A 12-day solo photography exhibition of Shibly Shiraj titled ‘American Landscape’ hosted by Edward M Kennedy (EMK) Center for Public Service and the Arts kicked off in the city on Saturday. The exhibition which features 43 captivating photographs will remain open from 10 am to 8 pm every day till December 20.
Chairman of United News of Bangladesh (UNB) Amanullah Khan inaugurated the exhibition in an event held at the EMK Center where eminent academician and former University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Prof Nazrul Islam was present as the chief guest.
A traveller, entrepreneur and part-time photographer, Shibly Shiraj captured in his camera a wide variety of images of the natural terrains dotted across the United States of America which include glimpses of vast prairies, stretching fields, mountains, windswept valleys, canyons, lakes, barren deserts and more.
Amanullah Khan who is also a patron of art in his inaugural address said, “Ever since the invention of photography in the early 19th century, the medium has influenced the way the world is viewed and provided a testimony of human history as it unfolded down the ages to the modern day highlighting the saga of daily life.” He emphasised photographers can play a vital role in society by representing social movements and acting as a motivating force behind social change.
Tracing the transformation of Shibly from an amateur to a passionate and professional photographer, Khan commented, “Shibly’s mantra has been to travel and take photos as he sets out on an odyssey to explore some of the world’s greatest natural wonders in order to share them with the audience. By all standards each of his exhibits richly deserves the tag of fine specimen of photographic art.” A distinguishing feature of these priceless pictures is that they resonate and communicate with the viewers as they feel to be an inseparable part of the landscapes, he added.
Paying tributes to the accomplished photographer, the UNB chief said in these pieces of art he has been able to recreate the pristine glory of nature that must be preserved at all costs for the posterity not only to enjoy and feast their eyes on but also to ensure their survival and sustenance. “Art watchers would no doubt admire and marvel at the master’s photography focused on nature that take them back to their roots exalting them to a new level of ecstasy, consciousness, self-discovery and spiritual regeneration,” the inaugurator observed.
Khan warned that at a time when the world is facing the worst environmental disaster in its history, there is no option other than to conserve nature’s wonders, resources and assets consisting of forests, trees, plants, rivers, water bodies, etc. that are lungs and arteries of the world and to drastically control carbon emissions for saving the planet earth from extinction. “This is the underlying message that is ringing out loud and clear from Shibly’s masterpiece photographs,” he asserted.
Amanullah Khan concluded, “This flagship exhibition is also a vindication of the fact that the language of art is universal that transcends national boundaries. Art and culture are going global as part of the irresistible process of globalisation that includes art market in which Bangladesh is a lead player and mover. Global art is contributing to the growth of cross-cultural relations that would help foster international peace and security.”
Prof Nazrul Islam said through his masterful photography Shibly took the audience to a short trip amidst the beauty of American nature. He also mourned the death of noted photographer Anwar Hossain. Concluding his speech, Prof Nazrul Islam said Shibly’s work will inspire the new-comers to join the profession of photography.
Shibly Shiraj, primarily an avid traveler, mentioned that photography is part of his hobby and he is delighted that EMK Center is showcasing his works. He expressed the hope that the young generation who are planning to visit the USA, will gain from the exhibition a preview of what they are about to experience once they arrive there.
Starting his career as an entrepreneur, Shibly lived in the USA for 25 years where he developed a passion for photography while he travelled places and began taking photos depicting panoramic landscapes, people, culture and abstracts. Moving back to Bangladesh recently, he has opened a studio at the city’s Banani to pursue his talent in professional photography. Shibly Shiraj is a member of Northern Virginia Professional Photographers Association (NVPPA) and attained the prestigious ‘Master Photographer’ award on several occasions.