In conjunction with the ninth annual Season of Bangla Drama (running 5th November – 27th November) at Brady Arts Centre and Ideas Store, artist-curator Hamja Ahsan has programmed an event and exhibition around Bangladeshi theatre, archives and performance art. The event is part of a larger project called Bangladeshi Critical Curatorial Conversations reflecting on contested post-Liberation histories, nationalism and equivalences across different artistic and social disciplines.
The Bangla Drama season has been running since 2003, presenting classic and contemporary work in East London. This year, also the UNESCO year of Tagore features nine selected works and a seminar by director Mukul Ahmed on mainstreaming Bengali Theatre (Brady Arts Centre, 17th November, 7pm).
Film screening will be followed by artists films around Bangladesh and an introduction to Ahsan’s related art and curatorial practice. Ahsan's exhibition Nation Stage: Bangladeshi Theatre, Archives and Performance Art runs from 11 November - 2 December 2011 at Brady Arts Centre.
Film Synopsis: I Do Form to be Deformed.
Script & Direction: Fauzia Khan
Since its establishment in 1972 Dhaka Theatre had been mostly staging original scripts. Later on, this group took the initiative of reconstructing the national theatre form based on the script of traditional forms and styles and began a long struggle. Keeping in line with this effort Dhaka Theatre has broken out of the theatre style based on European form and proscenium and continues to depict the Bengali life in a narrative, musical epic format. The members of this theatre group vowed to rediscover the tradition of Bangla theatre and the lost link of history. Shimul Yusuf, the main character of this documentary is one of them.
Shimul is an artist-singer, a music director, a dancer, a choreographer, a costume designer. Combining all these she is an actress. Perhaps this is why she has become an ideal inheritance of oriental school of acting. She is conscious of history and tradition while she is modern too. She has applied the technique and philosophy of traditional Bangla acting blending it with modern taste and creativity. Here lies the rationale behind making this film.
English (subtitled), 2007, Bangladesh
Youtube trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKKkiHQvYF4
About the filmmaker Fauzia Khan
Fauzia Khan is an independent filmmaker, writer and director. She has roughly 15 documentary films under her belt, and is one of the founding members and former president of the "Bangladesh Documentary Council" – Bangladesh's only organization working to popularize documentary film appreciation amongst local audiences. Most of her works have focused on various aspects of human rights and womens' lives. Khan has worked for a private TV channel in Bangladesh.
Additionally, Fauzia used to teach theory and techniques of documentary production. In 2007 Bangladesh Mohila Parishad has given her a special award for contribution in documentary making. Fauzia Khan is currently working as coordinator of Resource centre at Dhaka Art Center, Bangladesh. She is based in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
About the Curator:Hamja Ahsan
Hamja Ahsan is a multi-disclipinary artist, writer and curator based in London (UK)/ Dhaka (Bangladesh). Ahsan has exhibited extensively nationally in the UK and Internationally. He has presented projects at Tate Britain, Shiplakala Academy (Bangladesh), the Guild Gallery in New York, Resonance FM and Gwangju Biennale. A significant body of his work is concerned with the contested Post-Liberation histories South Asia, Islamic resistance movements and diaspora politics. He has interest in the space between curatorial practice and fine art practice, the potentiality of DIY curating and rethinking the amateur/professional axis.
Ahsan was recently a commisioned artist for Bangladesh Independence Day concert. His most recent solo exhibition "Nation-Building" was held at Watermans Arts Centre in 2010. In the short future, he will be opening an artists project space in Dhaka.
Ahsan is an alumni of Central Saint Martins (BA Fine Art) and Chelsea College of Art and Design (MA Critical Writing and Curatorial Practice) and Gwangju Biennale International Curators course.
Since 2008, he has been co-director of Other Asias – a transnational family of critical art collectives (www.otherasias.com). He blogs on Bangladeshi art navigations at: banglacurator.tumblr.com