A statement from Yahya of Muslim Aid in Bangladesh explaining why the project had to be postponed. The hope is to move it to October, after the month of Ramadan. Also some footage from the curfew chaos in the capital city of Dhaka. I filmed this from inside of our vehicle.
Archive for August, 2007
A short clip from the introducton of the press conference… sorry its not in english..! Shaheed from Muslim Aid jokes that there is no connection between the name Aerosol Ali – used by some media – and Chemical Ali. Bangladesh folks are a little bit sensitive about these things…! It was after this press conference that the chaos escalated, resulting in the postponing of the project.
I write from the confines of my hotel in Dhaka, since the curfew accross Bangladesh has brought the country to a standstil. Only now have the telephone lines opened up, after being shut down accross the country, so i use this opportunity to get some words out onto the world wide web, before the connection goes again.
Yesterday Muslim Aid and myself did a press conference in Dhaka launching the mural project here in the capital city. Despite the unrest with the student riots (read BBC NEWS on that) with the police, there was a good amount of press. There was a great buzz as I presented to them the project I am doing, in bringing this type of graffiti art to Bangladesh. They were very curious as to the concept, and it took a while for them to comprehend that the art I am doing has nothing to do with the graffiti that exists here in the form of political slogans.
I spoke in the unique form of Bangla, refered to as some as “Banglish” which is a mixture of the Bangla language and English! By the end they were all eager to know when and where I will be painting the first mural in Bangladesh. After the press conference we had to rush back to the hotel before 8pm due to the curfew. The streets were chaos, people climbing on top of buses desperately, in order to clear the streets before 8pm. I could see smoke not far off. Fortunately we were a safe distance away from the main area were the riots were taking place.
Today is when I was supposed to be painting that mural. Due to the curfew, it seems we have to postpone everything. Everything is closed here in the capital city of Dhaka. It seems that I may have to return to the UK, and return when things have cooled off a bit. No doubt the buzz was there, and I am quite dissappointed in the anti-climax of everything. I was very much looking forward to leaving some art on the streets of Bangladesh for the people to ponder over. But what can you do, when the streets are at a standstill, and the riots can move in on a zone like a wave I am told. An australian lady here, who I was supposed to be doing a spraypainting demo with at the clinic which she works, described to me over the phone, how she witnessed outside of her office, rioters setting a bus on fire, while people were desperatly trying to get off.
I think when i return to Bangladesh – which i hope to be soon, there certainly will be much more need for this type of mural project. Perhaps the focus, and the message of the art will need to be ammended too to reflect this situation.
Right now I await in my hotel until I am able to leave…