Speakers at the inauguration ceremony of 23rd National Art Exhibition

The 23rd edition of National Art Exhibition biennale was inaugurated at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on Sunday, July 1st 2019- and the speakers in the inauguration ceremony have credited the artists of the nation for earning the respect of the global art community with their passion and dedication towards arts and crafts.

The Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman established Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in 1973 with the vision of transcending the boundaries through our artists and their excellent artworks. Through all these years after independence, Bangladesh is now a renowned and reputed country for excellent artworks and crafts, along with its contribution to the enrichment of modern arts- and the credit goes to our art maestros, the speakers opined.

Political Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister H T Imam inaugurated the exhibition as its chief guest. Former finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, the current state minister for cultural affairs K M Khalid, country's renowned artist Monirul Islam and Shilpakala Academy's fine arts director artist Ashraful Alam Poplu was present among the special guests- along with Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy's director general Liaquat Ali Lucky.

The program started with the orchestra presentation of some of the renowned musicians of the country. The speakers then expressed and shared their opinion about the exhibition and prime minister's political affairs adviser, the chief guest of the ceremony H T Imam then announced the inauguration of the three-week long biennale.

"Our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman always had utmost respect for the artists, and no one should forget the contribution of their works during the hard times of our Liberation War. Artists are the pride and jewels for a nation- so we must acknowledge and tribute their hardships with appropriate prices and prizes," Prime Minister's adviser H.T. Imam said in his speech.

State minister for cultural affairs K M Khalid said the government is going to establish Dhaka Opera House and will also expand the capacity of BSA as part of the government's development plan. The director general of BSA Liaquat Ali Lucky further explained that the Dhaka Opera House would be a Tk 8,000 Crore project and the government has also allotted Tk 138 crore for expanding spaces and further renovation of BSA, focusing the upcoming birth-centenary of Bangabandhu in 2020 and Golden jubilee of the liberation in 2021.

One of the renowned art-collectors of the country and former finance minister Abul Mal Abdul Muhith praised Shilpakala Academy and its director general for the exhibition and thanked all the participants for presenting their arts and crafts.

The exhibition will feature 322 artworks by 310 artists, selected from a total number of 850 applicants. During the 20-day exhibition, total 159 paintings, 45 sculptures, 50 print illustrations, 17 craftworks, 8 pottery-crafts, 37 architectural and video arts and 7 performance art pieces will be on display.

The primary selection committee comprised with notable artists including Nasrin Begum, Mostafizul Haque, Sheikh Sadi Bhuiyan, Dr. Md Iqbal and Anisuzzaman. The final selection committee for selecting the best artworks featured artist Abdus Shakur Shah, Architect Shamsul Wares, Artist Ranajit Das, artist Dr. Farida Jaman and artist Mohammad Yunus.

After announcing the inauguration, the guests awarded the participants who were nominated as winners in several categories for their contribution to arts and crafts. Artist Kamruzzaman won Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy prize worth Tk 200,000 (2 lacs). Four departmental prizes for artwork, sculpture, print illustration and new media worth Tk 100,000 (1 lac) each were awarded to artist Rafat Ahmed Badhon, Tanvir Mahmud, Ruhul Karim Rumi and Shahid Kazi. Rest of the three special prizes- Bengal Foundation award (Tk 100,000), Dipa Haque award (Tk 20, 000) and Artist Kazi Anwar Hossain Award (Tk 50, 000) were awarded to artist Uttam Kumar Talukdar, Suman Wahid and Faria Khanum Tuli respectively.

Started as a biennale back in 1975, the exhibition has earned recognition from art-lovers around the whole nation as a festivity and celebration of modern artworks and crafts by artists from all over the country. The 23rd edition of National Art Exhibition will continue from 1st to 21st July, every day from 11 pm to 8 pm and 3 pm to 8 pm on Friday.

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