Made in Rana Plaza: Dilara Begum Jolly’s Garment Factory-themed Art

Pencil drawing of four different fabrics with sanskrit and a portrait of a man on the top one. There is an abstract face crying in the upper right corner.
Dilara Begum Jolly, Threads of Testimony, 2015 , ink on paper

Join us on Tuesday, October 22, at 5:30pm, for a talk by Melia Belli Bose on artist Dilara Begum Jolly’s use of art as cultural activism. This talk is co-sponsored by the Art History, Asian Studies, International Affairs, and Gender Studies Departments.

For over three decades, contemporary Bangladeshi multi-media artist Dilara Begum Jolly (b. 1960) has critiqued abuses against women, both within her country and globally, through her work. In response to the devastating 2013 collapse of Rana Plaza (an eight-story garment factory in Dhaka that killed over 1,100 workers) Jolly created a series of highly affective artworks (videos, collages, installations, and saris) that speak truth to the powers that sustain the global ready-made garment industry, including factory management, corporations, and consumers. In this talk, Melia Belli Bose presents Jolly’s recent garment factory-themed artworks as cultural activism. With their incorporation of workers’ effects Jolly salvaged from Rana Plaza, many of the works are haunting and visceral. The artist notes her goal for these works: if strong enough, such a reaction may inspire viewers to buy more ethically and demand grass-roots changes, thus transforming her art into a small but powerful act of resistance to a global system of structural violence.

About the Speaker

Melia Belli Bose is the Associate Professor of Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Victoria. Melia is a specialist in the visual cultures of early modern and contemporary South Asia. She received her PhD in 2009 from the University of California, Los Angeles and her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Melia has spent several years in different parts of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, studying languages, conducting research, and hiking in the Himalayas. Her research and language study have been supported by the American Institute of Indian Studies, the Asian Cultural Council, and the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies.

This event is free and open to the public.

Collapsed cement building with swarms of people surrounding the ruin.
The former garment factory, Rana Plaza, outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh, which collapsed in 2013 killing 1134 workers
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