Kushtia is a small district in the Southwest region of Bangladesh. From February 11 to 13 this year the area played host to a three-day-long arts festival, the inaugural Kushtia Arts Festival, organized by the Kushtia Art Festival Committee. The festival was inaugurated by veteran photographer Abdul Hamid Raihan, and chief guest, the eminent painter and retired professor, Samarjit Roy Choudhury.
The region of Kushtia, once a part of British Bengal in the colonial period, has a rich tradition of art and culture. Indeed, the area is known as the one-time home of Nobel prize-winning poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941), as well as Lalon Fakir (c.1744–1890), a renowned exponent of Bengali Baul devotional music, through which he passed on his spiritual philosophies. This inaugural festival also builds on such traditions.
Apart from the formal exhibition of artworks by more than one hundred artists working in a variety of plastic media, other parts of the program included a seminar on children’s art and creativity, traditional cultural performances, contemporary performance art and site-specific installations. Featuring artists from around the country, the festival brought a lively fair-like atmosphere to Kushtia city throughout the three days.