Bangladeshi, Indian artists focus on Dhaka’s street culture

November 13th, 2008 - 2:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Nov 13 (IANS) Artists and photographers from Bangladesh and India have teamed up to focus on what they call “Jhaal Muri Dhaka street culture”, capturing the national capital’s life on the streets. Made with puffed rice and a variety of spicy snacks mixed in mustard oil, “jhaal muri” is the quintessential Bengali street food.

The concept was named “jhaal muri” to cover a wide mix of places and people as seen on Dhaka streets, The Daily Star said Thursday.

Paintings by Rokeya Sultana, Smita Srivastava, Ujwala Prabhu, Kuhu Plamondon and photographs by Anil Advani went into the making of this unique collage.

Advani floated the idea of the “So Fo Bo Mo” (Solo Photo Book Month) project with six artists, compiled in a month. Rokeya suggested using photos as a reference from which to paint, the results being revealed only at the very end.

“The idea was to choose photos and create a corresponding painting. Our interpretation and fantasy were transposed into the painting, while retaining the essence of the photo,” Sultana said.

This hybrid photo/painting exhibition is the first of its kind in Bangladesh, not least as it combined Bangladeshi and Indian artists in a unique format.

Choosing street culture as the central theme, the artists wished to promote the positive side of Bangladesh. Scouring Dhaka for photo opportunities, from Katabon to Sadarghat, Taanti Bazaar to Ashulia, the pictures were a joint effort. Very aptly named after the quintessential Bengali street food, “jhaal muri”, a concoction of unlikely ingredients, with a deliciously explosive taste, the artists hoped to achieve a “mix (of personalities resulting in pictures) that would taste nice”.

A sequel to “jhaal muri” is being planned, Sultana said.

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