Once visible all around Dhaka, the original form of rickshaw art has dwindled but led to the advent of a new category of overpriced consumer products, said a student of English and humanities of Brac University.
Inspired by Bangladeshi movie posters, rickshaw art used to cover the whole of the vehicles, making use of vibrant colours to depict artists’ minds, added Mantaka Ishrak in a video essay titled “Commodification of Rikshaw Art”.
To her, the culture is dying out for the advent of plastic press prints, which cost just a fifth of those painted by hand, for rickshaws no longer being individually owned and for the painters dropping out of the profession.
But the aesthetics is being commercialised by fashion houses and entrepreneurs who, with the help of arts faculty students, are applying this style of art in products for the appeal it has on the younger generation, she said.
What once was free visual pleasure now has to be bought to be enjoyed, added Ishrak.
Another video essay on “Why Horror Films are Popular” by Rumnaz Islam was presented as part of the course ENG 331: Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice at the department in Brac University on 16 July 2019.
People like to be scared and movie makers bring in new elements in a way to make viewers wait and suspended them in thought over what to expect next, said Islam.
This tension raises mental stimuli to what Sigmund Freud calls unpleasure in his essay “Beyond the Pleasure Pinciple”, meaning the higher the level of fear and anxiety, the higher the level of satisfaction, she added.
The course also saw the presentation of a paper “The Illusion of Reality: A Journey through Religion, Philosophy and Technology” by Khondker Shahad Muktadir Arko.