The 1st Dhaka Live Art Biennale organised by Back ART, an artists’ run collective practicising and promoting contemporary art in Bangladesh, kicked off yesterday at four different locations on the Dhaka University campus. The first international performance based exhibition in Bangladesh, day one of the three-day exhibition featured performance art by artists from Portugal, Indonesia and Bangladesh.
Diniz Sanchez, an artist from Portugal, featured the struggle and social oppression faced by a widow. His works explored gender, sexuality and most importantly individuality, with symbolic aspects.
Bangladeshi artist Joydeb Roaja focused on the CHT Peace Accord and land disputes as his main theme, combining the feel of soil from his village with the human touch to communicate his own emotions.
Considering performance to be an extremely personal phenomena, Nazia Andaleeb Preema of Bangladesh expressed her feelings of unfulfilled motherhood through her performance ‘fetus’, along with a sculpture of an unborn five month fetus, created by her.
“Not having a child at the age of 41 feels very strange, I often think I might not be able to be a mother in my life,” she said. Sometimes on the verge of loneliness, she walks around at home with the fetus, thus infusing it with warmth and motherliness, simply by her touch.
In his work Rokkho Juhasz, an artist from the Slovak Republic, aspired to add those elements that express a lot about our country. Out of this motivation, he included rickshaws and their drivers, as well as a few local people as passengers. But, the unusual aspect he brought was exchanging the responsibility.
Over a span of twenty years with art, Kamruzzaman Shadhin has worked upon a lot of themes; however, for this live performance he chose Sundarban and the Royal Bengal Tiger. Using the roaring of tigers, Shadhin wanted to portray the power of the creatures who have been taking care of the forest for hundreds of years. He said, “being sensitive about recent issues regarding Sundarban with the assistance of any medium, and expressing those feelings, is my way of showing support to its long-lived survival without any destruction.”
Possibly one of the youngest artists at the Biennale, Kelvin Atmadibrata from Indonesia mostly does performances using installations like sculptures or paintings, and he also loves to include human beings in his performance. His work explored power structures as a subtle response to religious conflict occurring around the world.
There were also performances by Emran Sohel, Abs Xem, Prachyanat, Farzana and Sadia. Prachaynat is also providing technical support for the Biennial.