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As Drik as Possible
ASM Rezaur Rahman, Binimoy Printers Ltd., Emad Uddin, Md. Main Uddin, Md. Mostafa Sorower,
Md. Moinul Hassan, Nazmul Hasan...
A behind the scenes glimpse at a remarkable media phenomenon:
The dot matrix Olivetti printer was noisy. The XT computer c...
"Our people are driven by a terrible sense of deficiency. When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught,
and the last r...
*Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net
PoetJasimuddin’sbirthday
Convinced that ensuring professi...
History has always been written by the victor and Drik has taken concrete steps to rewrite our distorted
history. While th...
*Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net
PoetJibananandaDas’birthday
International Mother
Language...
Drik works with a network of talented photographers who are rooted to their communities. Local culture,
indigenous practic...
*Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net
PoetLalon’sSadhu-Songho
InternationalWomen’sDay
Birthday ...
Photographers from the majority world have refused to become circumscribed by western stereotypes and
have tried to provid...
*Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net
WorldHealthDay
InternationalDayforthe
EliminationofChildL...
Breaking news has been the domain of big budget wire agencies. DrikNews challenges this monopoly by
providing news as it h...
*Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net
PoetKaziNazrulIslam’s
birthday
WorldMother’sDay
May Day W...
“I feel like a mermaid. My body tells me that I am a man but my soul tells me that I am a woman. I am like
a flower, a flowe...
*Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net
JahanaraImam’sdeath
anniversary
Santalrebellion(1855)
Wor...
In a world obsessed with acquisition, emulating a consumer culture has become the criterion for
development, Drik has look...
*Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net
*Eid-ul-Fitr *Eid-ul-Fitr *Eid-ul-Fitr*Shab-e-Qadr
Drik h...
Photographer Vicky Roy explores the uncomfortable relationship that nature shares with man-made
structures that have emerg...
*Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net
National Mourning Day
Hiroshima Day (1945)
National Day o...
Despite its material limitations, Drik has had the friendship and love of some of the greatest contemporary
minds. Banglad...
*Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net
*Eid-ul-Azha *Eid-ul-Azha*Eid-ul-Azha
Drik Day
Some of th...
Knowing we could not work in isolation, Drik’s photographers responded to humanitarian needs across the
globe. An exhibiti...
*Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net
FakirLalonShah’sdeath
anniversary
*Durga Puja *Ashura
Buo...
Drik’s “No More” campaign, set up to bring an end to government authoritarianism, began with an exhibition on extra-
judic...
*Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net
InternationalDayforthe
EliminationofViolence
AgainstWomen...
Social justice has been the core ethos of Drik’s existence. Its belief in people power, central to its being.
After years ...
*Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net
*Eid-e-Milad-un Nabi
Christmas Day
PathshalaDay
Victory D...
Drik
House 58, Road 15A (New), Dhanmondi
Dhaka 1209, Bangladesh
Tel.: +880-2-9120125, 8141817, 58153087
Email: office@drik...
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As Drik as Possible

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Drik's 2016 calendar, commemorating 25 years of Drik. Stunning photographs, captivating text.

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As Drik as Possible

  1. 1. As Drik as Possible
  2. 2. ASM Rezaur Rahman, Binimoy Printers Ltd., Emad Uddin, Md. Main Uddin, Md. Mostafa Sorower, Md. Moinul Hassan, Nazmul Hasan, Qumrunnaher Hossain Kali, Rahnuma Ahmed, Reshad Kamal, Saiful Islam, Shahidul Alam, Shabnam Siddique were involved in the production of this calendar. Cover Photo: © Pablo Corral Vega. © Suman Kanti Paul Drikbashi, the famiy members of Drik, are the people who have kept the torch lit. Their skill, their passion and their belief in the values of an egalitarian society is the core strength of the organisation.
  3. 3. A behind the scenes glimpse at a remarkable media phenomenon: The dot matrix Olivetti printer was noisy. The XT computer came without a hard drive: two floppy disks uploaded the operating system. When the electricity went (as it often did), we had to reload it. Our bathroom doubled as our darkroom. A clunky metal cabinet housed our prints, slides, negatives and files. Md. Anisur Rahman and Abu Naser Siddique were our printers; I was photographer, manager, copy editor and part-time janitor. Cheryle Yin-Lo, an Australian who had read about us in a western magazine, joined as our librarian. We offered and she happily accepted a local salary. My partner Rahnuma Ahmed often got roped in when we were short-staffed. That was 25 years ago. Little experience and zero cash rarely got in the way: we started publishing from day one. Postcards, bookmarks (often using offcuts from the press) and even a company calendar were produced by friendly printers who printed on credit. Residents of Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, used to seeing flowers, pretty women, mosques and waterfalls, suddenly woke up to social messages in black and white on their wall calendars. It worked, and we were able to sell them door-to-door and pay back the printers – until there was a flood and half our stock got inundated. Tired of being pitied for our poverty, and do-gooder attempts to ‘save’ us, we had decided to become our own storytellers. And did we have stories to tell! Our agency Drik, grew, and we picked up many loyal friends and several powerful enemies along the way. Knowing we had to compete with better-resourced entities in the west, we set up the nation’s first email network using Fidonet. Banglarights, our human rights portal, annoyed the government; our telephone lines were switched off for 30 months. Our exhibitions, political and often critical of the establishment, got turned down by mainstream galleries, so we built our own. The government sent riot police to close down our shows on several occasions. Being stabbed in the street, arrested, and generally persecuted became some of the more troubling after-effects of our activism, but a nationwide campaign to reopen our gallery, and a court ruling in our favour, convinced us that the person on the street was on our side. That was all the ammunition we needed. Along the way, we had set up a photo school, Pathshala, now recognized as being among the finest in the world. We also set up a photo festival, Chobi Mela. Again, a highlight of the Asian cultural calendar. Geed up by what we’d achieved in Bangladesh, we set our sights on challenging the global world order. Majority World was born, a platform for local photographers from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East with their own stories to tell. Activism didn’t pay the bills though and competing in the market place, often with professionals we ourselves had trained, required us to remain cutting edge. Clients cared less for ‘good intentions’ than they did for good delivery and value for money. It was comforting therefore when a prestigious international client, mentioned in the ‘special instruction’ section that she wanted the work to be “As Drik as possible.” As the organisation grew, we needed better management, stricter controls, increased efficiency and lower costs. This led to a culture shift which didn’t come easily to a group that had grown up like a family and had gotten used to working in a particular way. Our new CEO reminded us, that producing the perfect product was gratifying, but getting it to market on time and within budget, was just as important. Drik today is a role model for the majority world, but a world that is changing. Twenty five years ago, it made sense to start from the ground up. Today we tap into fine professionals we ourselves have groomed, and take them to the international arena. Long term strategy, succession plans and a more global vision are the concerns of the day. It’s a lean, agile and creative organisation run by a younger team, ready for tomorrow. Drik’s ultimate strength however, has been the people who have rallied around us. This includes the people who work here, but goes way beyond it. People, all across the globe, across all conventional barriers, who have believed in us, and stood by us, in the many difficult moments we’ve shared, through many dark nights and days. We owe our very survival to them. Some we have lost forever. Others have stayed away from the limelight, happy to bask in our success from afar. While they have never wanted or expected anything in return, we shall remain indebted to them. This publication is a tribute to them all. AsDrikasPossible Shahidul Alam
  4. 4. "Our people are driven by a terrible sense of deficiency. When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money." Alanis Obomsawin. © Abir Abdullah from his series on climate change Harnessing the power of photography
  5. 5. *Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net PoetJasimuddin’sbirthday Convinced that ensuring professional standards in mainstream media was a prerequisite for building a democratic and pluralistic environment, Drik undertook professional training for regional journalists. Working with Panos South Asia, Drik set up a temporary picture desk at the leading English Daily, the Daily Star. Participants from Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh worked with Sri Lankan photographer Dominic Sansoni and Dutch picture editor Nicole Robbers to change the visual approach of Bangladeshi newspapers. The need for quality photographic training also led to the formation of Pathshala, the South Asian Media Institute, now considered one of the finest schools of photography in the world. Abir Abdullah, was a student of the first batch in Pathshala. © Anonymous
  6. 6. History has always been written by the victor and Drik has taken concrete steps to rewrite our distorted history. While the disasters of the garment industry are well known, the fact that the finest fabric ever made was the muslin from Bengal, has often been overlooked. Drik has taken on the challenging task of writing the history of Bengal muslin and reviving a lost craft and heritage. A book, exhibition and film opening this month, make up the muslin festival organised by Drik. © Tapash Paul The past and the present
  7. 7. *Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net PoetJibananandaDas’birthday International Mother Language Day Lessons from the past, are often the guidebooks to the future. Through in-depth analysis and rigorous research, Drik has critiqued and drawn inferences from the recent political history of the nation. Through presenting facts and connecting the dots, the publication department has brought out numerous high quality publications that provide rare insights into the complex undercurrents and political intrigue that the nation is immersed in. Author: Rahnuma Ahmed. © Shahidul Alam
  8. 8. Drik works with a network of talented photographers who are rooted to their communities. Local culture, indigenous practice and untold stories are brought to the fore. They enrich a fine collection at the Drik library, the first photo library in Bangladesh and one of the earliest in the region. © Naima Perveen Nurturing the storytellers
  9. 9. *Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net PoetLalon’sSadhu-Songho InternationalWomen’sDay Birthday of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman In the analogue days of transparencies and cupboards, Drik’s librarian Foizun Nessa Begum Shilpi files away tagged and keyworded images in archival sleeves. © Abir Abdullah
  10. 10. Photographers from the majority world have refused to become circumscribed by western stereotypes and have tried to provide a more nuanced, complex and holistic understanding of our cultures. Munem Wasif’s observations on Islam is informed by his own growing up in a Muslim family that seamlessly embraced many rites, characteristic of other religions. Part of Wasif’s series “In God We Trust”. Wasif studied at Pathshala, and worked at DrikNews. He is currently with the agency VU. © Munem Wasif Challenging the stereotypes
  11. 11. *Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net WorldHealthDay InternationalDayforthe EliminationofChildLabour Bangla New Year RanaPlazacollapse Setting up Chobi Mela, the first photo festival in Asia, was one of the many initiatives of Drik. Aware that galleries are elitist spaces, the organisation ensured that alongside high quality seminars and presentations by the worlds’ finest professionals, there would also be events for the public. Mobile exhibitions of the festival went to football fields, school grounds, bazaars and other public places, ensuring no one would be left out of Drik’s events. © Md. Main Uddin
  12. 12. Breaking news has been the domain of big budget wire agencies. DrikNews challenges this monopoly by providing news as it happens, through an online delivery system to mainstream media nationally and internationally. However, it doesn’t restrict itself to ‘big’ news stories defined by mainstream political interest, but also provides, through its country-wide network of rural correspondents, stories of rural Bangladesh. © Anonymous Beyond the headlines
  13. 13. *Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net PoetKaziNazrulIslam’s birthday WorldMother’sDay May Day WorldPressFreedomDay *Buddha Purnima *Shab-e-Barat PoetRabindranathTagore’s birthday Unfettered by party affiliation or corporate control, DrikNews consistently provides news photographs which are of public interest regardless of the vested interest of the power elite. © Ranak Martin
  14. 14. “I feel like a mermaid. My body tells me that I am a man but my soul tells me that I am a woman. I am like a flower, a flower that is made of paper. I shall always be loved from a distance, never to be touched and without a smell to fall in love with.” Heena (52). © Shahria Sharmeen from her series on transexuals Humanising the other
  15. 15. *Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net JahanaraImam’sdeath anniversary Santalrebellion(1855) WorldEnvironmentDay PoetSufiaKamal’sbirthday WorldRefugeeDay Once, one of the few galleries in the country that would showcase photography, and still the only one prepared to directly critique the military or other powerful establishments, the Drik gallery has inspired others to follow suit. None more so than Pathshala, originally its education wing, but now an independent educational institution. Pathshala maintains Drik’s political engagement, but has also extended the medium of photography, particularly in its curatorial approach. 1134: Lives not numbers was a moving testament to the garment workers of Rana Plaza who died in a preventable collapse of a garment factory. © Farzana Hossen. Curators Munem Wasif and Mahbubur Rahman
  16. 16. In a world obsessed with acquisition, emulating a consumer culture has become the criterion for development, Drik has looked for other sources of inspiration. The new Ecuadorian constitution enshrines rights for nature, rather than treating nature as property under the law. © Pablo Corral Vega Rights of nature and indigenous communities
  17. 17. *Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net *Eid-ul-Fitr *Eid-ul-Fitr *Eid-ul-Fitr*Shab-e-Qadr Drik has challenged Bangali supremacy. It’s “No More” campaign has highlighted injustice and repression. It’s recent show, Kalpana’s Warriors, on the abduction of an indigenous activist, uses innovative techniques to produce a unique exhibition that has received international accolade. The gallery is also known for showing work which other galleries would not dare display. © Habibul Haque
  18. 18. Photographer Vicky Roy explores the uncomfortable relationship that nature shares with man-made structures that have emerged in pristine Himalayan towns suffering from unorganised urbanisation. This massive drive is robbing these Himalayan terrains of their individuality and homogenising the landscape, leaving behind incomplete houses, worn out machinery and land slide ravaged mountains. © Vicky Roy Building peace, questioning development
  19. 19. *Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net National Mourning Day Hiroshima Day (1945) National Day of Resistance: Violence against Women (Yasmin Day) International Day of the World’s Indigenous People World Photography Day International Day for the Remembrance of Slave Trade and its Abolition Resistance to Phulbari Coal Project (Phulbari Day) International Day of the Disappeared *Janmashtami Despite its critical stand, Drik has always tried to play a constructive role in peacebuilding. In 1993, it brought the prestigious photojournalism exhibition World Press Photo to Bangladesh for the first time. Utilising Drik’s goodwill and its non partisanship towards political parties, it invited the deputy heads of the warring major political parties Dr. Badruddoza Chowdhury of the BNP (later president of Bangladesh) and Mr. Abdus Samad Azad of the Awami League (later, foreign minister), to jointly open the exhibition. A gesture the parties have never repeated. © Anonymous
  20. 20. Despite its material limitations, Drik has had the friendship and love of some of the greatest contemporary minds. Bangladesh’s much loved poet, Sufia Kamal, the founder of the country’s largest women’s organisation Mohila Porishod, was one of many literary giants who contributed with their writing. Sufia Khala (as we used to call her) wrote the introduction to Drik’s 1993 Calendar. © Shahidul Alam Sheltered by the greats
  21. 21. *Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net *Eid-ul-Azha *Eid-ul-Azha*Eid-ul-Azha Drik Day Some of the greatest photographers have participated with Drik through sharing their work, teaching at Pathshala and as artists in our festival. David Burnett, president and co-founder of Contact Press Images along with Robert Pledge, is one the many 'greats' of photography, whose work was featured in our seminal exhibition on the war of liberation in 1971 exhibition and the accompanying film and book. He also participated in several festivals and lectured at Pathshala. © Anonymous
  22. 22. Knowing we could not work in isolation, Drik’s photographers responded to humanitarian needs across the globe. An exhibition of work produced after the 2006 earthquake in Kashmir in Pakistan, produced in collaboration with the Irish NGO CONCERN, led to fund raising events in Europe, but also a book produced in English and Urdu, which were distributed in affected areas, bringing back the stories of their own lives to earthquake victims. © Shahidul Alam The wider world
  23. 23. *Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net FakirLalonShah’sdeath anniversary *Durga Puja *Ashura Buoyed by the success in Bangladesh, Drik reached out to other non-western photographers. An exhibition at the gallery of the Guardian newspaper in London demonstrated their quality and in-depth coverage. The supplement the newspaper produced provided much needed visibility.
  24. 24. Drik’s “No More” campaign, set up to bring an end to government authoritarianism, began with an exhibition on extra- judicial killings called “Crossfire”. A conceptual show depicting what those killed in “Crossfire” might have seen in their dying moments. The show was closed down by riot police, but Drik challenged the government in court, and supported by the public who protested in the streets, managed to get the show re-opened. The work made it to the front page of New York Times, was shown in Tate Modern and was used in the covers of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch publications. We also noticed a (temporary) decline in killings. © Shahidul Alam Ensuring accountability
  25. 25. *Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net InternationalDayforthe EliminationofViolence AgainstWomen NurHosseinDibosh(1987) MaulanaBhashani’sdeath anniversary(1976) Tazreenfactoryfire After the closure of yet another show at Drik Gallery, students, photographers and the general public gather at Dhaka University to form a human chain in protest. © Wahid Adnan
  26. 26. Social justice has been the core ethos of Drik’s existence. Its belief in people power, central to its being. After years of military rule, an autocratic general, Hussain Muhammad Ershad, was being removed. The people celebrated and Drik was there as a witness. 4th December 1990. © Shahidul Alam The voice of the people
  27. 27. *Government holiday, subject to sighting of the moonwww.drik.net *Eid-e-Milad-un Nabi Christmas Day PathshalaDay Victory Day WorldAIDSDay ChittagongHillTractsPeace Accord(1996) InternationalDayofPersons withDisabilities BegumRokeya’sBirthday InternationalAnti-Corruption Day InternationalHumanRightsDay IntellectualMartyrs’Day The need to harness technology for the benefit of everyone was something we appreciated early on. Drik pioneered the introduction of email to Bangladesh, spearheading the country’s digital revolution. Founding directors of Drik, Presidential Award winning scientist Dr. Kazi Abul Monsur (right) and Rokeya Padak winning educationist Dr. Quazi Anwara Monsur try out Drik’s offline Fidonet email network. © Shahidul Alam
  28. 28. Drik House 58, Road 15A (New), Dhanmondi Dhaka 1209, Bangladesh Tel.: +880-2-9120125, 8141817, 58153087 Email: office@drik.net www.drik.net Those we have loved and lost 1. Shamsur Rahman 3. Golam Kasem Daddy 4. Sufia Kamal2. Rashid Talukder 6. Aftab Ahmed 8. Azizur Rahim Peu 9. Manzoor Alam Beg7. Naib Uddin Ahmed 13. Mohammad Shafi11. Amanul Haque 14. Nawazesh Ahmed 5. Bijon Sarker 10. Md. Anisur Rahman 15. Wahidul Haque12. Jahanara Imam Photo credit: K.M. Asad Md. Main Uddin Munem Wasif Nasir Ali Mamun Shahidul Alam

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