Accepted paper:

Art of Bangladesh: the changing role of tradition, search for identity and globalization.


Lala Rukh Selim (University of Dhaka)

Paper short abstract:

This paper places globalization within a continuum of historical influences that have created particular hybrid artistic forms in Bangladesh. Artistic ideals are contrasted with popular and folk art to draw out an aesthetic ideal that defies globalization and the image of Bangladesh as a country of wants.

Paper long abstract:

This paper will address the issue of Bangladeshi cultural identity as it is reflected in the fine art of Bangladesh. It will study the historical context within which hybrid artistic manifestations have evolved and the influences that have formed them with the multiple cultures that have infiltrated this land. It will study the politics of identity and the resulting changes in artistic forms during the struggle for independence from Britain and the liberation of Bangladesh from Pakistan. It will focus on the artistic practices in post liberation Bangladesh and the current scene in particular under the looming shadow of globalization which insidiously encourages uniform artistic form and medium and the ways in which individuals and communities strive to balance the global with the individual and local. It will also sift through popular and folk art forms which seem to defy globalization and the image of Bangladesh as a land of grim poverty, natural disasters and imminent Islamization. These creations fuse diverse materials and ideas with a pre-existing stream of aesthetic ideals. These inherited collective artistic ideals reflect a rich, complex repertoire of images and ideas which are inimitable and invincible in their simplicity, quantity and spontaneity. In fact, they are the living and ever-morphing expressions that give Bangladesh a unique position in this ambiguous age of globalization.

panel P35
Imagining Bangladesh and forty years of its aesthetic trajectory