Banglafest 2013

Independence day celebrations in the capital

Posted: 04.03.13

So far 2013 is proving an exciting year for Bangladeshi art and culture in the UK.
Last month, Oitii-jo, a three day festival was held at the Southbank celebrating the countries past, present and future through creative medium; this month the Rich Mix in London has programmed a season of events to mark the 42nd anniversary of Bangladesh Independence.

A packed programme combining visual arts, theatre, poetry, dance and music will explore Bangladesh Independence and what this means to the current generation of British Bangladeshi artists and performers. The Borough of Tower Hamlets, where the Rich Mix is based has been home to the Bangladeshi community even before Independence was gained in 1971 – and it continues to be by far one of the largest communities of British Bangladeshis living in the UK.

The BanglaFest programme feature music workshops, live storytelling and dance. On Bangladesh Independence Day itself, the Rich Mix’s main space will host a free event featuring traditional and modern performances and special invited speakers. The following Saturday, 30th March, will see Mitali Arts Group and the Swadhinata Trust telling the story of the struggle to achieve independence through poetry, music and dance.

One of the highlights is an exhibition by artist Sanchita Islam, the first major retrospective of a female British Bangladeshi artist. Speaking about the season, Rich Mix’s Head of Programming, Oliver Carruthers, said: ‘Our programme and mission is directly influenced by the rich and vibrant communities of Tower Hamlets, so we are very excited to be offering so many events – many of them free to attend.’

BanglaFest Programme

Sanchita Islam (exhibition) The Rebel Within 
Thu 7 March – Sun 28 April - Free

Artist, writer and filmmaker Sanchita Islam lives and works in East London. She is the founder of Pigment Explosion, set up to produce live art events around Brick Lane. This extensive mid-career retrospective will include:

Opening Night Exhibition featuring spectacular scroll artworks thirty-foot long 
 Projected films and artwork from 25 years of Sanchita Islam’s career
Screening of animation The White Wall followed by a Q&A (Sun 21 April)
 Public doodle room (live drawing installation open to the public every day)
Poetry performances

Live debate: Where are all the British Asian Artists? (Sat 20 April)

This exhibition is supported by: London Print Shop, The Arts Council, The London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Tales of the Sunderban
 Sun 3 March 11am - 12pm / Free / Upstairs 
Storytelling for the whole family, bringing alive the joy and drama of the Bangladeshi jungles.

The Tiger and the Moustache
 Sun 3 March 7.30pm - 8.45pm / £10, £7 student or concs / Upstairs

An extraordinary one man show, weaving together storytelling, theatre and live music with a healthy amount of humour.

From Bengal to Bethnal Green – Grand Union Orchestra
 Sun 10 March 2pm - 6pm / Free / Main Space

Family-friendly workshops and performances of traditional Bengali music with a modern East London twist.

SAWCC Presents International Women’s Month 
Fri 15 March 6.30pm till late / £7, £5 student or concs / Upstairs

The South Asian Women’s Creative Collective celebrate IWM with their mix of visual art and live music.

Limelight Film Night 
Sun 17 March 7pm / Free / Main space / Unreserved limited seating
Limelight Films, founded by British Bangladeshi Film-maker Munsur Ali, host their regular monthly showcase and networking event for young creative talent.

Shapla Salique 
Fri 22 March 7.30pm / Free / Main Space

One of the most talented British Bangladeshi performers, Shapla Salique and her band fuse Bengali folk with jazz, pop, funk and soul.

Akademi presents Amina Khayyam
 Sat 23 March 7.30pm - 9.30pm / Free / Upstairs

Celebrate the majesty and grace of Bangladeshi dance with a captivating solo performance by Amina Khayyam.

Bangladesh Independence Day
 Tue 26 March 6.30pm / Free / Main Space 

42 years on from Bangladesh’s liberation, Rich Mix hosts an evening of guest speakers, VIP guests, modern and traditional performances. A very special opportunity for our Bangladeshi community to come together, open to all.

Mitali Arts Group - Independence Day Of Bangladesh Celebration 
Sat 30 March 3pm - 7pm / Free / Main Space

Mitali Arts Group explore the story behind the struggle to achieve independence through poetry, music and dance. 

All events take place at The Rich Mix. Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London 

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