Saturday, June 22, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Art exhibition by artist and climate activist Monica Jahan Bose begins

  • Monica creates climate change awareness through saris
  • Started feminist storytelling with saris in Katakhali
Update : 04 Mar 2024, 01:28 PM

The Neighbourhood Art Space at Aloki hosted an art exhibition on Friday featuring " Ongoing (Choloman)" by artist and climate activist Monica Jahan Bose. 

The inauguration began at 4pm and the exhibition will run daily until March 9 from 3pm to 9pm.

After nine years, the artist is holding a show in Bangladesh, featuring her ongoing collaborative art project with Saris. The exhibition, curated by Ruxmini Choudhury, showcases a three-channel video and colourful cascading saris that tackles climate change and the impact of women on food, the environment, and women's issues.

The saris are adorned with intricate woodblocks and feature pledges written by artists from around the world. Among the chief guests were Sharlina Hussain Morgan, director of Public Engagements at the US Embassy, and Asaduzzaman Noor, a member of parliament.

Monica Jahan Bose started the feminist storytelling with saris in her ancestral village, Katakhali, Patuakhali, in 2012-2013. Her goal was to work with the women in the community and highlight their recent achievements in literacy and growing leadership within the community. She has been involved in an eco-empowerment program for women in Katakhali since 2000. Bose noticed the community was suffering due to rising sea levels.

The locals in this area rely heavily on fishing and selling crops for their livelihood, but unfortunately, climate change has made it difficult for them to produce high-quality crops and for fish to survive due to the increased water temperature. As a result, many locals are now seeking job opportunities overseas or in urban areas, and their quality of life is suffering. It is imperative to take action to protect this important part of our country's heritage. A community member has taken the initiative to work with others to raise awareness about climate change and its impact on our planet.

In the exhibition, Monica said: "I designed the blocks in the saris using pen and paper. The block paint was made in Bangladesh with the help of my maternal cousin for several years. I also block painted the village women on Tangail saris."

While outside of the country, she and her companions painted traditional Bangladeshi designs on saris and wrote pledges to combat climate change.

She also said: “Even though I am an artist who works on climate programmes. As artists, we observe more. I can raise awareness about climate change.”

In the exhibition, she also said that farmers in foreign countries are facing problems due to extreme weather conditions and that it is impossible to produce goods. She said: “A French farmer is facing challenges with producing goat cheese as the heat prevents the goats from going out for a walk. Similarly, another farmer in France is finding it difficult to produce grapes for the famous Bordeaux wine.”

Sharlina Hussain Morgan talked about how art is a policy. She said: “Every piece of art that has been curated in the ambassador’s residence has a story to tell. It is a story that everyone resonates with, and that Monica has been showing through her art.”

She said: ''The power of art can be a vehicle that mobilizes people and young people to understand that this is not just the future but now. We do a lot of work in my office on climate change, especially for young Bangladeshis, and we are proud to bring in young Bangladeshi climate change activists with the rest of their colleagues in the region.” 

She expressed pride in welcoming young activists to take a stand against climate change and make commitments to prevent it. Additionally, the US Embassy has organized programs to preserve the heritage and art of Bangladesh, as well as support the indigenous people.

Asaduzzaman Noor said: “When I go to my village from Dhaka, I can breathe easily, but I have trouble breathing the heavy air. Due to climate change, there are a significantly low number of rivers in Bangladesh right now, and no boats were to be seen. “

He praised the artist for taking it upon herself to tackle this severe problem.

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