Kashef Chowdhury is born in Dhaka/Bangladesh. He works in architecture, photography and art, and has lectured and exhibited in these media. He worked as a professional photographer (1992-1998) and has an architectural studio based in Dhaka, Bangladesh since 1995. His bibliography lists self-published books – Around Dhaka (2004), The Night Of November Fifteen (2008), Plot Number Fifty Six (2009) as well as books published by Scheidegger & Spiess, Zürich and Park Books, Zürich. Kashef Chowdhury was awarded with the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2016. In 2018 he was a speaker at the Engadin Art Talks. “Materials For Exhibiton Only” at TART Zürich is his first solo show as an artist in Switzerland.
And then I saw it.
In that darkened corner, slanted against the wall, as if leaning to support its tired foot. One would hardly have seen it had it not been for the slightest shimmer from the bouncing warm lights that gave it off even as it tried to remain hidden behind a world of things.
“What is it?” I said.
The old man took forever to answer. He just looked at it. Looked as a father madly in love with his son looks when he sees him after many years.
“It’s a walking stick”.
And yet there it was, in that olden, darkened corner. Looking at me and saying nothing. Was it still tired? Or was it tired of being still?Does it remember its owner everyday? Does it still long for the hand that supported the body and the mind? Does it remember the pain?
I could hear the sounds of the soft breeze that blew the morning he left his village. Or was it a she – I could not say. Did she look back one last time or did the sounds of children just fade away?
Why did she leave? Was the family with her when she left or were they someplace else? And still: why did she leave?
There is none now who can answer, save for this stick which knows all and yet chooses to speak none. Did she cry as she left? Was it a howling painful cry that one cries when one has lost her baby? Or was it a silent cry because it was so loud that it had become silent? Was she an older person that she needed the stick or was it the weight of memory that she carried which caused the need for such a support?
Perhaps this is how the stick speaks: in questions rather than with answers. And perhaps it will speak to anyone who approaches it cautiously enough.
The world needed to see this, the world needed to feel.
extracts of a text by Kashef Chowdhury 2018
* * *
Installations and Exhibitions:
2016: To Live Is To Be Slowly Born – A Glass Labyrinth In Venice, installation, Venice Architecture Biennale, Italy
2009: Plot Number Fifty Six, installation, Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts, Dhaka, Bangladesh
2005: Impressions 0505, solo photography exhibition, Drik Gallery, Dhaka, Bangladesh
2005: Places, Spaces, solo photography exhibition, Goethe Institut, Dhaka, Bangladesh
2004: 748, installation, Goethe Institut, Dhaka, Bangladesh