Chobi Mela International Photography Festival

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'Chobi Mela' is a biennial international festival of photography held in Dhaka, Bangladesh.[1][2][3] It is the largest festival of photography held in Asia. Chobi Mela VIII will take place at the end of January 2015. The theme is "Intimacy." [4] The key organisers are Drik Picture Library Ltd. and Pathshala (The South Asian Institute of Photography). Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam is the director of Chobi Mela.

Chobi Mela is considered to have the most diverse participation of any such exhibition in the world. While most major festivals are situated in the West or are organised by European organisations, Chobi Mela is unique in having been developed and launched in South Asia and has now gained respectability through the variety and quality of the work exhibited. Chobi Mela V featured 63 exhibitions from 33 participating countries, spanning all continents of the globe.

The outreach programme consisted of mobile exhibitions which went to schools, playgrounds, market places. The exhibitions were accompanied by community liaison staff who explained the context of the show to viewers. Visits to the exhibition by school children and guided tours by curators were also arranged. An exhibition on the plight of Bangladeshi Jute workers was shown on the walls of the courtyard of "Kalpana Boarding" a low cost motel in Old Dhaka. These programmes have been extremely successful and the model has been replicated in far flung countries, such as Bolivia, Mongolia, Sri Lanka and Tanzania.

The opening of Chobi Mela V was on 30 January 2009 at the Bangladesh National Museum where the opening was through a show on Nelson Mandela and a remarkable video conference between Mahasweta Devi and Noam Chomsky talking about the festival theme "Freedom". The video conference was moderated by Shahidul Alam.

Chobi Mela IV International festival of photography [5][6] was held in Bangladesh from 9 November to 30 November 2006. The theme was "Boundaries". With more than a thousand images, it was one of the largest photographic festivals in Asia. There were 49 exhibitions containing works by photographers from 23 countries. The show opened with a spectacular exhibition by Contact Press Images showing iconic images taken over the last thirty years.[7] Held at a time when the country was at the brink of a civil war, this remarkable festival took place when most events in Bangladesh were being called off.[8] Two major photographers Rashid Talukder of Bangladesh and Peter Magubane of South Africa were recognised with lifetime achievement awards. The awards are given as recognition to photographers who have made outstanding contribution to the field of photography.]

Chobi Mela III was held in Dhaka in 2004.[9] The theme was "Resistance".[10]

A selection of twelve exhibitions from Chobi Mela V was shown in Kathmandu as a 'mini Chobi Mela V' from 22 May 2009. 'Mini Chobi Mela V' is being organised by 'Photo Circle' in Kathmandu.[11]


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ "All Eyes On Dhaka". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  3. ^ "A rendezvous of photographers in city". Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  4. ^ "International Festival of Photography". chobimela. 2013-02-07. Retrieved 2013-05-12. 
  5. ^ "Chobi Mela IV. Nafas Art Magazine". Retrieved 2013-05-12. 
  6. ^ [2][dead link]
  7. ^ "Contact News | CHOBI MELA". 2006-11-09. Retrieved 2013-05-12. 
  8. ^ [3][dead link]
  9. ^ [4]
  10. ^ "Chobi Mela III. Nafas Art Magazine". Retrieved 2013-05-12. 
  11. ^ "Photo, Workshop, Exhibition, Publication, Archive, Gallery, Shop, Kathmandu, Nepal –". Retrieved 2013-05-12. 

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