Performance Stage 1
Before we embark on Performance Event Stage 1, organized by Porapara Space for Artists, and showcased at Alliance Française de Chittagong, a collaborator in the event, some tracing of its history would throw light on their previous art enveavours leading summarily to its latest edition. Back in September, 2009, Porapara Space for Artists ran a weeklong workshop on performance art, which chose Patenga Sea beach and its surrounding areas to host the outcome event. Since its debut it has regularly conducted performance events, workshops on various occasions. Riding the success of the 2009 edition, renowned performance artist Seiji Shimoda oversaw a workshop spanning three days at Shilpakala Acedamy, Chittagong, with participants from both camps of emerging and established artists. Then, in 2011 it expanded wings to include Dhaka alongside Chittagong as venues for Bangladesh International Performance Art Festival in alliance with Nippon International Performance Art Festival (NIPAF). Seiji Shimoda once again graced the 2016 iteration, put on view on April 23.
Performance Event Stage 1, an evening fiesta for art lovers, kicked off with a performance by Abu Naser Robii, spinning out of a mystical soul searching. Amongst the artists who followed hot on heels with a mantle of 'emotions meet thoughts' performative renderings, Abu Dhar's After Midnight deserves mention. A pillow and a chair sluiced down his nervous energy wreathing out of suppressed thoughts. Afsana Sharmin, in an extension of her series Feminine, entitled And the Feminine flagrantly pronounced herself a 'woman'. Gestural in essence, her hands, costume and verbal utterance combined to bring to surface a lament too profound to give voice to. Aranya Sharma in Pakhider Jonno, or Ode to Birds offered her submission to a seamless ecology of man and animal by piping out a rhythmic sputtering sound.
Brought onstage was the tale of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The presentations of the pahari (indigenous) artists contested the perceived scenic equanimity of the hills. In Joydeb Roaja's Pichchil Poth, or Slippery Path he performed a repetitive 'stumbling' walk to the tune of a strain of music, bananas amongst other fruits coming in his way, reflective of the dismay and desolation that plagues life in the hills. Jublee Dewan in Me and My Experience, was perched on a ladder humming a pahari song, whose faint rendition turned it into a dirge, and as the ladder 'shuddered' in time with his gesticulations, the performance garnered a darker tone of foreboding.
Contemporary social and political issues also made their way into the event. Farah Naz Moon was shooting questions at the audience from behind a mask – which swirled around issues of rampant nature of crime and concurrent miscarriage of justice. Yuvraj Zahed A Chowdhury's multimedia projection of newspaper portraits of murdered theatre artist Tanu was gradually wrapped around the pulsating, sheathed body of the artist, in a silent drama of embodiment of the memory of collective guilt and shame.
Hasna Hena Porosh slowly dissipated away into the rabbit hole, an animation projection of a spiralling vortex in So I Am Spinning. Age was Partho Pratim Saha's enquiry into the relationship between the passage of life and temporality. Meherun Akter Sumi, was busy masking her face with balloons that constantly kept popping, in an attempt to forge a wobbly bridge with lost innocence.
Performance guru Seiji Shimoda took to the stage with a fresh edition of Paper Performance series; jumping, leapfrogging over newspapers and often sledding into the audience was a zesty, 'physical' piece of performance, its quivering energy radiating with the force of an inherent poetics that connects individual 'bodies' with what is left unsaid.
Among the other participating artists were Niloofar Chaman, Srikanta Acharjee, Shaila Jinnat. The event ended in a Q and A session, with the audience wishing for more of such events in the future, with greater number of participants and wider scope for artist-audience interaction.
- DEPART DESK