Sumana Akter stands in the midlle of a busy Dhaka thoroughfare and screams. She invites everyone to scream.
Akter questions why people can be passive when the civil liberties that have been so recently hard won and the environment that is crucial to survival are both under threat.
“While living in conflict and terrorism, we have become so tolerant that we are
unresponsive even in extreme hostile contradictions. We do not question
ourselves of our inactiveness or impotence. No more silence, in the
Shaheed Minaar with candles in hand, or even the human chain. Let's all
scream in chorus, scream out for people, for nature, for the environment and
for the animals, to live, not just to survive.”
Akter has performed this work several times since 2018.
Sumana Akter (1983) is a Dhaka-based artist, founder of the Daag Art Station and a lecturer at the Narayanganj Fine Art Institute in Bangladesh. Key themes in Akter’s work are environmental destruction, gender violence and state & societal repression. Akter uses a range of mediums including video, performance, stitch and drawing/painting. She often invites the audience to participate in her work, which is often playful or an act of protest. Akter has performed her piece “Scream” to passers by in the streets of one of the worlds most condensed cities, Dhaka.
“The ideas of these works are centered on my being but their expressions are universal. As I attempt to express myself in my work, our society finds an expression instead.
Born and brought up in a small town I have to struggle constantly with city life, and I am still struggling against the conventional ideas of life.
My artwork takes a critical view of social, environment, political and cultural issues. I often try to reference the history of my territory; my work explores the varying relationships between culture and engages subjects as diverse as the civil rights movement.
While I use a variety of materials and processes in each project my methodology is consistent. Although there may not always be material similarities between the different projects they are linked by recurring formal concerns and through the subject matter. The subject matter of each body of work determines the materials and the forms of the works. Most of the time I try to focus on logistical matters, urgent and immediate issues focusing on my performance, video and installation.
Nature gives whatever human beings want from Her, and She punishes us for our deeds – this is my belief.”