Monday 15 September 2014

The British Council develops innovative Collaborations with the Bangladeshi Cultural Sector 

The British Council, in partnership with the Bengal Foundation and the Shilpakala Academy, has brought Akram Khan’s DESH to Bangladesh on 18 and 19 September 2014.

This contemporary dance piece signifies the homecoming of this internationally acclaimed choreographer and performer. 

This is Akram Khan’s first performance of DESH in Bangladesh - a momentous occasion for both himself and his audience. 

The British Council is keen to advertise the Arts, in all their forms, as accessible, educational, inspirational exhibitions, bringing new works to new audiences. The performance will be performed at the Shilpakala Academy and will also be live screened within the Shilpakala Academy and at the TSC, Dhaka University. 

Following critically acclaimed collaborations with British artists including Sylvie Guillem, Anish Kapoor and Antony Gormley, we now celebrate Akram Khan;s homecoming. DESH is one of Khan’s most personal works to date. He created DESH, meaning ‘homeland’ in Bangla, after a year of research both in the UK and Bangladesh. At once intimate and epic, DESH explores Khan’s relationship with his homeland Bangladesh, weaving threads of memory, experience and myth into his performance as he moves between Britain and Bangladesh negotiating his dual-identity. DESH also explores the hopes and struggles of Bangladesh and its people, who are among the most economically and environmentally vulnerable in the world. 

The British Council and the Akram Khan Company have worked to engage Arts communities in Bangladesh in the days before the DESH performance. They are running a series of workshops and talks for dancers and directors – including practical sessions on developing production skills needed behind the scenes of such a large-scale performance. 

On Tuesday 16 September, at 1830, at the British Council Library, Fuller Road, the British Council is hosting a round table discussion on ‘Why are the arts important to developing countries like Bangladesh?” The discussion will focus on the legacy of projects such as DESH in developing countries. The panel will comprise:

- Asaduzzaman Noor, Honourable Minister of Culture for Bangladesh 

- Akram Khan, 

- Luva Nahid Choudhury, Director General of Bengal Foundation, 

- Stephan Roman, Regional Director, South Asia, British Council 

Akram Khan said: “Bangladesh has always been foreign and yet very much a home to me. From the moment we decided to take on the epic and personal journey of creating DESH, we always believed that its performance belonged in Bangladesh, so I am thankful for the huge efforts of the British Council and the other partners that have joined forces to make this performance happen. The creation of DESH began in Dhaka and now finally it returns there with, I hope, a sense of maturity, humility and great love for the country.”

Brendan McSharry, OBE– Country Director British Council Bangladesh said: ‘We are delighted that our Olympic gold star dance performer is returning to Bangladesh. His art is inspiring and engaging, and he will not only perform with his DESH Company but also give some master classes. British Council is proud to say he belongs to not just both our two nations but the whole world’

Notes to Editor

For further information please contact Head of Marketing and Communications, Arshia Aziz,email:

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