Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said Bangladesh's graduation to the developing country group is a slap on the faces of those who had thought it would be a “bottomless basket” after independence.
"During the Liberation War, a certain quarter used to say what Bangladesh would gain after its independence....it would be a bottomless basket. I think this (Bangladesh's graduation) is a slap on their faces...the Bangalis have showed what they can do," she said.
The prime minister said this while opening the month-long solo art exhibition of world-renowned artist Shahabuddin Ahmed at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) in Dhaka.
Kolkata‘s Ganges Art Gallery, in association with Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, has arranged the exhibition featuring artworks derived from a 20-year span of the iconic artist of Bangladesh.
Chaired by Cultural Affairs Secretary Md Ibraheem Hosein Khan, the function was addressed, among others, by independence award-winning artist Shahabuddin Ahmed, BSA Director General Liaquat Ali Lucky, and Director of the Ganges Art Gallery Smita Bajoria.
The Committee for Development Policy (CDP), a United Nations panel, recently made an announcement on the country's eligibility at a meeting at the UN headquarters in New York.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has obtained UN recognition as a developing country. "We've learned how to stand on our own feet economically ...we're not dependent on anybody. We've proved we can develop the country by ourselves," she said.
The prime minister said she wants Bangladesh’s development to be imbued with the Liberation War spirit. "Our country will march ahead and stand up with its head held high."
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and artist Shahabuddin Ahmed looking at a painting of the artist after the inauguration of a month-long exhibition at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in Dhaka on Monday, March 19, 2018 Focus Bangla
Keeping that view in mind, she said, the government has taken every single step to take the country forward with various development programs. "Make sure the spirit we've brought back after a long fight doesn't fade away again."
Hasina said a nation which is developed in education, art, and culture can make progress.
She urged all artists to come forward to spread the spirit and ideology of the Liberation War through their respective means.
Hasina said one's hunger cannot only be met through food. "There is also a hunger of the mind which needs to be met. This hunger can be met through art, culture, and literature," she said.
Mentioning politicians and cultural activists are complementary to each other, she said it is possible to achieve any success if poets, writers, painters, and artistes join hands together.
The exhibition will remain open for all from 11am to 8pm every day (3pm to 8pm on Fridays).
At the function, the prime minister unveiled the cover of a book 'Amar Muktijuddho' by Shahabuddin Ahmed.
A documentary on Shahabuddin Ahmed titled 'Colour of Freedom' was screened at the function.
The prime minister also witnessed an acrobatic exhibition of the children of Shilpakala Academy.
She later visited the gallery and saw the displayed artworks of Shahabuddin.
Thirty-two selected artworks are up for display depicting the artist's affinity with Bangladesh's War of Liberation, his fascination for Bangabandhu, and other recurring themes Shahabuddin is well-known for.
In 2000, the Bangladesh government honoured Shahabuddin with the 'Swadhinata Padak', while the French government conferred upon him the prestigious civilian award Chevalier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight in the Order of Arts & Literatures) in 2014 in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the nation's cultural arena.