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18th Asian Art Biennale ends
The 18th edition of Asian Art Biennale organised by Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy ended on Sunday through a closing ceremony held at the academy’s National Art Gallery auditorium.
Attending the event as the chief guest, cultural affairs minister Asaduzzaman Noor claimed the 18th edition of the biennale as the most successful art show.
The minister also praised the potentials of the young artists of the country, who had great achievements at the biennale and at other exhibitions held abroad.
The minister informed that a sculpture park would be installed on Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy premises soon and the existing national art gallery would be extended for better arrangement of the biennale in future.
Director general of the academy Liaquat Ali Lucky claimed 18th edition of Asian Art Biennale as the greatest art show in the country ever held in terms of number of visitor attendance and number of participating artists and countries.
Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy initiated to host the Asian Art Biennale in January 1981 with a view to promoting artists and art works of the region to the global art market and creating interactions with the artists and art historians and critics of different Asian countries.
The recently held biennales, however, opened doors for artists from all across the globe.
The month long 18th edition of the biennale held at the National Art Gallery featured 583 artworks by 465 artists from 68 countries.
The highest number of participants was from the host nation Bangladesh. Artists from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, China, Iran, Turkey, Palestine, Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, the USA, Argentina and others also displayed their latest works in diverse mediums.
Of them 414 artworks by 223 foreign and 107 local artists competed for three grand prizes and six honourable mention awards while others displayed works as guest artists.
Like the previous editions, local artists dominated the show. Five out of nine awards went to the local artists, including two out three grand prizes.
Eight out of nine awards were own by the local artists in the 17th edition held in 2016.
Like the previous edition, each of the grand prize winners received Tk 500,000, a crest and a certificate while each of the honourable mention awards winners got Tk 300,000, a crest and a certificate.
Like the previous editions, the awards selection drew criticism among visitors and art lovers. Many of them, even some award winners, expressed dissatisfaction seeing the quality of some award winning works.
Lucky, however, rejects such criticism saying no jury board can satisfy all people with different mentality. He said the five-member international jury headed by internationally acclaimed artist Shahabuddin Ahmed neutrally did their job.
He rather claimed that the exhibition saw overwhelming attendance of the visitors compared to previous editions.
Shilpakala Academy officials claimed an estimated 2000 visitors came to the gallery every day and the number increased to 5,000 in the holidays.
Though the budget of the biennale (5.58 crore) was similar to the 17th edition, Lucky claimed the number of ancillary events increased in the latest edition.
The events included seminars, workshops, cultural shows and performance art shows. A number of stalls displaying traditional crafts, cakes, embroidered quilts and other items, special corners for the child artists from different districts and a curated show for the district level artists.
There were also a food court and VIP lounge at the biennale, he said.
Liaquat Ali lucky expresses his determination of organising even better curatorial show in the upcoming edition of the biennale only if the budget is increased.