Photographer Shahidul Alam has been imprisoned by Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court for spreading “false and harmful information” against the government after remaining in police custody for seven days.
He was placed before authorities around 3pm on Sunday 12 August, and charged under section 57 of the Information and Communications Technology Act, Moshiur Rahman, deputy commissioner of police, told the Bangladeshi title The Daily Star. His lawyer and his family members were not informed about the court hearing.
In a letter submitted by investigating officer Mr Arman Ali, the 63-year-old was accused of giving “false and harmful information through Al-Jazeera, various electronic media, and his Facebook timeline, which led to deterioration of the law and order situation in the country, and created fear and terror in the minds of the public”.
Shahidul Alam, one of the world’s leading figures in photography, and a social activist who has been a harsh critic of the government in his native Bangladesh, has been arrested in Dhaka for making “provocative comments” following mass protests that have brought parts of the country to a standstill over the past week.
According to his partner, Rahnuma Ahmed, at least 30 plainclothes officers entered his home in the capital at around 10pm on Sunday, and sped him away in a car. He was officially arrested the next day. Alam had posted videos on Facebook and was interviewed by Qatar-based television station Al-Jazeera about the protests, which he said stemmed from anger about widespread government corruption, and not just the bus accident that initially sparked them.
“This isn’t something new or something connected to a particular part of the country,” says Sarker Protick, speaking about his recent work, Of River and Lost Lands, which deals with the contemporary relationship between people and nature in Bangladesh, in the context of the devastating damage and loss of land caused each year during monsoon season. “The seasonal rising and falling of the many rivers in our country is part of our culture. It’s the first thing we learn at school; we are a country of rivers. Music, poetry, philosophy, folklore, religion – all have key elements connected to the river.” Protick’s photographs, on show at Hamburg Triennial of Photography as part of Enter, curated by Emma Bowkett and Krzysztof Candrowicz, were all made along the powerful Padma River. “When the famous Ganges flows over the border from India into Bangladesh, it becomes the Padma; a river that many along its banks depend on for their livelihood, but paradoxically the river is also the main cause of destruction.”
Born in Australia in 1969, Patrick Brown lived in the Middle East and Africa before his family settled in Perth, Australia. Drawn to documentary photography, and influenced by the images of war and civil unrest from the 1980s and 90s, he returned to Africa and spent six weeks documenting the work of an Australian surgeon in Malawi. Brown joined Panos Pictures in 2003, and has shown his work in institutions such as the International Center of Photography in New York, and Visa Pour l’Image in France; he works for organisations such as The New Yorker, TIME, Newsweek, National Geographic, GEO Germany, OXFAM, Human Rights Watch, and The Red Cross. Brown focuses on documenting issues across Asia, and has been nominated for the World Press Photo of the Year for an image showing the bodies of Rohingya refugees laid out after the boat in which they were attempting to flee Myanmar capsized about eight kilometers off Inani Beach, near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. BJP: Your image is quite oblique, you have to look again to see what’s actually being shown. Why …
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Launched on 11 December, a brand new biannual, Clove, has a refreshing take on art and culture. Founded by London-based, British-Indian journalist Debika Ray, the magazine focuses on creative work from South Asia and its global diaspora. “My impression was always that, in Western media, there was a narrow frame of reference when it came to covering parts of the world beyond North America and Europe,” says Ray, who until recently was senior editor at the architecture and design magazine Icon. “Stories from South Asia or the Middle East are often handled in a distant way, focusing on problems or crises and how people battle against odds to overcome things. I wanted to tell stories from those parts of the world in a way that were instead built on their own merit.”
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What Remains, which won 2nd Prize in Daily life, Stories in World Press Photo announced today, is a touching portrait of a Bangladeshi couple struggling with old age. Sarker Protick, their grandson, relies on subtlety, simplicity and visual minimalism to draw the viewer into their realm and elicit sympathy. The outcome comes as an inevitable shock. “I find it intriguing how things change with time in our life – relationships and surroundings as well as how we live on with death, loss, disappearance and all that remains,” says Protick. “By default a photograph stores the past, but it also has the ability to project itself in the future. Somewhere there’s a point where time doesn’t work linearly anymore. Timelessness, that’s the point I want to reach.” Protick didn’t set out to be a photographer but in late 2008, while he was studying for a BA in marketing, his mother gave him a cell phone with a built-in camera. He started taking pictures of anything and everything, especially his friends, and once he graduated, enrolled at Pathshala, the South …