Press Review
1 Chobi Mela starts in city Pierre’s photos on display
Life is unfortunately too real for circus artistes
Biggest Media Event in Asia, Chobi Mela II Opens in Dhaka
Photographs home in on circuses
The surviving dreams of circuses
The surviving dreams of circuses
Naeem Huque, News Week, 5 May 2004
A Photo book by Pierre Claquin was officially launched in Dhaka at the Alliance Française last Sunday. The book, titled "Surviving Dreams: The struggling circuses of Bangladesh," features photographs taken at circuses around the country over the last two years. The French Ambassador to Bangladesh, Michel Lummaux, was present as the Guest of Honour at the ceremony.

In his speech, the Ambassador reflected on an experience involving circuses in Bangladesh, "We were talking about circuses in this country with a couple of people, both Bangladeshis, whose immediate response was, 'There are circuses in Bangladesh?' This was followed by their stating that any photographs taken must have been at least thirty or forty years old, as possibly there couldn't be any existing circuses left. It was astounding at the people's complete ignorance of the matter, but it also reflected the fact that the popularity of circuses were on a wane."

On this decrease in interest, Pierre Claquin said, "Compared to a decade ago, circuses now utilise a different outlook altogether. Most of the shows performed during the day follow the usual standards, but the night shows are different. The night shows combine the regular acts with those of traditional Bangladeshi Jatra. The focal point here is pretty girls and women wearing skimpy outfits. Obviously the only audience will be men, and hence the circus is forced to lose its appeal as a family place." He added, "I hope that this book will work as an encouragement for people to visit these circuses. Without further public response, they may die out, taking with them decades of tradition."

The book features black and white snap-shots of life and work in the circus. "I used black and white film for this project because, especially in the case of circuses, it is very easy to be distracted by colours," said the photographer. The book will be on sale at the Alliance Française, on Mirpur Road in Dhanmondi, and at Tribal Craft, located at Road 7A in Banani.