10.20am 17.12.21 – Please check listings since story was published – the Victory Day Concert has been cancelled because of covid.
As we enter the final week of what has been a year of marking 50 years of Independence…
By Mamie Colfox
MANY arts and culture groups are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh with a range of artistic activities, performances and concerts that showcase a wide array of British Bangladeshi talent.
Several celebrations started at the end of the last week and now continue to Saturday (December 18).
We’ve highlighted a few here.
Artists Ruhul Abdin and Lamya Sadiq to discuss ‘Bangla’
THERE’S a chance to hear more about the art installation ‘Bangla’ – Bangladesh 50 – situated at the Idea Store (the local library) in Whitechapel, East London – from its creators.
Part of the National Portrait Gallery’s Citizen UK initiative (touring artworks while the National Gallery undergoes a major refurbishment), and in conjunction with Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives, on this project, there’s a large artwork sign, depicting the word, ‘Bangla’ in Bengali, suspended over a section of the library. The artwork is covered in sari fabric – still one of the traditional industries of Bangladesh and lit up so it can be viewed at night as well. The design is inspired by the commemorative stamps issued by Bangladesh to mark 50 years. The artwork was created by Ruhul Abdin and his Paraa studio, a collective which has creative centres in both Dhaka and Bow, east London. (You can hear more about the project from Abdin below). He was helped in putting ‘Bangla’ together with volunteer citizen researchers. Abdin will discuss ‘Bangla’ with Lamiya Sadiq, one of the volunteer citizen researchers. ‘Bangla’ will continue to be displayed at the library until January 31.
Listing: Discussion about ‘Bangla’ with Ruhul Abdin and Lamya Sadiq. FREE. Saturday, December 18. 2pm-3.30pm – Idea Store (library) Whitechapel, 321 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1BU. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bangla-a-conversation-with-ruhul-abdin-lamya-sadiq-tickets-214576814027
Marking 50 years with an artistic and culinary flourish – ‘Dawaat’
TARA THEATRE is showcasing British Bangaldeshi creative talent with its ‘Dawaat’ which runs this evening and tomorrow. (December 15 & 16).
Described as an “immersive feast”, it’s a mixture of food, poetry, spoken word, music and food (which is optional). It’s also something of a curtain raiser to new work that will premiere next year. Dawaat also more widely signifies a joyful gathering.
Tara Theatre Artistic Director Abdul Shayek, who has Bangla roots himself, has delved deep to curate work that both looks back and forwards – and there will be a lot of audience engagement with these performances. Expect to hear excerpts from ‘Amma’ a new work by Kamal Kaan and conceived by Shayek and a new project called Artists Make Space – an international collaboration between UK and Bangladesh based artists. More details about ‘Dawaat’ and Artists Make Space is available on the theatre’s website. (See below). The artists performing ‘Dawaat’ include Leesa Gazi, Halema Hussain, Sohini Alam (from the band, Khiyo) and Oliver Weeks. ‘Dawaat’ has already been performed in some other London venues.
Listing: ‘Dawaat’ (from yesterday) Wednesday, December 15-Thursday, December 16. 7.30pm. Tara Theatre, 356 Garratt Lane, Earlsfield, London SW18 4ES. https://taratheatre.com/whats-on/dawaat/https://taratheatre.com/participate/artists-make-space/
Sounds of a young nation in Victory Day concert
A HOST of musical and and dance stars will be performing at the Victory Day concert organised by Tower Hamlets Council for Friday (December 17)..
Among those performing are RnB icon Mumzy Stranger, rapper and songwriter Nish and popular dance troupe Naz and Bollyflex. British Bengali band Khiyo bring their unique blend of jazz, folk, rock and traditional Bengali Baul to an evening for all the family.
There will also be traditional dance from Taal Torongo and a specially commissioned energetic ensemble dance piece by IMD. DJ Osmani Soundz will keep the tunes, old and new, eastern and western and much in between, turning.
Listing: Bangladesh@50 Victory Day Concert – Great Hall, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End, E1 4NS. 6.45pm-10pm.
Art, culture, economy, creativity – Britain and Bangladesh, Then and Now
THERE will be a wide-ranging talk about British Bangladeshi art and culture at Rich Mix, London, tomorrow (December 16).
Called ‘Bangladesh – Then and Now, Challenges and Celebrations’, it brings together some influential voices within the community.
The discussion will cover economics, and how the artistic energy of communities both in the UK and Bangladesh can be better harnessed.
Among those participating are Councillor Syeda Salma Ahmed, the Women’s champion of the London Borough of Redbridge, and host of the panel which comprises Dr Clelia Clini, a a postcolonial commentator based at Loughborough University London; Dr Selim Jahan, economist, teacher and writer; Dr Fatima Rajina, from De Montfort University; and Mahmud Hasan MBE, chief executive of Apasen, a leading social care organisation that works with people with special needs and disabilities. Hasan was a freedom fighter in the 1970s and has been heavily involved in the British Bangladeshi community since the late 1990s, and was awarded an MBE for his work.
The talk brings the curtain down on a week-long series of events which included exhibitions, poetry, cinema, a puppet show and music. https://richmix.org.uk/events/challenges-and-celebrations-panel-discussion/
Lunchtime jazz and spoken word celebration
ZOE RAHMAN and her three-piece her band will be marking the 50th anniversary with a special free lunchtime show that also includes spoken word – at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham on Saturday (December 18).
Organised by South Asian arts and culture organisation Sampad, Rahman recently won the Ivor Novello Impact Award and has won many Jazz accolades in a more than a decade plus music career. She will be with musicians Idris Rahman and Debipriya Sircar. Tamanna Abdul Karim will perform spoken word poetry. The bill is part of Sampad’s Mid-Day Mantra series which will continue in 2022 at the venue.
Listing: ‘Mid-day Mantra, Zoe Rahman Trio, a Bangladesh at 50 Special’ FREE – 1pm, (Birmingham) Symphony Hall (B-Music), Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2EA. https://www.sampad.org.uk/event/mid-day-mantra-zoe-rahman-bangladesh-at-50-special/