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2nd Inter-Private University
Painting competition & exhibition

Shapes or forms are called the positive areas. The empty spaces between the shapes are called negative space. The relation between the positive and negative space will have an effect on how the art work is interpreted. Paintings can be virtuoso, exotic and a maestro when talking to our emotions and yet can be masterly ludicrous when aimed like so. A canvas is a lens to society and is a lot more than just color and texture. Bangladesh, to our pride, has a rich cultural and aesthetic past.

To enhance the painting heritage of Bangladesh and to celebrate the 10th convocation of Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB), the 2nd Inter-Private University Painting Competition & Exhibition was initiated. Inaugurated on June 3rd by the famous artist, Murtaja Baseer, and the Vice Chancellor of IUB, Professor Bazlul Mobin Chowdhury, the exhibition was portrayed at the auditorium of the National Museum with paintings by the students of six different private universities.

The universities taking part in the competition are BRAC University, The University of Asia Pacific, Shato-Mariam University of Creative Technology (SMUCT), East West University, University of Development Alternative (UODA) and the host, IUB, the exhibition and competition being organized by the IUB student council. The exhibition will be open till the 5th of June when the awards will be given out to the winners. Judges of the competition are Kuhu, Nishar Hossain and Jamal Ahmed.

Paintings varied from pastel, oil, pencil and pen sketches, and water-color along with several abstracts. Apparently, one very famous painting that seems to have gotten through into the competition is a Bangladeshi version of the Mona Lisa. Several paintings of Mona Lisa wearing saree with tip on the forehead, and one wearing a cap denoting “Shuvo Nobobarsha” was also displayed in the exhibition. Other paintings varied from sketches of Rajbari, Pink Palace, window paintings, as well as face and figure paintings of famous people, farmers and freedom fighters.

As part of the 10th Convocation of IUB, the students will also be staging Romeo & Juliet on the 7th of June at the National Museum, probably signifying 'Love conquers all!' The convocation will take place on the 11th of June at Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre; I hope the food will be good there. Oh and congratulations to the gradating students!

By Adnan M. S. Fakir

Teen Diaries
The split

Oh my God! Can you believe the nerve of that girl? After all that I have done for her since kindergarten, this is how she behaves with me? I created her, she is a nobody without me…everyone knows that. She wouldn't have a style sense, a life or a friend if it hadn't been for me. Okay, I really need to breathe…

Things got really ugly today and that ungrateful idiot Lamia went out of her way to tick me off. As usual she was whining away about how guys never pay attention to her. Well I knew the reason for that; if she's always around me then what are the chances that any sane guy will choose her over me? I know the truth hurts and I didn't want to hurt her feelings, so I just gave her a helpful piece of advice, “Maybe a diet would help. You can afford to spare a few pounds you know.”

Her reaction was totally uncalled for. She went red and then exploded. I swear that's what it was like. “I have had it with you! You are always passing these mean comments and treating me like I'm some kind of sorry dimwit. You think like you are so on top of the world. You can't even see who your real friends are! Well I sure am not one of them, at least not anymore….” And then she ran off in tears. And people call me a drama queen! Anyway she didn't even do it right. She just made a fool of herself in front of everyone. Most people were just rolling their eyes at this very desperate call for attention, but that dense Sadia bought the whole feel-sorry-for-me act and actually went after Lamia. I couldn't help but snort at the scene.

Well I hope that I don't have to deal with her anymore, because believe me its like handling an exceptionally dull five-year-old. I still wouldn't mind doing it; after all we should all help the unfortunate, only if she displayed an iota of gratefulness! I give her a helpful piece of advice and she just shoots out on me and creates this whole scene, like she has always been the thinnest person around, and I had no grounds for making that comment. In this day and time you really shouldn't try to help out people; since gratitude is a concept that has long become an extinct.

Anyway, the Lamia chapter is now officially closed; I just hope she doesn't come crawling back with an apology, expecting me to take her in with arms wide open, like all the other times.

Other than this little episode the week went pretty smoothly. I got some really chic outfits and since Lamia wasn't there with me, her bad taste didn't get into my clothes. Well life will surely be much better now that she's not around to tag along. Phone call! I think its Saquib. I'm off…

By Midnight Maiden

Fright Night @ ISD

The International School Dhaka (ISD) staged their secondary school musical 'Dracula Spectacula' at their auditorium on Wednesday, May 31 and Thursday, June 1, 2006.

The production, based on the book by John Gardiner, who also wrote the lyrics, was produced by Julie Lindsay and directed by Liz Carrick and Janet Aston, while Brandon McGibbon was the music director. The story is a twist on the traditional Dracula story: the harebrained beauty, Nadia Naïve takes her class on a study tour to Trannsylvania where they meet and befriend the locals, including innkeepers Hansel and Gretel, and their friends Dr Nick Necrophiliac and Father O'Stake. While romance blossoms between Nadiya and Dr. Nick, there is evil underfoot as the irrepressible Count Dracula, his melodramatic mother Countess Wraith and grovelling servant Genghis are plotting a reign of evil. It's the time-honoured battle for supremacy between good and evil, with a surprise twist at the very end.

The lights, music and stage design worked together to create the perfect ambience for the play, and no less credit goes to the young actors who put forward a brilliant performance. Shaveena made a very convincing Nadia, Shabbir's Dr Nick was the last word in romantic heroism, and Jean-Francois as Genghis, Zamil as Hans, and Tawquir as Elvis all elicited a lot of laughter from the crowds, and Tahmid brought the house down with his rendition of the title role. Not to be ignored are the other minor characters in the play; each individual performance was noteworthy, and contributed to making it a memorable show overall. For the two nights that the show was staged, the cast and crew really made Dracula look Spectacula.

By Sabrina F Ahmad

Hidden from the eyes of the beholder

Couldn't figure the title out? Don't worry- it's encrypted! And it is up to you to find out what it means… but before we get to that, letme tell you something about Dan Brown's book the Da Vinci Code. It can certainly get you interested in cryptography…

This, Brown's latest novel, is about the famous Renaissance artist Leonardo Da Vinci and the oblique references to the occult secrets contained in his equally famous paintings.

Brown suggests that the facts, documents and figures are true, and although I am in no position to debate for or against it, I can tell you one thing for sure- the most exciting aspect of the book are the coded messages! They appear frequently throughout the book accompanied by suggestions that the genius artist's work including The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper contain hidden messages. Some suggest that Mona Lisa is a picture of Da Vinci himself (only given more feminine attributes!), while others say that Mona's mysterious smile suggests a deeper darker secret of religion that she knows.

The encoding of messages to render them unreadable by anyone other than their intended recipient is centuries old. The "Caesar Cipher" used by Julius Caesar, the hieroglyphs carved into monuments from Egypt's Old Kingdom, are all examples of secret messages. Whether the cryptic hieroglyphs were used to tell the direction and location of the secret doorway to the pyramid or just acted as a mysterious 'art' form for educated onlookers, is still a mystery.

Ages ago, Hebrew scholars also made use of simple substitution ciphers (such as the Atbash cipher). The concept is really simple. If you write down all the alphabets A-Z, and underneath each of the alphabets, write another set of alphabet haphazardly, you can then encode a message using the newly written alphabet positions easily.

Perhaps the most famous encoded message is the 'Number of the Beast' or as well known in Bangladesh-'666' (which may have been a motivated name for the ex-Bangladeshi-band 666?). Researchers say the number is the most effective way of concealing a dangerous reference; many scholars believe it's a concealed reference to Roman policies of persecution of Christians, that would have been understood by the initiated (i.e. who 'had the codebook'), but still be safe if it came to the attention of the authorities.

It is simply amazing how far people would go to keep a secret! Would you believe that just to conceal messages, people once tattooed their shaved heads, re-grew the hair and transferred messages across continents?

Unlike the classical written cryptography, modern cryptography involves computers, programmers and code-breakers. Encrypted messages have been used in World War II through the Germans' Enigma machine, developed by Arthur Scherbius, and the Japanese Purple Machine, developed using techniques first discovered by Herbert O. Yardley.

Nowadays however, codes are more often used to protect data and messages rather than transfer secret messages. The rise in hackers or code-breakers initiated this era of protecting data! There are numerous organizations in the US like EEF, whose only job is to protect the personal details of people. But, with all the technology excelling at such a fast rate, it becomes harder to ensure civil security. As one lady put it, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes," a Latin phrase meaning “Who will guard the guards?"

It may not be long before even I start encrypting my diary so that my mom/ brother can't take a peek into it. The decryption will be well hidden underneath the teddy I have in my room. But before I end, here is something for you to decipher- thsi irgl si nisaen!

The letters are jumbled up. Enjoy cursing me at critico.nino@gmail.com!

By Shamma M. Raghib


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