Bangladesh Slideshow

05 April, 2008

Countdown to Pahela Boishakh

The Bengali New Year is less than two weeks away. It is the country’s biggest cultural festival, the day we shed garbs of caste and creed and unite as Bengalis.

Preparations for celebrating the day in true Bengali style, with riotous color, melodious songs and mouthwatering food - are underway. The most colorful parade of the day is brought out in Dhaka by the students and faculty of the Institute of Fine Arts. Funds for this flamboyant event are raised from the beginning of April through the sale of various art-work, most notably clay pot paintings and watercolors.
Keen to contribute to this noble venture, I visited Charukala (as the Institute is known locally) this afternoon. I was immediately mesmerized by the colors and motifs. The dedication with which the artists worked was a sight to behold. Pot after pot was painted in front of my very eyes and hung on the display wall. There were so many paintings on virtually every subject - boats, rural scenes, people, flowers, storms, birds… you name it, they had it..well, almost. They did not have dogs! The prices were very reasonable too, ranging from Tk. 200 - 1200 for paintings and from Tk. 150 - 500 for clay pots. I was so very tempted to buy, buy, buy… but in the end restrained myself and came away with only two clay pot paintings. But my heart I left on the Charukala porch, amidst the art and the artists.

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