The exhibition 'Witnessing History in the Making: Photographs by Anne de Henning' - produced by Samdani Art Foundation and Centre for Research and Information - is travelling to Guimet Museum of Asian Art in Paris.

The exhibition will be held from October 19, 2022 to January 23, 2023 in partnership with Asia Now Paris Art Fair and Guimet Museum of Asian Art, according to a press release.

The first iteration of the exhibition was held in Dhaka from December 10, 2021 to March 31, 2022 to celebrate 50 years of Bangladesh's independence.

The exhibition will present rare, never before seen images by French photographer Anne de Henning, curated by Ruxmini Reckvana Q Choudhury.

Between 1971 and 1972 the photojournalist captured the birth of the nation and her remarkable private archive of unseen photographs is a unique record of the pivotal years which saw East Pakistan transform into Bangladesh.

A Bangladeshi flag gifted by freedom fighters to Anne de Henning in 1971 will also be displayed at the exhibition.

The earliest set of photographs from 1971 cover Anne's first visit to the country at the age of 25. At that time, in the early days of conflict in April, the Pakistani authorities in Dhaka were not letting foreign journalists into the country.

This was obviously to keep them from reporting on the atrocities they were perpetrating on the civilian population after having launched Operation Searchlight on March 26, 1971.

Travelling through the country during the Liberation War, her photographs captured life in the war zone - from freedom fighters to men, women and children boarding refugee trains and fleeing from their villages.

In her powerful images the humanity of her subjects is combined with the grit of traditional photojournalism.

Taken on her second visit to the country, Anne's photographs from 1972 feature Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who, all his life, worked to decolonise the nation away from the rules of British and Pakistan towards democracy and freedom.

Anne captured Bangabandhu giving a speech at the first Council Meeting of Awami League after the independence of Bangladesh. 'I came specifically from Calcutta to photograph the event,' she said. Although at the time Anne favoured shooting in black and white, she chose to capture this event in colour because of the vibrant blue, white and red stripes of the shamiyana - ceremonial tent -that housed the event.

Images of Bangabandhu were systematically destroyed after the coup of 1975 and her surviving colour photographs are among the few ones known to still exist.

In addition to images of Anne's travels throughout Bangladesh, the exhibition brings together other works from her archive including photographs taken in India and her coverage of the Vietnam War.

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts