Christian life caught on camera inspires Bangladeshis

Exhibition and competition part of a church-run program bringing visual arts to young people
Christian life caught on camera inspires Bangladeshis

Ripon Abraham Tolentino, 23, a first prize winner at a photography competition organized by Jesuit-run youth movement, Magis Bangla in Tejgaon, Dhaka on Feb. 26. (ucanews.com photo)

More than 20 young photographers have shown what it means to be a Christian in Bangladesh via a photography competition and exhibition held in the country's capital.

Magis Bangla, a youth movement sponsored by Society of Jesus in Bangladesh, arranged the event at church-run, Bottomley Girls' High School in Tejgaon, central Dhaka on Feb. 24-26.

The event showcased 70 photos on Christian life from 28 Christian photographers including two photo essays, selected from a total of 130 photos submitted. Six photographers — both for color and black and white — received accolades for their images.

Jesuit Father Pradeep Perez, coordinator of Magis Bangla, said that they were "overwhelmed" by the feedback to the competition and exhibition.

"The response we received was more than expected. We wanted to help people contemplate Christian life through these photos for spiritual nourishment and we have succeeded," Father Perez told ucanews.com.

The priest also said that the event's achievements has inspired them to arrange a photography workshop on a similar theme.

"Before the photo exhibition we arranged a dance-drama on life of Jesus Christ using verse by the poet, Rabindranath Tagore; it was also a great success. We are trying to do innovative things with young people and our next plan organize a photography workshop on Christian life and an international film festival on Mother Teresa," Father Perez added.

 

People visit a photography competition and exhibition on Christian life and living, organized by Jesuit-run youth movement, Magis Bangla in Tejgaon, Dhaka on Feb. 26. (ucanews.com photo)

 

Ripon Abraham Tolentino, 23, who won first prize in the color photo category said the program was a great inspiration.

"This was an outstanding event and I found that a great deal of incredibly good photos were showcased. Parents in Christian society are largely negative about photography and they don't consider it a viable profession. Now, they will get a good message," Tolentino told ucanews.com.

"I appreciate Magis Bangla for taking steps towards doing creative things, for realizing that young people don't need only religious education but also need to think about art, literature and culture," he added.

Jesuit Father George Podonath, one of the judges, said that photography and visual arts can be an "effective tool of evangelization."

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"Today's world prioritizes the visual and the days of oratory are over. This exhibition showed that young people have talents, they can think outside of the box and their talents can be used for new evangelization," said Father Podonath, a former professor of photography at St. Xavier's University in Kolkata.

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