Ever since its inauguration, the Bangabandhu Military Museum has created a buzz due to its modern architecture and impressive artefact collection. Now with the 3D art exhibition titled '3D Art World' taking place in the museum's three-storey exhibition hall, it is no surprise that more and more visitors are going there with friends and family.
The 3D art exhibition was opened to the public on October 1, 2022. When people saw content regarding the exhibition on social media, no one could guess that it was happening in Dhaka because the concept of a 3D art exhibition is entirely new in our country.
The first Director General of the museum, Brigadier General M M Moazzem Hossain, SUP (BAR), afwc, psc, shared, "Bangladeshi people visit countries like Thailand, Italy, Russia, and Australia, to see 3D art exhibitions; they also have to fork out a huge amount to do so. That's why we tried to offer the thrill of visiting a 3D exhibition to our people in Bangladesh — which is on par with international standards but costs a whole lot less."
The exhibition has been a huge success so far due to its fun appeal: within only a month of its opening, more than 15,000 people, including foreigners, have visited the exhibition.
Brigadier General Moazzem mentioned, "The museum authority always wanted to arrange an exhibition in this hall that would represent the glorious history and the diverse culture of our country."
Major Sazzad, Coordinating Officer of the museum, added, "We wanted to present our culture and heritage innovatively and intriguingly so that it appeals to the younger generations who must learn these to build the nation's future."
Third Eye Solutions Ltd., a 360-degree advertising agency, organised the exhibition. Naser Mohsin, Managing Director of the organisation, reflected on his time abroad and recalled, "I visited some live art museums in Bangkok, Dubai, and Malaysia. Those visits inspired me a lot, and I wanted to do something like that in our country."
As soon as you walk into the exhibition hall, you will notice that all the hall's walls have been painted like an ideal canvas so that it looks real, using the painting's perspective and depth. When you look closer, the paintings look alive with vivid colour and proper lighting — and the characters in the paintings slowly come out of their frames, and the stories eerily come to life.
Naser Mohsin noted that they hired local artists when designing the exhibition. He believes, "Foreign artists would not be able to preserve the local touch in the artworks painted to portray our own culture and heritage."
Shafiul Bashar Shovon, who worked as the Chief Illustration Artist at the ICC World Cup Bangladesh 2011, was the Chief Artist in this project.
Brigadier General Moazzem remarked that within our country — from Teknaf to Tetulia — we have a diverse set of cultures. The socio-cultural heritage of Chattogram Hill Tracts has unique attributes that are very different from that of North Bengal.
"We endeavoured to delineate the distinct aspects and the richness of Bangladeshi culture through this exhibition."
Major Sazzad contended, "It may not be possible for foreign travellers to explore our country within a few days. But they can catch a glimpse of our diverse culture when they visit the exhibition."
Visiting the exhibition takes you on an immersive visual journey, beginning with the representation of Bangladeshi culture on the ground floor, followed by multicultural paintings from other parts of the world on the basement floors. The museum authority also decided to display international cultures because it will clarify how distinguished Bangladeshi culture is by contrast. Currently, there are about 63 paintings in the exhibition hall.
The ground floor portrays the attributes of our national culture. You will notice the portrayals of a fisherman throwing a net in the village river to catch fish, a tea worker plucking tea in the tea garden, a farmer husking paddy in the harvesting season, a cultivator cattle ploughing the soil, and so on. All of these may look pretty mundane — but these very practices are inextricable parts of our culture because they are not common in any other part of the world.
As you take photos in front of the paintings and become a part of them, our cultural emphasis seeps into your thoughts without you even realising it. Moreover, in the Bangabandhu corner are paintings of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
There is a seat around the painting of the Father of the Nation. When you sit there, it looks as though you are having a conversation with the Father of the Nation, and only then does the painting look whole. In a sense, you are the missing element needed to complete the art.
At some stations in the basement, visitors were making scared faces in front of the paintings of Egyptian mummies. At other stations, they are posing like taking a cup of tea from tong ghor's mama.
Couples were seen taking photos, creating something like waiting for a rickshaw in the pouring rain or playing the piano in the middle of the woods at the crack of dawn.
Kids were spotted excitedly taking photos hither and thither with their favourite fictional characters like Junglebook's Mowgli and Kung Fu Panda's Po. Perhaps the most staggering painting is the one that depicts a huge wild elephant which is set in motion as soon as you pose like you are running for your life.
When you go down from basement one to basement two, you will be stunned to see the floor painting that revives the scene of floating icebergs, setting the background for the sinking Titanic ship. You will get a panoramic view of this when you get down — a large painting depicting the Titanic slowly sinking. And just beside that, there is the portrayal of the Dhaka Metro Rail. When you go further into the floor, you will see a sleeping lion's cave where you can enter without fear because, of course, the lion is not real — even though the artists made it hard to believe that!
According to Brigadier General Moazzem, the exhibition has exceeded their expectations: "We are pleased to say that we have gotten zero negative feedback so far, and Bangladeshi people are very proud that something like this has been arranged in our country."
The exhibition was initially planned to go on for six months but may be extended due to the overwhelming response of the visitors. The museum authority also pointed out that they are in talks with the organisers to make the experience more interactive by using state-of-the-art augmented reality.
The exhibition hall remains open any day of the week except Wednesday from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. However, the exhibition on Friday starts at 03:00 pm. To enter the 3D Art World, you have to purchase a 200-taka ticket. One fascinating fact about the exhibition is that every painting has a demo photograph showing how to strike a pose in front of the painting.
Moreover, there are 80 marked capture points that show just the right angle to take the photos. The good news is, there is a photo studio in the exhibition hall; you can get your photos taken, printed, and framed instantaneously by a team of professionals. There is also a snack corner and a mirror maze in the hall.