Ansar Ahmed Ullah
London 1971 a Photography exhibition came to an end on 20 August following a three day exhibition at National Art Gallery, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka. British High Commissioner Ms Alison Blake graced the occasion as chief guest.
Background to the exhibition was London which was witness to Bangladesh’s’ Liberation War. When the war broke out in Bangladesh expat Bengalis played an active role as pro liberation activists. They called for independent Bangladesh and raised awareness in British cities during the long nine months of war.
Though living in a foreign land, many people jolted the street of Britain longing for independent Bangladesh. British Parliament Members, politicians, journalists, social workers and students played a unique role in gaining public support for independent Bangladesh along with the Bengalis. Members of Women’s Association gave memorandum to the British Prime Minister on 3 April. An exhibition based on the book showcasing the first eight stamps and envelopes of independent Bangladesh was held in the House of Commons on 26 July. A huge gathering for Bangladesh took place in London’s Trafalgar Square coordinated by Action Bangladesh on 1 August.
Steering Committee of the action committees, the Regional Action Committees, Student Action Committee, Women’s Associations in the UK, Bangladesh Medical Association in the UK, Action Bangladesh and Operation Omega played vital role in establishing public opinion and gathering ‘Bangladesh Fund’.
The project is the work of seven years research in the UK by Ujjal Das, Founder and Coordinator, Project London 1971
He said, ‘I came to know about British photographer Roger Goyen during this study. Many of his rare photographs bear the testimony of the unseen moments of our liberation war. The photographs of Yusuf Chowdhury should also be recognized. I have gathered many paper cuttings of Bengali and English newspapers, posters, leaflets etc as well.’
A digital archive www.london1971.com is going to be published soon which contains the information on the liberation war of Bangladesh through the venture ‘Project London 1971.
This exhibition titled ‘London 1971’ incorporates those exclusive photographs of that time. The exhibition was held with the assistance of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Liberation War Affairs of Bangladesh Government, Liberation War Museum, Dhaka University, Bangladesh Shilpokala Academy, Bangladesh High Commission in London, the Swadhinata Trust, The Ethnic Minority Original History and Research Centre in the UK, Secular Movement in the UK, fortnightly Brick Lane, Bangladesh Old Photo Archives, Magic Kids and various medias.