Open Heritage Week 2019 underway in city
The European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) has partnered Alliance Française de Dhaka, British Council Bangladesh, Goethe-Institut Bangladesh, EU Delegation, Embassy of Spain, Dhaka South City Corporation, Bulbul Academy of Fine Arts and Institute of Architects Bangladesh to celebrate Open Heritage Week 2019. The event started on December 6 and will continue till December 15 at various locations of the capital. With old Dhaka as the central theme, the ongoing event comprises of performance arts, exhibitions, workshops, lectures and visiting vintage architectural sites.
The inaugural ceremony took place at three venues in old Dhaka- Lalkuthi, Beauty Boarding and Bulbul Academy of Fine Arts. Mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mohammad Sayeed Khokon declared the opening of 'Open Heritage Week 2019' with his inaugural speech. British High Commissioner of Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson, German Ambassador of Bangladesh Peter Fahrenholtz, French Ambassador of Bangladesh Jean-Marin SCHUH, Spanish Ambassador of Bangladesh Álvaro de Salas and present Ambassador of the European Union of Bangladesh Rensje Teerink, graced the event with their presence. Andrew Newton, deputy director of British Council; Olivier Dintinger, director of Alliance Française de Dhaka and Kirsten Hackenbroch, director of Goethe-Institut Bangladesh were also present at the inaugural ceremony.
The international cultural exchange centres have come together to celebrate this event with the aim to bring government and non-government organisations together to create a preserved and accessible cultural heritage. EUNIC observes that a number of national monuments of Bangladesh are well-preserved as cultural heritages and are accessible to the public. But some heritage sites often go disregarded and are under continuous threat of disappearance in exchange for creating real-estate values. EUNIC wants to create awareness and re-imagine the city for the next generations of Bangladesh.
Dr. Kirsten Hackenbroch said, "We see the Open Heritage Week 2019 as a beginning. We look forward to work with both government and non-government institutions and landowners to make accessible heritage sites commonly not open to the public on an annual basis. This offers a chance for the local community to connect to the memories inscribed into the neighbourhood spaces and invites other dwellers of Dhaka to engage with the cultural, environmental and built heritage of the city. An annual Open Heritage Week can offer a discursive space to develop, contrast and communicate visions and concepts for Dhaka - rooted in a sense of place that engages with its rich cultural and architectural heritage."
Andrew Newton said, "Heritage cannot remain behind closed door. It should be open for everyone to discover."
Later on, 'Recalling', an exhibition by nine artists, was being showcased at various locations of old town. Another group art exhibition entitled 'Tales of the Old Dhaka' will be exhibited by Joloj Artist Group at the Alliance Française de Dhaka from December 10 to December 15. Alongside these, the British Council has arranged a lecture that will shed light on old Dhaka's rich cultural heritage that reflects and shapes social, religious, cultural, political and economic milieu of Dhaka City. The lecture is scheduled to be held on December 9 at 05:30 pm. The event will be concluded with a Qawwali performance at BAFA on December 15.