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A Little Dreamscape

Venue: Gallery Zoom, Alliance Française de Dhaka
From Saturday, 23 January to Friday, 5 February

Each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth, every going to rest and sleep a little death. We sleep, but the loom of life never stops, and the pattern which was weaving when the sun went down is weaving when it comes up in the morning. But if we can't sleep, then we get up and do something instead of lying there worrying, right? It's the worry that gets us, not the lack of sleep. But riding on the wheels of unstoppable society we do not hesitate to take a little nap here and there. You know what they say, No day is so bad it can't be fixed with a nap.

And you can discover this little art of nap at the narrow ally of Gallery Zoom in Alliance Française. Bakin Rabbi is a journalist cum Photographer. This is his 5th solo photo exhibition, and second in Alliance Française de Dhaka. The theme of his 5th exhibition is “Sleeping”. He learnt press photography from an institution of north France Lille. He participated in many photo contests and has been awarded.

It was quite a while I was looking for some spear time to check out this exhibition. There are 30 photographs from four different countries candidly captured by the artist. It is not like the other exhibitions where you have to standing in front of the pictures and think, “Hmmm... now what the hell is it?”

What Mr. Rabbi captured through his picture is weary but unstoppable human beings running the rat race with each other. The massage is plane, simple and amazingly enjoyable. The exhibition started from Saturday, 23 January and it ends at Friday, 5 February. So you have a very little time to capture the glimpse of some fantastic photographs. So jump up and have your sneak peek in to the realm of “Sleeping”.

Hey Ananta Punya!

Very few men have been born whose self alone reveals their identity, whose glory is not reflected glory, who shines in the glory of their own greatness, own truth. He, who sees himself within all and all within himself, does not remain unknown and is revealed in all ages.”

These were Rabindranath Thakur's words on Buddha and while studying the visionary poet we can often find how much Buddha's teachings meant to him. In a world where idealism is often mocked and scorned by the younger generation, such movements are a definite eye-opening place of relief. The poems Abhisar (Love's Sojourn), Nagarlaksmi (City's Maiden of Plenty), Pujarini (Maiden Worshipper), Mastak Vikry (Sale of the Head), Sreshtho Bhiksha (Best Gift of Begging) and Dinadan (Poor Gift) are some of Thakur's poems that are based on Buddhistic episodes.

On the 28th of January, Shadhona, a group working for the advancement of South Asian dance and music performed a dance drama titled “Hey Ananta Punya” at the National Theatre Hall of Shilpakala. The dance drama was an adaptation of Thakur's drama “Notir Puja,” which he had written based on his poem “Pujarini.” In the winter of 1927, a calm cultural revolution was taking place in Thakur's Jorasanko House in Kolkata, which later came to be known as Robindro Nritto Dhara. For the first time in the history of subcontinent, young women from middle class families, all students of Thakur's Vidyalaya in Shantiniketan, were staging a public performance. To shield the young performers from a possible public outrage, the farsighted Tagore included himself in the cast and "Notir Puja" made history in more ways than one. Shadhona's adaptation and performance of “Hey Ananta Punya” is a tribute to the visionary poet who brought back dance to Bengal and also to the teachings of Buddha.

The dance drama was directed by Warda Rihab who is currently a student at the Rabindro Bharati University, Kolkata, and the production employed mostly elegant and expressive Manipuri dance with a touch of vibrant Kathak blended with classical, folk and martial dance forms of eastern India and Bengal. The story is based on the formative years of Buddhism where we find Sreemati, a dancer and a devout Buddhist, in the court of king Ajatashatru, who sacrifices herself at the altar of Buddha. Although his father, Bimbisar, preached Buddhism, lust of power caused Ajatashatru to prohibit on the pain of death any kind of worship except that of the Vedas, the Brahmanas and the king. The court dancer Sreemati abandons her dancing bells and jewellery and resolves to embrace the new faith in the midst of this chaos. Sreemati, against the advice of the Queen and others of the royal family, went to place her offerings in the evening at a Stupa near the palace. As soon as the lamps were lit, the royal sentinels noticed this and they cut her down on the altar. Thakur describes this; “Blood smeared the white stone that day. In the clear autumn night, in the quiet and solitary royal garden, the lights of worship at the foot of the Stupa got extinguished forever.”

The dance was magnificently directed and as you watched the drama unfold you could feel the strong and pure emotions that were poured into Buddhism as well as the inevitable clashes of the two religions. Through the dance, Warda tried to provide an interpretation of the eight fold paths to attain Nirvana and also a picture of the societal condition during those unstable times.

The veteran danseuse and general secretary of Shadhona, Lubna Mariam, performed the role of the Queen, Lokhesvari, with energetic and powerful expressions that definitely was a strong mark in revealing the story to the audience be it confusion, despair or anger, she portrayed it beautifully. The rising Kathak dancer, Tahmina Anwar Anika, performed the role of Princess Ratnavali also with amazing vigour and shrewd expressions and a fast paced integrated Kathak piece that was choreographed by her. The music score was also organized very carefully to go with the dance and credit for music direction goes to Suman Sarkar.

Performed at Bangladesh and India, although at certain points coordination in group dances seemed a bit off for amateur dancers, Warda Rihab's”Hey Ananta Punya” definitely deserves much applause, if not an all out ovation. So hats off to the group and let us hope we get more such amazing productions from Shadhona in the near future!

By Adnan M. S. Fakir



Hard cardboard
Coloured paper of at least two shades

1. Cut out a square piece of cardboard of any desired size.
2. Cover the cardboard piece with one shade of coloured paper on both sides.

3. Cut four strips of another shade of coloured paper of width 3cm, the same length as the cardboard square. Glue these to the sides of the square and smooth out to avoid air bubbles. Leave one side open to allow pictures to slide in.

4. Cut out a small rectangular piece of cardboard and cover this with coloured paper as well. Glue this on the middle of the square piece and test the weight of the square piece on the rectangular piece to see if it stands.

5. You can leave the frame like this, or add embellishments of your choice.

6. Slide in a picture from the side left open.

Your picture frame is complete. You can also tape the rectangular piece on the back of the frame to your door or wall to hang your pictures.

By Tanzia Amreen Haq




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