Bangladesh is rich in culture and heritage. But how much of it is reflected for the outside world to know and understand us? We are proud, but why? Are the talents of our art world visible to the world?
As I walked along Lake Geneva in Switzerland, I took photos each time I came across beautiful sculptures. A nude -- so graceful, so sweet to your eyes, and if you really look at it, properly, you can see how beautiful it truly is. A work of art.
Further down, a stallion with a youth symbolising the strength of man. Incredible!
I realised that the city, otherwise duller than Dhaka, had added these sculptures in many parts to add beauty and draw tourists to take back pictures home.
That kind of work is visible in many countries of the world, including our neighbouring India, where there is a large Muslim population. Along with other faiths, they have all been admiring the works of art spread across their nation.
We have talented artists, one of whom is now based in England, becoming famous day by day showcasing his work at international exhibitions.
He has worked for many organisations in Britain beautifying their gardens and parks. Why not invite him to do so in Bangladesh?
But he will be hesitant of doing something similar at home if he sees how some mollahs, conflating art with sex, destroy these figures.
Their latest complaint is regarding the sculpture in front of the Supreme Court.
I do not find anything indecent about it. It is, in fact, a very common sight in front of many courts around the world.
Nobody, not even hardcore Muslims, have demanded that these should be brought down.
We take pride in having great artists and their sculptures in Bangladesh, yet we do not find their work in our cities
It is love for art and the way we perceive which matter.
We take pride in having great artists and their sculptures in Bangladesh, yet we do not find their work in our cities.
I have bought some pieces for my home from a nursery to brighten up my garden, because, to me, they are not erotic things, but works of art and which add another layer of beauty alongside spring flowers. It is not that I am the only person so passionate about art, but I have seen great collections in many homes and offices. But they are paintings mostly. So why not sculptures?
We must add similar works of art depicting our War for Independence, our great leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the farmers, artisans, and so many others who could add further beauty to our already beautiful Bangladesh.
Those who cannot see a work of art with the right kind of eyes should be told to respect art and beauty and that each work adds more to the home or garden or city.
Let them understand that we respect religion, but we need not mix everything with religion; it does not take us forward. We need to learn to also respect our culture and art, and let the world know our talents.
Nadeem Qadir is the Press Minister of Bangladesh High Commission in London.