'Belong: A Conference and Exhibition on Feminism' held at DrikPath Bhaban

The exhibition will remain open for all till 8 March 2022, from 3-8pm at the Drik Gallery

With an aim to connect a tie between the existing network of feminists in Bangladesh with that of the younger generation, the DW Akademie and Goethe-Institut Bangladesh together organized a multimedia art exhibition and conference on Feminism titled ‘I Belong’ at the premises of DrikPath Bhaban in the capital’s Panthapath yesterday.

“Break the rules, smash the patriarchy, I belong too”- symbolizing these ongoing narratives around feminism with what has been done and what needs to be done, we felt the need for a conversation between the older generation who have fought for their rights and the younger generation of feminists who might have new demands. We all came together to offer a platform to understand their perspectives and their desire to contribute to the cause.” shares Kirsten Hackenbroch, Director of Goethe-Institut Bangladesh at the opening of the exhibition.

The exhibition curated by photographer and visual artist, Ashfika Rahman that attempts to represent these conversations between everyday women across generations through the exploration of the consciousness around Feminism was opened by speeches from Priya Esselborn, Program Director, Bangladesh (India, Afghanistan), DW Akademie, Farista Mahbub, Economic Affairs Officer, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany

In Dhaka, Rubaiyat Hossain, film director, writer and producer and followed by the launch of Aahir Mrittika’s book “The Unforgiving City and I” and poetry recitation performances by various cultural practitioners, including Meheruba Hasin Mohsina Akhter, Musharrat Sharmee Hossain, Aryah Jamil, and Seema Amin.

The event was followed by two panel discussions with established intellectuals and various feminist personalities from Bangladesh and Germany with participants including students of journalism and feminists from diverse professions. The first panel focused on the history of women in Bangladesh and its media projection while the second panel attempted to examine the challenges around communication and portrayal of gender in the mainstream media, offering diverse perspectives on navigating through these challenges.

Through the intense dialogues between established feminists such as Khushi Kabir, Ferdous Azim, Hazera Begum, Taslima Akhter, Rahnuma Ahmed, Shireen Huq, Udisa Islam, Zafar Sobhan issues around the concepts of language used in mainstream media, citizen journalism, organized power structures, lack of portrayal of the struggles behind successful women  were raised with young feminists such as Mayabee Arannya, Dalia Chakma, Tasaffy Hossain, Esha Aurora, Shakil Ahmed exploring the challenges around gender roles advertised in commercial media, lack of proper representation of indigenous people and stereotyping in the media. Moreover, the panelists offered solutions to facilitate changes by the representation of diverse voices in the mainstream media through an inclusive manner.

With an objective to connect the youth and young media professionals to the wider feminist community, the conference was live-casted to involve students from outside Dhaka the conference and offered an opportunity for them to ask questions to the panelists.

The exhibition will remain open for all till 8 March 2022, from 3-8pm at the Drik Gallery with workshops to be held by the partner initiatives together with various online panel discussions to further the discourse on contemporary societal questions of feminism in Bangladesh.