Campaign for Cox's Bazar
Making sandcastles by the children is a common habit, however, building sand sculptures needs special training. The technique was developed by European artists who make sculptures with natural elements such as sand and snow to celebrate special events. These days arranging a sand sculpture festival has become a regular part of beach culture in many parts of the globe. But the technique of making sculpture with sand is still somewhat unfamiliar in Bangladesh, though the country has got the largest beach in the world. So far, a few individuals and organisations have arranged two or three such festivals at Cox's Bazar beach, though on a small scale. But this is for the first time an elaborate sand sculpture festival has been organised jointly by Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, Dhaka University and Green World Communication Ltd.
An approximate 700 feet of beach between Laboni and Kolatoli points of Cox's Bazar has been decorated with 13 spectacular sand sculptures made by the teachers and students of the Department of Sculpture at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Dhaka University. The aim of arranging the festival was to attract tourists during the 'off season' as well as to generate interest in voting for Cox's Bazar for the top position of the ongoing 'New Seven Natural Wonders of the World' contest.
After participating in a residential workshop on sand sculpture conducted by three teachers of Department of Sculpture, 38 students in 10 groups made 10 huge sand sculptures. The three teachers also have an exhibit each at the festival.
The festival was open to the public on March 24 by Shafique Alam Mehdi, Chairman of Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation. It will remain open for all till April 30. As the festival was opened on the month of our Liberation, most of the sculptures feature the spirit of our national spirit.
The titles of the sculptures were also quite interesting such as Beach Boy, Oath, Life, Shamuk, Baddhabhumi, Joldebota, Traditional Boat, Porua, After Together, 71er Danob, Shikari, Peace on Beach and Mother.
The sand sculptures have created interest amongst tourists and the locals. "It's simply amazing", says a holidaymaker Nusrat Jahan, "It was beyond my imagination that such spectacular sculptures with ordinary beach sand could be made". The locals and organisers placed bouquets on Oath an eight feet high sand made replica of Savar Smrity Shoudho made by Kawsar Hossain, a teacher of Fine Arts, on March 26 comemmorating our Independence Day.
Eminent sculptor Hamiduzzaman, a professor of Department of Sculpture, under whose leadership the workshop was carried out, says, " Hedayetul Islam Helal of Green World Communications approached me to initiate such event at the beach. It was quite an exciting offer to us. Then I talked with the faculty members and students of the department. They were also very excited. Subsequently, I made plans with M Atiqul Islam, a guest teacher of the department, who learnt the technique of making sand sculptures while his stay in China."
"In fact, in my 38 years of journey as a sculptor, I've never worked in this medium. This experience is totally new to me. But, after making sculptures with sand now I'm confident. I think the medium has a huge potential since sand is easily available and cheap as well. And I'm planning to do more experiments on sand sculptures in future. This technique will be integrated in the curriculum of the department", he says.
On the technique of making sand sculpture M Atiqul Islam says, "While studying in China, I learnt the technique working with foreign artists who participated in many festivals. I've also participated in foreign festivals. The technique is very simple but challenging. One has to mould wet sand and then has to curve it to give the shape of any form. Then liquid glue needs to be sprayed on so that the sand is not swept away in the air."
A spectacular sand sculpture.
The students who participated at the festival consider themselves lucky to be working with a new medium. M Reazul Islam, group leader that has made 'Peace on Beach', says, "We have successfully made an eight feet high sculpture portraying peace through the stances of two hands. I believe it's quite possible to double the height."
The organisers are quite thrilled to have completed this project successfully. Chairman of Green World Communication Ltd Hedayetul Islam Helal says, "For the last few years we have been initiating many programmes to attract the local and foreign tourists all over the year. 'Sand Sculpture Festival '09' is a part of such initiative. Moreover, we have a regular beach-cleaning programme that has made the popular Cox's Bazar beach cleaner. Moreover, it has created job opportunity to those who used to beg at the beach. A Bangladeshi expatriate recently told me that at present." "In future we are planning to introduce more events on beach culture in Cox's Bazar", he adds.
|Artists give the final touches to Peace of Beach.
Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation has become a part of the festival along with the private sector to generate awareness amongst the public to vote for Cox's Bazar at the ongoing 'New Seven Natural Wonders of the World' contest. Chairman of the corporation, Shafique Alam Mehdi, says, "I'm really happy noticing the enthusiasm of the tourists at the festival. In fact, we have taken many initiatives during the one and half years to make the largest sea beach popular amongst the tourists. And definitely the number of the tourists has increased. Cox's Bazar has become quite popular abroad. We are also trying to popularise our campaign on Cox's Bazar and Sundarbans through our embassies."
The Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation also has future plans to improve tourism sector. "We are making a master plan emphasising our tourist spot. The existing tourism policy will be improved within a short time frame. At the same time a tourism law will be enacted soon", he says.
As part of the festival a seminar was also held in which local representatives of the administration of Cox's Bazar district, hotel owners, civil society members and journalists exchanged views with Parjatan Corporation Chairman. The chairman suggested that the local leaders to form a committee to stop ongoing environmental degrading and encroachment at Cox's Bazar.
(R) thedailystar.net 2009