Goethe-Institut celebrating 60 years in Bangladesh

2021-10-23, 9:33pm Art & culture

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Goethe-Institut celebrates 60 years in Bangladesh.

The Goethe-Institut Bangladesh is celebrating its 60 years in Dhaka with a unique project, highlighting cultural projects from across the country with the signature name Goethe Pop Up.

“The cultural relationship between Bangladesh and Germany has spanned across various subjects including art and education and included themes such as sustainability and technology. While the Goethe-Institut has been located in Dhaka since 1961, linking up with art initiatives both in and beyond the capital is of utter importance for the Goethe-Institut’s network across South Asia.” states Dr Kirsten Hackenbroch, Director of the Goethe-Institut Bangladesh.

“To celebrate our 60 years in Dhaka, we called for proposals for Goethe Pop Up ideas from curators, academics, and specialists from all across Bangladesh.”

Goethe Pop Up is conceived as a vessel for hybrid, ambitious projects that speak across and between frameworks, both conceptual, as well as physical. It develops new ideas that resonate with local audiences as well as the Goethe-Institut's objectives to strengthen existing cultural relations and to foster new and meaningful ways of cross-national exchanges with the purpose of reflecting on and producing knowledge. 

“From numerous high-quality concepts, reflecting the diversity of expressions and representing the variety of unique approaches, the Goethe-Institut selected eight curatorial partnerships or artist collectives to integrate into an ecosystem of multiple Goethe Pop Ups across Bangladesh, celebrating our anniversary this late autumn.” shares Dr. Hackenbroch who has a long history with Bangladesh. Before she joined the Goethe-Institut Bangladesh as their Director in 2017, the trained urban planner has been travelling to Bangladesh regularly for her doctoral research on public spaces in Dhaka.

The projects, their curators, and locations are ‘Native Roots’ by Asifuzzaman Khan and Younguang Mro in Bandarban, ‘Floating Dream comes Home.’ by Ashfika in Chalan Beel, Singra, Natore, ‘Book Bakery’ by Shohrab Jahan in Chittagong, ‘Bhati-scape’ by Arfun Ahmed in the Bhati region and online, ‘Once there were Rivers’ by Mahenaz Chowdhury and Simone Simonato in Demra and Berlin, ‘5th Hill Film Festival’ by Adit Dewan and the Jum Film Forum in Rangamati, ‘In the Terrains of Fear’ by Ghartera in Dhaka, ‘Sister Library’ by Aqui Thami and HerStory Foundation in Dhaka and online, and ‘Kahichal’ by Ruxmini Reckvana Q Choudhury in Dinajpur,

The Goethe Pop Up Festival kicked off with a group show ‘In the Terrains of Fear’ at Lalmatia, Dhaka in September. "The traditional gallery space often intimidates audiences with its rules that set who the viewer can be or can't be. But we believe that art should be interactive and that it is for everybody," says Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo, one of the curators of Ghartera.

From 24-29 October 2021, the second Pop Up called KAHICHAL is invited to Dinajpur. Various artists, who are either based, born, or raised in Dinajpur town and artists who discovered the town for the first time, have been collaboratively working together, looking at the architecture, townscape, and the people living at Bahadur Bazar and nearby areas to develop their ideas.

The concept is created by curator, art writer, and researcher Ruxmini Reckvana Q Choudhury, who founded the platform ‘Singularity’ to address social stigma and stereotypical behaviours through art. The local art organization in Dinajpur ‘Gallery Sharang’ is an implementation partner of Kahichal.

Kahichal derives from a Dinajpur dialect and can be interpreted as chaos, uproar, or ruction - but does not carry a negative notion. The people living in this town are Bengalis, Biharis, Marwaris, Paschimas, Polia, Santal, and Orao. “There is a certain harmony that can be seen between them all,” elaborates Ruxmini Choudhury, who is a Dinajpur native. Kahichal will investigate the diversity of the town, focusing on the variety of languages, people, and lifestyles.

From 24-27 October 2021, Kahichal is conducting engagement activities, such as ceramic, painting, printmaking workshops, performances, installations, photo and video documentation at exciting locations, including the METI School with Dipshikha in Rudrapur, Dinajpur Rajbari, Kantojew Temple, Nayabad Mosque, Dinajpur Natya Samity, and Gallery Sharang, Dinajpur.

The Kahichal Festival will take place on 29 October 2021, from 4-8pm at Shilpakala Academy Dinajpur.

“Kahichal will give the opportunity for the people of Dinajpur to look at their own culture through a different lens and for the people from other places to learn about the diversity of Dinajpur town,” says Ruxmini Choudhury.

Artistes are amongst others Md. Rajiuddin Choudhury W, Anisul Haque Rony, Farah Sultana Shama, Fatema Islam Prima, Siddik Ibn Wahid, Emran Sohel, Farzana Ahmed Urmi, and Monon Muntaka.

“Positive and Negative energies both reside within us, it is up to us which one to choose” by Monon Muntaka

“We invite everyone to recognize our milestone by visiting the Goethe Pop Up projects and celebrate with us the many fond memories that our institute has in Bangladesh. We are thankful for our amazing partners, students, team, and the greater community that allowed us to flourish amongst a vibrant Bangladesh! Looking to the future, there are certainly many more wonderful memories to come.” - Goethe-Institut Bangladesh press release.