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Year: 2011 Type: Article Language: English

Walking down the streets of Dhaka – or anywhere in Bangladesh for that matter – popular expressions of matters of faith, specifically Islam, strike the eye. Painted on public transport vehicles such as trucks, three-wheeled auto taxis or bicycle rickshaws, painted on walls and minarets of mosques, paintings and calligraphy dot the landscape. While Islamic expressions are normally associated with high art forms that reflect deep spirituality and faith, or more recently with the growing politicization which is often seen as extremism or fanaticism, these popular images reflect an every day and comfortable co-existence with the faith. Eschewing the high art forms of the Mughal and Sultanate traditions of the 15th to the 18th centuries, these images reflect a more folk tradition, and an easy accommodation with religion and culture. Contemporaneously, it adds the kitschy cinematic styles, associating it with pop art and culture. Two years of taking random photographs of various features of the Bangladeshi landscape led to this collection of images, which brought to focus the connection between pop art forms and expressions of faith in Bangladesh. Vehicular art has been documented quite extensively in South Asia, including Bangladesh. The following photo essay seeks to highlight matters of faith in street art forms, which includes the vehicular.

Resource is available online though Inter-Asia Cultural Studies.

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