Art and Culture of Bangladesh

Government and non-government organizations like Nazrul Institute, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Bangla Academy , Fine arts Institute, Chhayanat etc. dedicating huge role to flourish Bangladesh art & culture to provide encouragement in  music, drama, traditional dance, recitation, art, etc. Many other cultural organizations are also popularizing Bangladeshi art and culture.



Cinemas & Theaters
Some of the popular theater groups are – Dhaka Theatre, Nagarik Nattya Sampraday, Aranyak, Natychakra, Natyajon, Kranti, Matridhara and Bibortan etc. Many Cinema halls in all cities & towns where people watch mainly Bangladesh movies, sometime english films from Hollywood or Hongkong.

Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation
4, Nao Ratan Colony, New Bailey Road, Dhaka – 1000
The Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation is the country’s main drama and theatre organisation. It plays a big role in the development of culture and arts.

Bangladesh Short Film Forum
89 Aziz Cooperative Super Market (1st Floor), Shahbag, Dhaka – 1000, Phone: 9664760, Email: bsff at bdonline.com
The Bangladesh Short Film Forum is an independent movie makers forum outside the commercial film production, exhibition & distribution establishment. The Forum was created in August 1986. Almost all of these young filmmakers were initiated into film through the cine-club movement, which began here during the 1960’s.



Sports
Bangladeshis are lovers of all sorts of sports and games, and facilities are being expanded steadily. Sport activities are co-ordinated by local, regional and national bodies. These organizations hold tournaments and competitions at various levels. Participation in national and international meets have made improvement in standard, though much remains to be done in this field. Many regional and international sports meets are regularly held in Bangladesh . Popular games and sports of Bangladesh are football, cricket, volleyball, basket ball, boat racing, target shooting, kite flying, swimming, badminton, chess, tennis, wrestling, ha-do-do and dariabanda (local game). Golf and water skiing are also gaining in popularity. Bangladesh achieved international test cricket status in the year 2001.


National Museum
Established in 1913, the national museum was, shifted to the present four storied building at Shahbag in 1983, the museum has forty galleries under four departments, namely: National History , History and cultural art , Ethnography and Decorative art and Contemporary art and Civilization . The museum contains a large number of interesting collections including ancient stone and metal sculptures and statues, old coins, metal images, books on art, ivory and silver filigree works, textiles including the world famous fabric muslin, embroidered quilt (Nakshi kantha), arms and ammunitions of the bygone warriors, varieties of fine handicrafts and models of village and town life, contemporary paintings and sculptures. The gallery has a section devoted exclusively to our heroic liberation war.
Open : Saturday – Wednesday 10:00 am – 7:00pm and closed on Thursday
Entrance Fee : 10.00; Phone : 880-2-8619397-99

Mukti Juddho (Liberation War) Museum
Situated at Segun Bagicha area of the city, the museum contains rare photographs of our liberation war and items used by the freedom fighters and martyrs of our glorious war.
Phone : Ph: 880-2-9559091.

Ahsan Manjil Museum
Situated in the old part of Dhaka on the bank of the river Buriganga the majestic Ahsan Manjil was once the home of the Nawabs (Rulers) of Dhaka , and now a museum. The Victorian style palace, painted bright pink, and with a huge done at the top is a silent spectator to many historic events. Ahsan Manjil museum has 31 rooms and 23 galleries displaying portraits, furniture and household articles and utensils used by the Nawabs.

                                                  

Folk Art Museum
The Folk Art Museum , which was established in 1975 to fulfill the dream of the celebrate painter Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin, has a rich collection of different folk objects of aesthetic and utilitarian values. These reflect the temperment, skill and expertise of the artists and artisans who made them. The museum is a national institution which represents the traditional art and heritage of Bangladesh , exhibiting objects of exceptional design and skill. Open during Saturday -Thursday from 9.00a.m to 5.00 p.m.

Zia Memorial Museum
The Chittagong Circuit House built in 1913 atop a hillock was transformed into Zia Memorial Museum in memory of late President Ziaur Rahman who was martyred here by a few misled army personnel at dead of night on 30th May 1980 . The place has developed into a full-fledged museum by September 1993 with a well-equipped  conference room, a library and as many as 12 galleries. A total of 743 exhibits that include 336 souvenirs and 13 documents are laid out across the galleries. The radio transmitter, the microphone, the chair and the table which were used by Shahid President Ziaur Rahman when reading the Declaration of Independence in 1971 are displayed in galleries 1 and 2. His personal effects and belongings are exhibited in galleries 3, 4 and 5. In galleries 4 & 7 are put up portraits of the martyred President and the gift items that were presented to him by different Heads of states and diplomats. Gallery 12 contains a reconstruction of the event of this martyrdom.

Science Museum
Located at Agargaon, the museum is a modern learning centre related to the latest scientific discoveries.

Court Building Museum
Situated on the Fairy Hill in Chittagong , this building commands a magnificent view of the port city .The court building was a witness to many activities and during the war of liberation in 1971. The museum commemorates many of the important events of the time. A museum has recently been established here.

Tribal Museum
The only Tribal Cultural Museum in the Hill Tracts region was established at Rangamati town in 1978 and is run by the Tribal Cultural Institute. It preserves valuable objects and articles of different tribes depicting their socio-economic, cultural and historical traditions. These include typical tribal dresses, ornaments, arms, ammunitions, coins, statues made of gold, bronze and other metals, musical instruments, ivory products, handicrafts and paintings on tribal life, etc.
Open : Saturday – Thursday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. and closed on Friday and Public Holidays.

Varendra Research Museum
Situated at Rajshahi, this museum has a rich collection of objects from Mohenjodaro and also from 16th to 19th centuries. The museum is devoted to the study of ancient history and culture. Its rich collection contains interesting objects of Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim heritage. The museum is maintained by Rajshahi University .

Bangladesh is a melting pot of races. She, therefore, has a mixed culture. Her deep rooted heritage is amply reflected in her architecture, literature , dance, drama, music and painting. Bangladeshi culture is influenced by three great religions- Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam in successive order, with Islam having the most pervading and lasting impact. Like a colorful montage, the cultural tradition of the country is a happy blending of many variants, unique in diversity but in essence greatly symmetrical.

Ethnological Museum
The ethnological museum at Chittagong has extensive facilities for ethnological research. The museum houses a selection of objects associated with the 12 ethnic tribes of Bangladesh and also of many tribes of Australia , India and Pakistan . Visitors have to pay a small entrance fee.

The Department of Ethnography & Decorative Art has an extensive collection of ethnographical materials and decorative art materials. The aim of this department is to collect, preserve, display and study the traditional designs, motifs, traditional arts and crafts of Bangladesh . The objects collected under this department are folk arts and crafts, boats, lamps, tribal ornaments, tribal arts and crafts, musical Instruments, dolls, pottery from different regions of Bangladesh, metallic images with folk elements, hookas, pitchers, painted pots, moulds of cakes and ornaments, hangers, fishing implements, models depicting different aspects of the people’s life, miscellaneous folk-life materials of Bangladesh, porcelain or Ceramics, wood carvings, metal-wares, furniture, textiles, ivory objects, arms and armor, ornaments.

Department of History & Classical Art is the largest curatorial department of the Bangladesh National Museum . All the material pertaining to the political, social, economic, religious and cultural aspects of the past are preserved in the department, such as archaeological artifacts, sculpture, architecture, terracotta, epigraph, numismatic, manu- script, document etc. The department also collects the relics and mementos of historic Liberation War. Collection: More than 65 thousand objects including 52 thousand coins are preserved in this department. The study of aesthetic and technological aspects of these objects is carried out in this department.


Bangla Academy
Old High Court Road , Dhaka -1000, Phone: 86119577

Established on December 3, 1955 , the Bangla Academy has played a major role in the Bangla cultural scene attempting to uphold Bangla literature, folklore and research right from the start. Currently the Bangla Academy is an autonomous body operating with four major departments: (1) Research, Compilation and Folklore, (2) Language, Literature, Culture and Journal, (3) Textbooks and (4) Establishment, Planning and Training. Each year all through the month of February Bangla Academy becomes the centre of all the cultural activities in Bangladesh , because of the month-long Ekushey Book Fair, organised to commemorate the martyrs of the Language Movement.

Shilpakala Academy
Segun Bagicha, Ramna, Dhaka , Phone: 9562801-4

Established in 1974, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy plays a great role in cultural cultivation throughout the country. It has many branches in almost every district of Bangladesh. The primary responsibilities of each branch are to teach about music, musical instruments, theatre, film, etc. Every two years, Shilpakala Academy arranges the Asian Art Biennial, the largest art exhibition in Asia .

Bangladesh Shishu Academy
University Area, Dhaka – 1000, Phone: 9550317

The Bangladesh Shishu Academy was established in 1976 to promote the physical, psychological and cultural development of children. It conducts activities in every district.

Nazrul Academy
Belalabad Colony, Moghbazar, Dhaka – 1217, Phone: 416029
This institute is named after the national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. It offers training and performance programs in music, dance, literature and drama.

Institution of Fine Arts
Dhaka University, Shahbag, Dhaka
The Institution of Fine Arts was established in the 1950’s and has been playing an important role as a centre of the modern art movement as well as providing a place for cultural activities.


Bangla Music:
The traditional music in Bangladesh shares the perspectives of that of the Indian sub-continent. Music in Bangladesh can be divided into three distinct categories -classical, folk and modern. The classical music, both vocal and instrumental is rooted in the remote past of the sub-continent. Ustad Alauddin Khan and Ustad Ayet Ali Khan are two names in classical instrumental music who are internationally known.

The store of folk song abounds in spiritual lyrics of Lalan Shah, Hasan Raja, Romesh Shill and many anonymous lyricists. Bangla music arena is enriched with Jari, Shari , Bhatiali, Murshidi and other types of folk songs. Rabindra Sangeet and Nazrul Sangeet are  Bangalees’ precious heritage. Modern music is also practiced widely. Contemporary patterns have more inclinations to west. Pop song and band groups are also coming up mainly in Dhaka City . 

Bangladesh has a good number of musical instruments originally of  her own. Originally country musical instruments include, Banshi (bamboo flute), Dhole (wooden drums), Ektara (a single stringed instrument), Dotara (a four stringed instrument), Mandira (a pair of metal bawls used as rhythm instrument), Khanjani, Sharinda etc. Now-a-days western instruments such as Guitar, Drums, Saxophone, Synthesizer etc. are being  used alongside country instruments.

Chhayanaut
Road 15A, House 72, Dhanmondi, R/A Dhaka – 1209, [email protected]

Chhayanaut is a popular musical institution, contributing to academic music since 1961. It regularly arranges a large musical event every Bengali New Year’s Day at Romana Botomul.

Bulbul and Lolitokola Academy
7, Waisghat, Dhaka -1100, Phone: 233529

The Bulbul and Lolitokola Academy is a popular cultural organisation that regularly organises Bengali traditonal cultural performances. It also arranges training and workshops on music and dance to educate young performers.


Literature:
Bangalees have a rich literary heritage. The earliest available specimen of Bengali literature is about a thousand years old. During the mediaeval period. Bengali Literature developed considerably with the patronage of Muslim rulers. Chandi Das, Daulat Kazi and Alaol are some of the famous poets of the period. The era of modern Bengali Literature began in the late nineteenth century Rabindranath Tagore , the Nobel Laureate is a vital part of Bangalee culture.  Kazi Nazrul Islam , Michael Madhusudan Datta . Sarat Chandra Chattopadhaya , Bankim Chandra Chattopadhaya , Mir Mosharraf Hossain and Kazi Ahdul Wadud are the pioneers of modern Bengali Literature.

Bishwa shahitya Kendra
14 Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue , Dhaka -1000, Phone: 9660812

Bishwa shahitya Kendra arranges workshops about reading books all over country. It has around 500 branches. This organisation’s motto is ‘We want enlightened people’. It has been playing a vital role in cultural and social development since its establishment in 1978.


Festivals:
A series of festivals varying from race to race are observed here. Some of the Muslim rites are Eid-e-Miladunnabi, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Azha, Muharram etc. Hindus observe Durga Puja, Saraswati Puja, Kali Puja and many other pujas.  Christmas ( popularly called Baradin in Bangla ) is observed by Christians. Also there are some common festivities, which are observed countrywide  by people irrespective of races. Pahela Baishakh (the first day of Bangla year) is such a festival. National festivals are Independence Day (26th March), 21st February (the National Mourning Day and World Mother Language Day), The Victory Day (16th December), Rabindra & Nazrul Jayanti etc. 


Painting:  
There is a rich tradition of modern painting which was pioneered by Zainul Abedin , Kamrul Hassan, Anwarul Haque, Shafiuddin Ahmed and S. M. Sultan . Zainul Abedin  earned international fame for his sketches on famine of 1943 in Bangladesh . Other famous artists of Bangladesh are Abdur Razzak ,  Qayyum Chowdhury ,  Murtaza Baseer ,  Aminul Islam ,  Debdas Chakraborty ,  Kazi Abdul Baset ,  Syed Jahangir , and  Mohammad Kibria


Drama:  
Drama in Bangladesh has an old tradition and is very popular. In Dhaka  more than a dozen theater groups have been regularly staging locally written plays as well as those adopted from famous writers, mainly of European origin. Popular theatre groups are Dhaka Theatre, Nagarik Nattya Sampraday and Theatre.  In Dhaka , Baily Road area is known as ‘Natak Para’ where drama shows are regularly held. Public Library Auditorium and Museum Auditorium are famous for holding cultural shows. Dhaka University area is a pivotal part of cultural activities.


Dance:
Classical forms of the sub-continent predominate in Bangladeshi dance. The folk, tribal and Middle Eastern traits are also common. Among the tribal dances, particularly popular are Monipuri and Santal . Rural girls are in the habit of dancing that does not require any grammar or regulations. Bangla songs like jari and shari  are presented accompanied with dance of both male and female performers.


Jatra:  
Jatra (Folk Drama) is another vital chapter of Bangalee culture. It depicts mythological episodes of love and tragedy. Legendary plays of heroism are also popular, particularly in the rural areas. In near past jatra was the biggest entertainment means for the rural Bangalees and in that sense for 80% of the population since the same percentage of the population lived in rural Bangladesh . Now-a-days jatra has been placed in the back seat in the entertainment era. Gradually western culture is occupying the place of traditional culture like jatra. 


Traditional Transportation Means:
There are some transportation means that are parts of culture of Bangladesh . In rural areas bullock carts, buffalo carts and tomtoms (horse carts) are commonly used. In old Dhaka once tomtom was a common vehicle and still it is found, though rare. Bicycles are used both in rural and urban areas. Palki (a box-like vehicle carried on shoulders by six men) is a wedding transportation means. Palki carries the brides to the bridegrooms’ places. Being a land crisscrossed by rivers, Bangladesh has a wide-ranged tradition of ferry transport. Wooden boat popularly called nawka is a vital means of rural communication. Rickshaw is a very common vehicle to Bangladeshis.


Clothing: 
Bangladeshi women habitually wear Sarees . Jamdani was once world famous for it’s most artistic and expensive ornamental fabric. Moslin, a fine and artistic type of cloth was well-known worldwide. Naksi Kantha, embroidered quilted patchwork cloth produced by the village women, is still familiar in villages and towns simultaneously. A common hairstyle is Beni (twisted bun) that Bangalee women are fond of. Traditionally males wear Panjabis, Fatuas and Pajamas. Hindus wear Dhuty for religious purposes. Now-a-days common dresses of males are shirts and pants.


Dhaka university, Drik, Shilpangon, Bengal foundation, Alliance Francaise, Goethe Institute, Indian cultural center and Jahangirnagar university, The British Council Bangladesh, Russian Cultural Centre, Shommilito Sanskaritik Jyote and Bangladesh Kobita Porishad play a vital role of cultural exhibition and cultivation.

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