Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Bangladesh is a mix of Buddhist, Muslim, and Hindu philosophies and traditions, and you can see its influences on its cultures.

Temples, mosques, tombs, and other religious buildings each show different architectural features and subtle artistic details outline the buildings and areas.

Zainul Abedin is one of the key leaders in painting arts, especially in the modern era. He got his break-through in his Famine Series of paintings during the 1940s. Many consider him the father of Bengali art.

However, art in Bangladesh is so integrated into everyday life that it can be seen wherever you go. Housewives in the rural areas make fans, dolls, bedcovers, wall hangings, pillow cases and other domestic textiles for the home among other things. (Bangladesh incidentally also has a thriving textile industry.) In both rural and urban areas alike, Bangladeshis like color and lots of it.

Of course the British had their influence on their art as well. However, through an act of rebellion, several artists (like Abanindranath Tagore) created a new artform by combining their traditional styles with that of Chinese and Japanese traditions. It somewhat coincided with the surge of sentiments towards independence.

Literature in Bangladesh goes back centuries. One of the most important and well-known poets from the middle ages is Alaol. The end of the 19th century began a new modern era in Bengali literature. Among the most well-known writers are Rabindranath Tagore, whose vast canon of work includes plays, poems, novels, and short stories over a period of 60-some years. He also made a name for himself in the world of paintings as well.

Journalist Shamsur Rahman is considered one of the greatest poets if the modern era, having over 60 collections of poetry under his belt.

One of the more influential poets is known as the Rebel Poet: Kazi Nazrul Islam. His poems about religious and social issues gained him popularity at a time when people from all over Bangladesh were gathering together with the goal of independence in mind. He not only is proficient at poetry but also as a song writer: having written over 3000 songs! I've got a lot of catching up to do; I'm only at 46 or 47.

Up next: Music and Dance

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