform, warns you to 'Mind the Gap'. It sensitises you that despite being one step away from your next destination, there is still something that could go wrong. You have traversed the hot, crowded streets; deciphered complicated maps; controlled your craving for clear skies and made your way into the bowels of the earth. Now you are finally standing at the right place; waiting for your train to arrive, with the sole purpose of transporting you to your desired location. It's only natural not to take kindly to the pervasive sign which warns you that there still remains a gap to mind within that minute motion.

It makes you conscious of the gap between your eyes and your brain. Your eyes are focused on how easy that one step is. Merely a few inches. Your eyes don't always take in the whole picture. But your brain knows when it's not the right train. Even if a train looks invitingly cool, comforting, devoid of complications, it may not be the right one for you. And if it's the wrong train, your wonderful experience will be shortlived. Next thing you know, you'll get lost. Or worse, you'll land at a place that has no resemblance to what should have been your ultimate destination.

Mind the Gap between your ears and your mouth. You've heard rumours. All that talk on the platform. Who's in; who's out; who's doing whom over and who has done whom in. Whether you're dressed in chiffon and pearls sipping highly priced tea or you're in a power suit mapping the lay of the office, your ears pick up many things. Some things are best not heard. Most things best not repeated. Your ears are hollowed out organs. They can't help but pick up sound pressure waves from the outside world. Your mouth, however, is totally within your control. Do you choose to hold your tongue or do you choose to spread vile bile? Will you let the sound waves float away or will you channel slander?

Mind the Gap between your heart and your head. Know when to instinctively rush for the closing doors of this subway and when to patiently wait for the next opportunity with fewer risks. Mind the Gap between your gut and your stomach. If doing something that feeds you makes your stomach churn in discomfort, it may be time to try a different route. Mind the Gap between you and your alter ego. Who, me? Or me? Yes you. You too. There's only one comfortable seat.

On the brink of change, it's irritating to be warned to take account of your next step. When does the pressure to get it right let up? When is it okay to let go and simply step off?

Truth is, it's never okay to be complacent. There's always enough space to Mind the Gap.


A TRUE TASTE OF ASIA

By Tommy miah

Hara masala murgh
Ingredients:
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp salt
½ cup vegetable oil
1½ cups plain yoghurt
¼ cup ground almonds
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
6 green chillies, mashed into a paste
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
1 cup shredded coconut
Salt to taste
1 cup water
¼ cup heavy cream (optional)

Method:
Thoroughly rub chicken pieces with ginger paste, garlic paste, and 1 teaspoon salt. Heat oil in a large deep saucepan or a 'kadhai' over medium-high heat; fry the chicken pieces in the oil on both sides until well browned for about 5 minutes.

Mix the yoghurt, almonds, cumin, coriander, and turmeric together in a bowl. Pour the yoghurt mixture over the chicken and turn to coat; cook another 10 minutes. Stir the mashed chilli, cilantro, and mint into the pot; season with salt.

Add water, cover, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking until the chicken is tender for about 20 minutes more. Stir the cream into the sauce just before removing from heat to serve.

Masala beef with ginger and curry leaf
Ingredients:
3 bay leaves
1 (1 inch) piece cinnamon stick
5 cardamom pods
4 whole cloves
2 tsp fennel seeds
10 whole black peppercorns
2 pounds beef, cubed
3 cups chopped onion, divided
5 green chilli, halved lengthwise
1 (1½ inch) piece fresh ginger root, grated
6 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
½ cup coconut oil
¼ tsp whole mustard seeds
4 fresh curry leaves
2½ tsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground black pepper

Method:
To make the masala powder: Grind the bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, fennel seeds and peppercorns in a spice grinder until mixture is a fine powder.

Place the beef cubes, masala powder, 2 cups chopped onion, green chillies, grated fresh ginger, garlic and turmeric in a large, heavy pot. Add water to cover (about 1 cup) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until beef is cooked through. Add salt. Stir and continue to simmer about 10 minutes or until mixture is almost dry, but do not allow it to burn (add a bit more water, if necessary). Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds and cook until they begin to pop. Immediately add remaining 1 cup chopped onion and stir over medium heat until onions soften and begin to brown for about 10 to 12 minutes. Add curry leaves and cook until brown for about 3 minutes.

Stir in the beef mixture, black pepper, and lemon juice. Cook until nicely browned and heated through for about 8 minutes.


FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD

Ami chini go chini tomare o go fettuccine

By kaniska chakraborty

Immortal line from an immortal poet made popular and part of folklore by an immortal filmmaker and now butchered by stupid me. Tagore, Ray and I. Possibly the only way I can ever feature in the same sentence.

Due apologies to one and all for my uncalled for presence among the greats. Fettuccine is a pasta that I have not dealt in extensively. It has always been relegated to the customary Fettuccine Alfredo in a mediocre Italian place. While I continued to favour the penne, the fusilli, the farfalle and even the spaghetti, somehow I balked at fettuccine.

All that changed while I was watching the ever-smiling Donna Hay do her version of Pasta Carbonara. And she did it with fettuccine. Lovely thick ribbons of pasta tossed in a creamy, eggy sauce, crowned with slices of Jamon Iberico, fresh ricotta and fresh parsley. I was sold on fettuccine.

Wanted to do the same as Donna Hay. But did not have fresh ricotta, nor Jamon Iberico. Not even fresh cream. Also, we were all out of eggs. That effectively put paid to the carbonara dream. A quick raid of the fridge yielded lean ham, parsley and olives. Garlic is a constant in our kitchen.

So there I was, chopping garlic, parsley, snipping the ham into bite-sized pieces. Cooked fettuccine according to the direction on packet. Stirred the garlic and ham in olive oil till garlic became fragrant. While draining, reserved a little pasta boiling liquid.

Fettuccine went into the garlic and ham. Olives were strewn over them. And a final shower of chopped parsley. There I was. My first encounter with fettuccine in the kitchen. An acquaintance that will soon turn into a lasting friendship, I'm sure.


 

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