BSA inaugurates month-long art exhibition reflecting COVID-19 and its impacts

The ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19 has certainly halted or delayed major festivities around the world in the year of 2020, and exhibitions became a major victim of the pandemic havoc due to the lockdown and social gathering restrictions. The good news is that slowly but surely, the world is getting started to welcome the audiences again through adopting necessary safety measures, and Bangladesh is also not taking a backseat in this procession. Introducing a different kind of art-event titled 'Arts Against Corona', Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) is hosting a month-long exhibition that was inaugurated on Tuesday, shading the spotlight on the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19 and its impacts on the world.

The unique exhibition was inaugurated by Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen as its chief guest. State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid also joined the event as the special guest alongside secretary to the Ministry Md Badrul Arefin and noted artist Jamal Ahmed.

"We have achieved worldwide appraisal and respect as a nation which always fought back against every unimaginable circumstance - a fact, that has been again proved through this exhibition. All these mesmerizing artworks showcase the talent and willpower of our noted and emerging artists who never stopped creating their crafts, even during this challenging and unprecedented time - which is incredible to think about", FM Dr AK Abdul Momen said at the inauguration ceremony.

Describing the steps that the government has taken since the emergence of the pandemic and how Bangladesh has become an example to the world fighting the havocs of COVID-19, FM Dr AK Abdul Momen explained, "During this worldwide pandemic, Bangladesh has achieved the highest economic growth among all the countries in Asia. When the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) assumed that no country would be able to achieve the gross GDP growth more than 1.38 per cent to 3.38 per cent, Bangladesh marked the gross GDP with 5.2 per cent which is an incredible achievement. Also, we have successfully retrieved 40 per cent of the cancelled order of readymade garments from different countries. All these achievements and this exhibition as well which is portraying the hard times we have passed together and still going through again speaks for the fact that we are indeed a nation of warriors who knows how to make a comeback from unprecedented circumstances".

"At the beginning stage of the global lockdown period, we requested several countries to help Bangladeshi immigrants with adequate foods and medicines and they fulfilled our requests. We also sent monetary funds to the Bangladeshi missions in various countries to help the Bangladeshi immigrants. Also, we ensured that their families in Bangladesh get proper assistance from the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief", he added.

Demonstrating the strength Bangladesh has been achieving as a fighting nation, the FM said, "Our honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been monitoring the pandemic situation very wisely since its emergence and consistently taking major and crucial steps for the sake of our economy and people. She communicated with several global leaders in power around the world and ensured that the supply chain moves on, which has brought an exemplary good result for our economy. Right now, Bangladesh is exporting readymade garments worth over 3 billion dollars per month."

"Although we are doing our best and achieving satisfactory results in almost every category, we must remember that the pandemic is not over. To prevent the second wave and continue the success we have been achieving, we need to follow adequate health safety guidelines - whether being on the road or at this tremendous exhibition", the Minister requested everyone not to ignore the ongoing pandemic through abandoning safety measures.

Praising the artists and Shilpakala's constant activities during the lockdown and recent times after its reopening, State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid said, "Ever since the beginning of the lockdown, artists around the world had to deal with uncertainties as all the major festivities had to be halted. In our country, we took this unprecedented situation as a challenge and assisted our talented and skilled artists as much we can - and this exhibition is one of the finest outcomes of that challenge. This is really an incredibly unique exhibition specifically focusing on the ongoing pandemic and its impacts, and such kind of artistic venture has not been seen in any other country during this ongoing COVID-19 period. Our heartiest gratitude to all the performing artists and BSA for arranging this special exhibition".

Presiding over the inaugural ceremony, BSA director-general Liaquat Ali Lucky thanked all the artists-mentors and associates involved behind the exhibition. He said, "Under the exemplary leadership of our honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the constant assistance from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy has been relentlessly organizing virtual events since the beginning of lockdown showcasing entertaining presentation of our national and international artists around the world and aiding all artists accordingly. We have arranged the art camp under the same title to this exhibition with 325 artists at the National Art Gallery back in July, and promised that we will host this exhibition with all those tremendous artworks after reopening the gallery. Today we are proudly inaugurating the exhibition for our audiences and we are thankful to all the artists, mentors and the honourable guests who made this arrangement possible".

Secretary to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs Md Badrul Arefin and noted artist Jamal Ahmed also spoke at the inaugural ceremony. Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy performers then displayed enthralling cultural performances featuring recitation from renowned artists, group songs and group dance. Three special performance arts were also showcased at the National Art Gallery.

A total of 325 artworks in this exhibition are being put on display at BSA's Gallery 1 and 2 at the National Art Gallery. The selected artworks were crafted back in July at BSA's same-titled special art camp. Several noted and young Bangladeshi artists joined this special art camp at the National Art Gallery from July 7 to July 20. Sultana Mimi, one of the participating artists in this special art camp and the exhibition, talked to Dhaka Courier thanking BSA for the opportunity in this difficult period - "Exhibitions are something that we, the artists always wait for but the pandemic surely put severe obligations to the exhibitions around the world. Not only BSA arranged the art camp by providing all the necessary equipment and honorarium to the artists, but it is also now showcasing our artworks to the audiences through this magnificent exhibition - and we are really thankful for this wonderful gesture from the organization during this unprecedented period".

The month-long ceremony is open for all till November 26 from 11 am to 6 pm. Visitors are requested to wear masks and follow health guidelines while visiting the exhibition.

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