A Schedule for Chobi Mela 2013


The 7th edition of Chobi Mela, an international festival of photography is scheduled to begin from 25 January–7 February 2013. The festival is held once in every two years, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It features print exhibitions, digital presentations, artists’ talks, workshops and so on.

Chobi Mela VII

How Chobi Mela Came About
In 1989, Shahidul Alam, a photographer who has since then changed the face of Bangladeshi photography, founded Drik. This is a photo agency devoted to showcasing the works of photographers ignored by the mainstream world. Nearly two decades later, Chobi Mela was born. The biennial has upheld the values of its founder and has tried to lend a platform to those who can truly sense a story. The past editions of the Mela featured themes like Differences, Exclusion, Resistance, Boundaries, Freedom and Dreams. Thus, the Mela has helped conceptual artists and photojournalists explore social inequality in its myriad forms.

A Lineup of Various Talks, Seminars and Exhibitions
The Mela will bring together print and digital presentations that challenge the traditional perceptions of art. It will reach out to the public through galleries at unconventional open-air locations and mobile touring exhibitions. There will also be workshops, discussions, seminars and lectures. Some of the talks lined up for Chobi Mela include those by the 70-year-old stalwart, Graciela Iturbide; the renowned Norweigan portraitist, Morten Krogvold; art historian Christopher Pinney and the founder of Contact Press Images, Robert Pledge. Other names include Munem Wasif, a noted Bangladeshi photographer and Photo Circle, a collective from Nepal.

Want to Travel to Chobi Mela? We Tell You How
In order to visit the festival which is going to be held between 25 January–7 February 2013, you need to get a visa from the Bangladesh embassy in New Delhi or Kolkata. For Indian nationals, a tourist visa to Bangladesh is free. For this, you need to fill up the visa form and send it to the embassy. You can even get your visa done through an agent, but you will have to pay their charges. Then, one option is to book a direct inexpensive flight to Dhaka from New Delhi with BimanAir. You can even fly to Dhaka from Kolkata. Another cost-effective option is to travel to Kolkata by train and then to take a train or a bus across the border to Dhaka.

Shahidul Alam, Founder of Drik, on Fragility:
What connects photography and the theme, Fragility? One also wonders how a topic as ephemeral as this, was explained and found expression. We found that as a part of a larger essay on Fragility, Shahidul Alam wrote, “The sweeping gestures of photography have thrived on extremes. Great things, epic moments, the wretched, the vile, the dispossessed, the celebrated and the trodden, have all found themselves facing the lens. Photography has exalted suffering, celebrated the vain. Quiet moments, reflective spirits, the hesitant step, the furtive glance have rarely made headlines. Perceived as being unworthy of the shutter.”

The Schedule

  • 25 January 2013, Friday
    • 04.00 pm: Opening ceremonyAt National Theatre Auditorium, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy
  • 26 January 2013, Saturday
    • 11.00 am: Jody Haines, Australia and Patricia Mendoza, Mexico
      Panel Discussion: Photographic education and contemporary curatorial practice and photography
    • 06.00 pm: Patricia Mendoza, Mexico
      Slideshow: Latin American Photography
    • 07.00 pm: Graciela Iturbide, Mexico
      Artist’s Talk 
  • 27 January 2013, Sunday
    • 11.00 am: Christopher Pinney, UK
      Discussion: Archiving project in India
    • 06.00 pm: Liza Faktor, Russia
      Slideshow: Russian Photography
    • 07.00 pm: Richard Billingham, UK
      Artist’s Talk
  • 28 January 2013, Monday
    • 11.00 am: Photo Circle, Nepal
      Discussionand book launch: Nepal Memory Project
    • 06.00 pm: Munem Wasif, Bangladesh
      Slideshow: Contemporary Bangladeshi Photography
    • 07.00 pm: Jodi Bieber, U.S.
      Artist’s Talk
  • 29 January 2013, Tuesday
    • 11.00 am: Abir Abdullah, Munem Wasif, Saiful Huq Omi, Bangladesh
      Panel Discussion/Long-term social documentary: opportunities and limitations
    • 06.00 pm: Nii Obodai, Ghana and Bisi Silva, Nigeria
      Slideshow: African Photography
    • 07.00 pm: Morten Krogvold, Norway
      Artist’s Talk
  • 30 January 2013, Wednesday
    • 11.00 am: Cultures on the Edge, Chris Rainier and Chris Riley, U.S.
      Book launch; Technology and future of photography
    • 06.00 pm: Francoise Callier, France
      Slideshow: South-East Asian Photography
    • 07.00 pm: To be confirmed
      Artist’s Talk
  • 31 January 2013, Thursday
    • 11.00 am: Robert Pledge, US
      Panel Discussion on Chinese Photography
    • 06.00 pm: To be confirmed
      Slideshow: Middle-Eastern Photography
    • 07.00 pm: Marian Drew, Australia
      Artist’s Talk
  • 01February 2013, Friday
    • 11.00 am: Shahidul Alam, Kamra, Shumon Ahmed, Bangladesh
      Book launch: Bangladeshi photography
    • 06.00 pm: Sohrab Hura, India
      Slideshow: Contemporary Indian Photography
    • 07.00 pm: Nasir Ali Mamun, Bangladesh
      Artist’s Talk