having a straight glimpse of acrobats and trapeze
girls in breath-striking games in a circus show are
obviously excited seeing the apparently impossible
artistry and skill of even the minor girls.
photo exhibition at the Alliance Francaise here depicts
their lives through camera lenses: highly challenging
as well as risky and far different from the life of
artists of same ages in the fields of entertainments.
is perhaps another chapter of acute problem of child
labor in Bangladesh, where thousands of minor boys
and girls are constantly being forced by various social
compulsions to earn their bread by doing different
odd jobs. In circuses, people seldom feel humanly
about the pains of minor acrobats or trapeze artistes
as their eye-catching skillful games keep them spellbound
and bemused throughout the show.
as `Chobimela II,' the organizers billed the exhibition
as the first festival of Photography in Asia and one
of the most exciting ventures in Bangladesh. With
around two dozens of photographs, the exhibition is
being held at Alliance Francaise here from November
17 to December 2.
Francaise, Drik Pictures Library, Goethe Institute,
Royal Norwegian Embassy, British Council, Ministry
of Cultural Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs
are jointly organizing the exhibition. French photographer
Pierre Claquin took the photographs, whose captions
speak the truth about their hard life.
day of my last six years, I have realized that if
I fall, I will die," says Eti, aged 12 years,
a trapeze artiste of the Royal Bengal Circus. The
35-year trapeze queen Moumita of the Rajmahal circus
says that she is always scared of any mistake that
will cause her mate seven years old Adhuri fall and
aged eight years is an acrobat of the New Star Circus,
fostering an ,otherwise, agony in her mind. When her
poor father divorced her mother, she could not realize
what would happen in her fate.
father divorced my mother. For the last two years,
whatever I earn goes to my mother in the village,"
she says seemingly in a lamenting expression. Koni,
aged around 12 years, had a sweet dream of going to
school but her fate brought her to the Lion Circus
to become an acrobat.
would like to go to school since I know how to write
my name. I told my father to admit me in a school
but he did not respond," she said meaning that
poverty had brought her to a circus ring, not school.
father is one of those generally want their children
stay at home to become domestic helps or work in a
rich family at least to get regular food and earn
some money. Instead of being a maid-servant often
subjected to various repressions or a street girl
falling prey to sexual abuses, she is lucky to have
been an acrobat to entertain the people in a circus
2000, Pierre Claquin was in Bangladesh, seeking to
know about the existence of circus in this country.
He learnt from the urban gentleman that circuses were
gone, finished by the intrusion of Television into
a stubborn French Breton, I went out to find out for
myself. There were 10 circuses in Bangladesh still
active by mid- 2002," he said.
most cultures, circuses have a special and almost
magical place fascinating children and adults alike,
perhaps because their shows pertain to dream and reality
at the same time. On the other hand, circus brings
nature back to the spectators: the world of wild animals
into a tamed life as well as the extremes of a human
body particularly of the dwarfs and the trapeze girls.