Artist's journey from Bangladesh to Burnley

Reetu and interested visitors to her show
Reetu and interested visitors to her show

Burnley's contemporary arts loving community enjoyed an evening with an exceptional visual artist of international repute from Bangladesh.

Reetu Sattar in her performance talk held at the atmospheric Queen Street Mill, the artist shared her current work and ideas in development.

Her time-based work explores memory and loss, human resilience and the ephemerality of existence. Deeply connected to the inequalities and injustice in the everyday life of Bangladesh, she relates ever-evolving personal identities to global change.

This talk follows a recent showing of her work 'Lost Tune' at The Pavilion in Thompson Park as part of the Liverpool Biennial strategic touring programme.

'Lost Tune' was part of the Liverpool Biennial touring programme, which brings works by international artists presented at the 2018 festival of contemporary art to spaces across the North of England.

Supported with National Lottery funding through Art Council England’s Strategic Touring fund.

Super Slow Way brought artist Reetu Sattar's film, "Harano Shur" ( Lost Tune) to The Pavilion, Thompson Park in Burnley in June as part of the Liverpool Biennial Touring programme. The film documents a performance that took place in 2018 at Dhaka Art Summit that brought together many harmonium performers as a lament for the gradual disappearance of the instrument in the cultural life of Bangladesh.

The Biennial touring exhibition programme, brought works by leading international artists commissioned and presented at the 2018 festival in Liverpool to spaces across the North of England in 2019 and brought the artist over to Burnley.

Laurie Peake, Director of Super Slow Way, said: "Super Slow Way took advantage of Reetu's presence in Burnley to invite her to explore the town, meet residents and think about making a new work with them. Reetu met with a number of British Bengalis in Burnley and is interested particularly in the experience of first generation immigrants who came to work in the weaving mills and the relationship between the textile industry here and in Bangladesh, especially in Dhaka where she lives with her family.

"As a result Reetu chose Queen Street Mill to give a talk about her work and invited a cornet player to give a short performance before the talk, another traditional instrument which is increasingly rarely heard. Visitors were also given a demonstration of a working Lancashire loom, another traditional machine now rarely seen."

Former Burnley councillor and veteran community leader Mozaquir Ali said: "It was a fascinating and great performance talk which we all experienced. Through her talk and videos shown, documenting some of Reetu's recent work sophistically rendering some of the most politically controversial yet heart-wrenching issues such as the mass movement of Shahbag protest movement of 2013, demanding capital punishment for those convicted of war crimes in 1971, the mass Road safety campaign led by school children as young as 13, and the collapse of the eight-story garment factory called Plaza Rana due to structural failure that occurred in April 2013 with a death toll if 1,134 people.

"I am looking forward to working with Reetu in documenting the experience first generation of migrants from Bangladesh who worked in Lancashire textile industry."

Reetu said: "I took Burnley as an experience away from the complications of big cities, a very family friendly peaceful town, coming form Bangladesh its clean air and clear sky made me concerned about climate change and pollution in big cities like Dhaka. It was a period of reflection, I have just started to know the different communities.

"I am feeling at home finding my own communities here and looking forward to working with them to produce a piece of work with first generation of Bangladeshi migrants who worked in the cotton mills in Lancashire which will increase people's engagement in visual art."