The ninth edition of Chobi Mela – International Festival of Photography in Bangladesh, one of the most prestigious photography festivals in Asia, launches on February 3 and will run until February 16, 2017. The festival is organised biannually by Drik Picture Library Ltd. and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute. Since its inception in 2000, Chobi Mela has become the most significant photography event in Asia.
The Chobi Mela IX is organised under the Transition subject. The festival will feature over 30 exhibitions with work from 27 artists spanning 16 countries accompanied by workshops, portfolio reviews and artist talks. The list of exhibited photographers includes Kanu Gandhi, Stanley Greene, Nasir Ali Mamun, Naeem Mohaiemen, Pushpamala N., Igor Pisuk (DEBUTS 2014), Robert Zhao Renhui (doc! #26) and Donald Webber, among others.
Chobi Mela IX also commissions ten Bangladeshi artists as Chobi Mela Fellows to produce site-specific artwork for the festival. To investigate the theme Transition, artists from different backgrounds of painting, drawing, animation, sculpture, photography, video, sound and installation will stretch the medium physically and conceptually. Through this novel initiative, Chobi Mela aims to support new media artists of Bangladesh to develop independent projects with freedom rarely provided in formal art events.
Chobi Mela IX continues its tradition of recognising individuals who have dedicated their lives to the growth of Bangladeshi photography. We are honoured to announce that the Chobi Mela IX Lifetime Achievement Award will go to Nasir Ali Mamun and Sayeeda Khanom. Nasir Ali Mamun’s passion for portraiture gave us engaging, thought-provoking images of writers, poets, musicians, and artists, and Sayeeda Khanom continues to be a torch bearer for women in the field of photojournalism, which men have long tried to monopolise.
Ensuring access for the general public, which has always been an important part of the festival, mobile exhibitions on ricksha vans (a trademark of the festival) will travel all over Dhaka city including remote locations. The festival is free and open to the public.
More info @ www.chobimela.org
Apaches with faces always black from dust and dirt, digging deeply underground zaboykas - an underground tangle of corridors with walls full of shining coal. Magdalena Borowiec (doc! #31; DEBUTS 2014) goes down with Apaches. She shoots the toil of their work, saying that the hell may look like their shifts – wet, hot and claustrophobic, and on the surface tiny people working on the frost air just like in the paintings by Bruegel. After the collapse of the Soviet Union most of operating coal mines were closed down in Kyrgyzstan. People massively left the country for work in Russia; those who stayed in Kyrgyzstan had to start extract coal on their own. Magdalena’s photographs show not only their hard and dangerous work. Her pictures also show strange landscapes, sometimes apocalyptic, sometimes gentle and quiet.
Beata Lejman, an art historian from the National Museum in Wrocław (Poland) aptly described Magdalena’s works: “It is into a void of silence that I am drawn when contemplating the photographs of Magdalena Borowiec (in particular, her work in black and white). I emerge into space, boundless landscapes, maps of dust and shale inhabited by the nearly traceless individuals whose physical exteriors and mental interiors we pass through within these compositions. Borowiec’s human subjects – captured in either intimate close-up or at something of a symbolic distance – appear to transcend time and place, although they are firmly rooted to both within her frame. (Unlike the rest of us: unstoppable, unframeable, worn down to shadows.) Here we find ourselves in the presence of presence itself: a young woman in the moments before a meal, embodying quietude, enveloped in grace, head tilted downward in prayerful repose. Attuned to the unheard, Borowiec records the eloquence of the unsaid in a simple room devoid of clutter and excess. A room in which there is little to begin with and still less that could possibly be discarded, for as in a still life painting’s overlapping of the noticed and the unnoticed, each present object attests to its own relevance and therefore essentiality. In Magdalena Borowiec’s photographic still-lives, rumpled secondhand blankets, mattresses, jackets, and prayer rugs attain a preciousness established not by the appraiser but through legitimate and repeated use; and each single crumb of bread upon a tablecloth, or puddle of grease slicked across the surface of a bowl of soup, is deemed worthy of the camera’s (literal) focus and the photographer’s curiosity. As we approach the end we sense a beginning. Clamour ceases and gives way to a supreme silence. Landscapes are pared down to the primeval and human interiors emptied of their material superfluity. A pure spareness is all that remains, elemental in its simplicity. We long for it like we long for wealth, but in so doing risk its eluding us, for it is only from the hands of poverty that it may be shared.”
The exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
Krzysztof Sienkiewicz – laureate of DEBUTS (edition 2014) – will present his photographs of the Nocturnes series at the exhibition in the Towarzyska Café in Warsaw! The second individual exhibition of Krzysztof Sienkiewicz (doc! #31) consists of photographs taken between 2010 and 2014. All pictures result from Krzysztof’s interest in the city as a trace left after the human‘s presence and activity:
“I get in the car and dive into a thick night. Sometimes I know the place where I am going to, but mostly everything happens by chance. And the journey itself, which I rarely plan, and this what I finally find. Because these images are my finds. They are places, scenes, that I encountered at night, lured, like a moth, by the light beating from them. I think it was never about anything more than just the loneliness and this strange silence always disturbed by tiny sounds of the metropolis.”
Krzysztof Sienkiewicz (b. 1991) | based in Warsaw (Poland) | autodidact photographer | student of the University of Warsaw’s Faculty of Economic Sciences and Opava School of Photography | graduate of the 5th edition of the Snapshots project organised by the Association of Creative Initiatives “ę” (2012) | interested in the city as a trace left after the human‘s presence and activity | editing a section devoted to Polish photography on urbanica.com.
Krzysztof Sienkiewicz – NOCTURNES
Towarzyska Café (49 Zwyciezcow St., Warsaw, Poland). The opening: July 28 at 7:00 PM. The exhibition will be open to the public until August 24, 2015.
„The watching are these who create the image.”
The Thanksgiving series by Natalia Wiernik is an attempt to summarise considerations on how we see, perceive, what happens when we are trying to remember something, design, make a specific image (view an event) come into view. Then we often tend to fall into mythologizing: the past is easily glorified, and the process of memorising is extremely subjective. Certain images-memories, which we try to materialise after some time, take on archetypal characteristics.
„In my work I would like to merge the role of subject selection, opening on the case, recording through the camera and techniques. A long-term and multi-step process of creating the image, filled with searching for the presence, tangibility, physicality, multidimensionality is the key” - says Natalia Wiernik.
This search is a kind of specific crystallisation, which results in a work that is on the border of photography, graphics and painting, being the effect of various experiments and research, the image located somewhere in-between of these worlds.
Natalia Wiernik (b. 1989) | based In Cracow (Poland) | winner of the first edition of DEBUTS, which aims to promote the most talented emerging Polish photographers | graduate of the Cracow’s Academy of Fine Arts | a PhD student at the same academy (since 2013) | double scholar of the Ministry of Science an Higher Education (2013 and 2015) | beneficiary of Young Poland Scholarship for the achievements in the field of visual arts | her works get recognition all over the world, frequently awarded in international festivals: New York Photography Awards, Sony World Photography Awards, PDN Photo Annual, International Photography Awards and many others | collaborator of the International Cultural Centre in Cracow (since 2012).
Natalia Wiernik – THANKSGIVING
Pusta Gallery (2 Sejm Slaski Sq., Katowice, Poland) Grand opening: June 26 at 6:00 PM. The exhibition will be open to the public until August 30, 2015.
The exhibition is organised under contra doc! patronage.