Close-up of Bangladesh in a new book: far away, so close
On Wednesday, 17 December, 2014, 5:30 PM, Kaunas Photography Gallery (Vilniaus str. 2, Kaunas) will host a launch of KAUNAS PHOTO publication, Khaled Hasan‘s (Bangladesh) “Leave me alone”. The event is free entrance. Visitors will be able to acquire books at a special price.
“Leave me alone” tells a painful story about acid attacks on people. Acid violence is a worldwide phenomenon, and the countries with the highest rates of acid attacks are Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cambodia, Nepal and Uganda. In Bangladesh, a country of 156 million people, 80 percent of the victims are women, many of them below the age of 18. It is always their faces that are targeted leading to disfigurement and blindness. In the last 10 years, there were 3000 victims of acid attacks.
Khaled Hasan (born 1981, Dhaka, Bangladesh) began working as a photographer in 2001. At a young age he adopted photography as a part of his identity—a force that makes him think, feel and understand human beings and the human condition. As an indigenous photographer, he tells narratives of the land that shaped him. Stories about its people and their interaction with nature, healing and surviving in times of distress, toiling for food, and standing against injustice are the primary issues featured in his works.
Khaled has worked as a freelance photojournalist for magazines in Bangladesh and in other countries, publishing his works in the New York Times, Sunday Times Magazine, American Photo, National Geographic Society, Better Photography, Saudi Aramco World Magazine, The Guardian, Telegraph, The Independent, etc. He has exhibited his works across the world: in UK, Mexico, Russia, Syria, France, Uzbekistan, Canada, USA and China.
With “Leave Me Alone”, Khaled Hasan became the winner of KAUNAS PHOTO STAR 2012 on-line portfolio review competition. On portfolio review platform folioPORT.org, his work was voted as number one among around hundred photographers by 48 photography experts from 5 continents. “Leave Me Alone” book is the award of the competition.
The book, measuring 22×22 cm and 64 pages, contains 35 black and white photographs and a self-portrait by Khaled Hasan. Texts were written by the author of photographs, Khaled Hasan, director of centre “Moters Pagalba Moteriai” (Woman to Woman) Ernesta Butkuvienė, director of Latvian Museum of Photography Maira Dudareva.
In her text, Ernesta Butkuvienė points out that despite huge distance to Bangladesh and the problems of their women, we, who live in the West, ingore how important are women of Bangladesh to us. While buying garments in trendy shops across Europe and America, we miss the fact that the clothes we wear often have been produced by the hands of women of Bangladesh.
Seeking to emphasize the violent nature of the problem discussed in Khaled Hasan’s work and our personal link to it, editor and designer of the book Mindaugas Kavaliauskas introduced cover and end pages that do not contain photographs by photographer. Instead, the front and back covers of the book are illustrated by drastic effect of nitric and sulfuric acid on sheets of paper. The front cover of the book bears a beveled title “Leave Me Alone”, a part of the stitching by photographer’s mother Anwara Begum, that appears as a picture on the starting pre-page of the book. The final end-page of the book shows a compilation of proofs of the proximity of Bangladesh to the Western world, a matrix of samples of garment of one Lithuanian family, purchased in Europe or USA and produced in Bangladesh.
Publishers of the book and organisers of “KAUNAS PHOTO” festival
VšĮ “Šviesos raštas” and Kaunas Branch of the Lithuanian Association of Photographers
Major sponsors of the festival – Lithuanian Council for Culture, Kaunas Municipality
Publication of the book was supported by VšĮ “Moters Pagalba Moteriai” (Woman to Woman) and the Ministry of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania.
Off-set printing by KOPA.eu
Visualizations of effect of acids on paper realised with the help of Kaunas University of Technology, Faculty of Chemical Technology
Special thanks to 3LAW.eu, Aušra Kargaudienė
Authors’s copies delivery to Bangladesh by UPS (UAB “Skubios siuntos”).