BY SHAHIDUL ALAM | November 11, 2014

It is always tough living up to the Chobi Mela hype, but CMVIII promises to be our finest yet. Starting on the 23rd January 2015, this action packed fortnight long festival has again some of the finest work from every continent. 32 print shows and a video projection spread across the six galleries in Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (The Academy of Fine and Performing Arts), the two galleries each at Drik, the Alliance Française and the newly built Daily Star-Bengal Arts Precinct, the National Museum, the leafy outdoor location of Bokultola at the Faculty of Fine Arts, the happening Britto Arts Trust and the exciting locations by the riverside in Old Dhaka - the quaint Beauty Boarding, the colonial architecture of Northbrook Hall and the charming Bulbul Lalitakala Academy make up the gallery exhibits. Yet again, a smaller version of the entire festival prepares to tour the city in ricksha vans, taking the galleries to the public.

The range is staggering. Big names like Shirin Neshat, Larry Towell and Simon Norfolk will rub shoulders with previously unseen student work, which have pushed their way into the mix through sheer quality. There is always a demographic shift, and the large number of interesting shows from countries in the former Soviet block are one of the surprises in this edition. As always, artists have taken liberty in interpreting the theme “Intimacy” and the resulting collection is a kaleidoscope that ranges from the hilarious, to the quirky, to the profound, the provocative and the reflective.

Lectures, panel discussions, artist talks, gallery walks, workshops and portfolio reviews make up some of the activities, most of which will be streamed live to a global audience. There will also be educational programmes. . 

For those of you who can’t make it, make sure you watch it live at and follow us online at:


And the lucky ones who’ll be here, book your flights early, the seats are filling up!

Shahidul Alam
Festival Director
Chobi Mela VIII