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11 December, 2021 08:41:28 AM

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Anne de Henning’s courageous photographs capture the ragged glory of 1971

UNB, Dhaka
Anne de Henning’s courageous photographs capture the ragged glory of 1971
Photo: UNB

Lauding French photographer Anne de Henning’s rare, historical and monumental photographs captured during the 1971 Liberation War and her unique, colourful and never seen before photographs of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, speakers on Friday said that the photographer is a true friend of Bangladesh and her courageous efforts behind capturing the history must be gloriously recognized.

The speakers shared these remarks at the inauguration ceremony of French photographer Anne de Henning’s unique solo photographic exhibition titled 'Witnessing History in the Making: Photographs by Anne de Henning', a focused presentation of rare, never before exhibited images, organized by the Samdani Art Foundation and Centre for Research and Information (CRI) at the National Art Gallery, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) in the capital.

Curated by Ruxmini Reckvana Q Choudhury, the exhibition is showcasing Henning's historical photographs which she captured between the 1971 Liberation War, witnessing the freedom of the then East Pakistan and the birth of Bangladesh - and during her second visit in 1972 where she photographed Bangabandhu giving a speech at the first Council Meeting of Awami League after the independence of Bangladesh.

Inaugurating the exhibition as the chief guest of the inaugural ceremony, State Minister for the Ministry of Cultural Affairs KM Khalid said, “This unique exhibition in the month of victory has highlighted our glorious Liberation War through the historic effort of the esteemed photographer Anne de Henning. Her remarkable archive of unseen photographs is a unique record of the pivotal years that saw East Pakistan transformed into Bangladesh, and also showcased Bangabandhu and the sacrifice of the people of Bangladesh on a different level, which we are proud to witness today.”

Echoing the same, Nasrul Hamid, State Minister for the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources and also Trustee, CRI, said that Anna de Henning's courage in capturing the photographs of the Liberation War of Bangladesh is unparalleled.

“During that crucial period, she risked her life to shed the much-needed spotlight on our Liberation War and captured our freedom through her lens. Through ventures like this, her heroic and humanitarian effort must be recognized and preserved for the next generations.”

Nadia Samdani, President of the Samdani Art Foundation, said that this exhibition is not only a homage to the eminent photographer but also intended to make the future generation enthusiastic about the inception of Bangladesh through the glorious 1971 Liberation War, which Henning had masterfully photographed.

Although Anne de Henning could not come to Bangladesh due to the pandemic situation and join the event in person, she thanked the organizers via a video message. Recalling her first encounter with the Mukti Bahini, she said, “I saw a handful of young Mukti Bahinis stepping out of their makeshift observation post flanked by a tall bamboo pole flying the green, red and yellow Bangladesh flag. They greeted me by saying with a broad smile: ‘You’re now in free Bangladesh’!”

She also recalled her second visit to Bangladesh in 1972 where she photographed some rare, colour photographs of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who was then giving a speech at the first Council Meeting of Awami League after the independence of Bangladesh. “I came specifically from Calcutta to photograph the event,” she said about that visit.

A total of 38 photographs are being exhibited in this exhibition, among which there are 11 unseen photographs of Bangabandhu. Besides, this exhibition is also showcasing other works from Anne’s archive, including photographs, from her time in India and her coverage of the Vietnam War.

The exhibition will remain open for all from December 10 to 31, 2021 at BSA’s National Art Gallery.

BK

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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