The two-day International Art Fest 2020 Nilphamari was kicked off on 27 February at Nilsagor in Nilphamari. The grand festival featured artists representing five different generations of Bangladesh, India, USA, Nepal and Myanmar. Organised by the Art Festival 2020 Nilphamari Organising Committee, with active support from Vision 2021 Nilphamari and Art Bangla, the event, under the tagline, 'Nature is life, Art for brighter life' was arranged in the northern district of Bangladesh to decentralise the heritage of Bangladeshi art and culture. Nilsagor has welcomed participants to work on their artistic projects in a beautiful and natural environment throughout the festival. Promising artists from all around Bangladesh have paired with local school students to work on different forms of art. Several contemporary artists, along with five art organisations also participated in the event.

State Minister for Cultural Affairs K M Khalid attended the inaugural ceremony of the festival as the chief guest. Eminent artist Rafiqun Nabi and Bengal Foundation Chairman Shilper Sadhak Abul Khair jointly inaugurated the event. Nilphamari DC and SP and Upazila Chairman were present as special guests. Former Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor, also the chief adviser of the festival organising committee, presided over the programme.

Director General of Bengal Foundation, Luva Nahid Choudhury, Engineer Mainul Abedin and art critic Moinuddin Khaled have attended the event. Renowned artist Professor Mohammad Eunus is the convener, while Harun-ar-Rashid Tutul, an Assistant Professor of the Department of Graphic Design, FFA, DU, was the curator of the festival. Md Wadood Rahman was the member-secretary of the festival organising committee.

Renowned artists, including Rafiqun Nabi, Monirul Islam, Abul Barq Alvi, Nisar Hossain, Mohammad Eunus, Afzal Hossain, Jamal Ahmed, Rokeya Sultana, Shameem Subrana, Ahmed Shamsuddoha, Sheikh Afzal Hossain, Mustapha Khalid Palash, Muniruzzaman, Mohammad Iqbal, Ranjit Das, Reza Asad-Al Huda Anupam, Nazia Andaleeb Preema, Bishwajit Goswami and Sourav Chowdhury participated in the festival. Their artworks represent Bangladesh's natural, artistic and cultural heritage. Foreign artists also worked with local artists on different creative themes.

The festival includes an international art camp, two international exhibitions (one to be held at Nilsagor on February 29, and another at Zainul Gallery in Dhaka next April), a folk art and craft fair, seminars, cultural programmes, camp fire and sightseeing. Various cultural performances, including Baul Gaan, Bhandi Khela, Bieer Geet, Horikirtton, Lathi Khela were hosted at the Dighee Stage, Matia Stage and Mela Stage across several venues at the festival.

Eminent artists Rafiqun Nabi, Monirul Islam, Mohammad Eunus, Shishir Bhattacharjee, Afzal Hossain, Sheikh Afzal Hossain, Ahmed Shamsuddoha, Jamal Ahmed, Tarun Ghosh, Mohammad Iqbal, Mustapha Khalid Palash and others, worked on acrylic paintings at the event. Promising artist Dinar Sultana Putul, the co-curator of the Contemporary Art Project of the festival, has installed an earthen wall, depicting lines of traditional floral forms and pastel colours at the entrance of the venue. Watching Rafiqun Nabi's bold brushstrokes and aesthetic compositions, Monirul Islam's play with vast spaces, Mohammad Eunus' venture into poetic imagery, Shishir Bhattacharjee's lyrical lines on vibrant canvas, Ahmed Shamsuddoha's texture-based green artworks, Mustapha Khalid Palash's kaleidoscopic visions and geometric forms was a treat for anyone who enjoys art.

Among the foreign artists, Koshal Kumar Hamal (Nepal) worked on feminine visages. Amazing texture and colour balance are two striking features of his artworks. The artist duo Tabassum and Yusuf portrayed abstract images with acrylic colours and pen dots. US-based artist Khurshid Alam Saleem worked on abstract paintings at the international art camp.

Emerging artist from the art educational institutes of Bangladesh collaborated with hundreds of local school students. They painted multifarious themes on canvas.

A seminar, 'Bangladesh-e Adhunik Charushilpa, Dwidha O Deshprem-er Galpo' with a discussion and Q/A session was held at the auditorium of Nilphamari Museum as part of the festival. Shawon Akand presented the keynote speech, while Professor Nisar Hossain, Dean, Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka, was a discussant.

Nilphamari's Nilsagor offers an idyllic ambience covered with Siberian birds and greenery for the participating 350 artists from five countries in the International Art Festival 2020 Nilphamari, which concluded on February 29.

The Art Festival 2020 Nilphamari Organising Committee, in association with Vision 2021, Nilphamari and Art Bangla, Dhaka, deserves accolades for organising and making the festival a grand success.

Nupur Khanam Duli was coordinated and presented cultural performances by the local and participating artists, who have kept the venue vibrant with songs, dances, recitations and other activities. The 55 acres land of Nilsagor, together with its adjacent area, is teemed with different artistic activities.

The Art Festival 2020 Nilphamari Organising Committee, in association with Vision 2021, Nilphamari and Art Bangla, Dhaka, deserves accolades for organising and making the festival a grand success.

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