Asia's largest photography festival Chobi Mela will launch its eighth edition in January 2015. Chobi Mela International Festival of Photography is put together biannually by Drik Picture Library Ltd. and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute. The festival will be inaugurated on January 23 and run till February 5, 2015. The theme for Chobi Mela VIII is "Intimacy" and has work by more than 30 artists from across 22 countries.
This year, Chobi Mela will bring big names like Magnum Photographer Larry Towell, New York Times Lens Blog Editor James Estrin, Bangladeshi legendary photographer Anwar Hossain, World Press Photo winner Denis Dailleux and Spanish model-turned-photographer Cristina Nunez. These prominent guests will also be part of artist talks, portfolio reviews and workshops. "It is time Bangladesh began to take pride in itself. We are now a role model in the world of photography. The world is looking up at Bangladesh. The nation needs to respond," said Shahidul Alam, the festival director, as he highlighted the new features of juxtaposing young and recognised artists along with alternative curatorial practices previously unseen in Bangladesh. On the occasion of the festival, a press conference was held yesterday at Drik Gallery, Dhanmondi in the city.
The festival will be curated by Munem Wasif, ASM Rezaur Rahman and Tanzim Wahab. ASM Rezaur Rahman shared detailed programme of the festival. "The festival provides an opportunity not only to enjoy the outstanding work of national and international photographers but also raises important social issues critical to our existence", he added. Tanzim Wahab said, "We have some surprises waiting for the audience of Chobi Mela. We are experimenting with locations by taking exhibitions to alternative places like a half-abandoned theater or library of Old Dhaka to create a dialogue between the city and photography. Wide diversity of photographic genre is also a special inclusion of the festival."
Swapan Parekh, the World Press Photo juror and introducer of documentary aesthetics in Indian advertising photography will hold the workshop "Shaping a Vision" where young photographers will discover their photographic visions. Teun van der Heijden of Heijdens Karwei will come to Bangladesh for the first time ever to hold a book-making workshop called "The Photobook: Going Beyond the Form.' Altogether more than 10 workshops on different topics have been arranged for photo practitioners. Ensuring the general public's access is an important part of the festival. Admission for the festival is free. Mobile exhibitions on rickshaw vans have become a trademark of the festival. They will ply over Dhaka city and take the exhibitions from door to door. Special openings, morning and evening presentations will be streaming live on net.