Bengal Foundation, one of the leading patrons of the arts and culture in Bangladesh, launched a special festival titled 'Srijone O Shekore' on Tuesday, celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Independence at Bengal Shilpalay in the capital's Dhanmandi.

The five-day festival, supported by BRAC, features a variety of cultural segments including an exclusive group art exhibition, short film screenings, live music shows, dance recitals and more.

AKM Mozammel Haque, Minister of Liberation War Affairs, inaugurated the cultural festival on Tuesday evening at Bengal Shilpalay as the chief guest. BRAC Bank deputy managing director and head of SME Syed Abdul Momen was present as the special guest, alongside Bengal Foundation's Chair Abul Khair and Director General Luva Nahid Choudhury.

"Since its inception, the Bengal Foundation has always dedicatedly promoted the arts and culture of Bangladesh. Personally, I have always been a huge admirer of its Folk Festival which is a widely revered festival among music lovers across the world, and today's festival is also a befitting tribute to our culture and the intellectual martyrs we lost in 1971 on this day," the Minister said at the ceremony.

A group art exhibition titled "Shwoparjito Prithibee - The Earth in Our Hands" was inaugurated at the Quamrul Hassan Gallery of Bengal Shilpalay in the afternoon. Professor Abdul Mannan, former chairman of the University Grants Commission of Bangladesh, inaugurated the group art exhibition which is featuring artworks and performances of 19 young talented artists, crafted at the exclusive art camp at CRB, Chittagong in September this year.

Chittagong-based artists including Alak Roy, Mong Mong Sho, Jayatu Chakma, Joydeb Roaza, KMA Qayyum, Mamur Ahsan Mahtab, Md Joynal Abedeen Azad, Nazlee Laila Mansur, Niloofar Chaman, Rasel Kanti Das, SM Reyad, Sanjib Barua, Sanjib Datta, Sanjoy Kumar Das, Sanjoy Sarker Akshoy, Satabdi Shome, Sharad Das, Sreekanta Acharjee, Subrata Das, Zahed Ali Chowdhury and Zihan Karim, participated in the art camp which allowed the artists to reach out to the society and direct public attention to the urgent task of preserving the natural environment, against the background of the ongoing movement to preserve the CRB grounds, known as the lungs of the Port City, in their present state.

Also at the festival, a short film screening session titled Calchitra was inaugurated on Tuesday by Md Abul Kalam Azad, Chief Executive at Bangladesh Cinema And Television Institute. The session will continue screening short films directed by prominent young filmmakers and will also include engaging panel discussions each day throughout the festival, featuring renowned Bangladeshi filmmakers Gazi Rakayet on Wednesday, Kaosar Chowdhury on Thursday, Nurul Alam Atique on Friday and eminent art critique Khaled Moinuddin on Saturday.

A special cultural show was held in the evening of the inaugural day which showcased recitation artiste Shimul Mustapha's poem recitations, singer Bulbul Islam's enthralling presentation of Tagore songs and Chandana Majumdar's soulful performances of Bengali folk songs.

The festival will showcase enthralling musical and cultural performances every day at 6 pm throughout the five days, including performances of renowned singers Fahmida Nabi, Rahul Ananda and Joler Gaan, Labik Kamal Gaurob, Rezaul Karim Leemon, Krishnakali Islam and more; recitation performances by noted artists including Bhaswar Bandyopadhyay, instrumental scores by artists including violinist Sheuli Bhattacharjee, Rabindra Sangeet performances by eminent Tagore artists including Rezwana Choudhury Bannya, Laisa Ahmed Lisa, Adity Mohsin and more, Nazrul song legends featuring Khairul Anam Shakil and more, alongside dance recitals, mime presentations, patriotic and folk song performances, puppet shows and more.

On Wednesday, eminent writer Anwara Syed Haq's book 'Khad' will be launched at the festival. Dr Aminur Rahman Sultan, Deputy Director at Bangla Academy' Folklore Department and BRAC Gender Justice and Diversity Division director Nobonita Chowdhury will be present as discussants at the book launching ceremony.

'Srijone O Shekore' will be concluded on December 18, while the group exhibition at the Quamrul Gallery will remain open till January 4, 2022.

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