An eight-day festival of traditional Bangladeshi music, dance, theatre and photography will begin on Saturday, to celebrate 40th anniversary of the country’s independence.
The event, takign place at the Rich Mix arts centre on Bethnal Green Road, is designed to engage with East London’s thriving Bangladeshi population.
Beth O’Connor, co-ordinator of the event, believes that there has been a lack of Bangladeshi art exhibited in the capital, despite the fact that fifty four per cent of Britain’s Bangladeshi population lives in London.
“We wanted to provide a bigger platform for Bangladeshi people,” she said. “Since it’s the 40th anniversary of the country’s independence, we have made a conscious effort to represent the community.”
Performances commissioned by Tara Arts theatre company have brought together music, drama and dance to depict Bangladesh’s journey to liberation, which tells the story of rebels and revolution in the build up to the Bangladesh War of Independence of 1971.
These performances are inspired by Bangladeshi novelist Tahmima Anam’s critically acclaimed first novel, A Golden Age.
A photography exhibition, curated by the Swadhinata Trust, centered around the themes of separation, war, torture, sacrifice and freedom is on show from now until 2 April.
There will also be a celebratory opening concert put together by Ershad Alamgir, featuring the talented young singer, Chandra Chakraborty.
Traditional Bengali food, community events and workshops will also be available throughout the week.
Director of Rich Mix, Jane Earl, said: “By hosting and promoting Bangladesh Independence Week we want to introduce new audiences to Rich Mix and to enable local people to understand more about their own history as well as the history of their neighbours.
“By bringing communities together in East London, we can celebrate and promote the culture and heritage of all the myriad communities living here.”
For more information visit www.richmix.org.uk