Photo courtesy Bart Shaha

We were very fortunate to have the opportunity last week to meet Dr. Bartholomew (Bart) Shaha and his wife Emily.  Bart, who recently retired as the Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs, is a musician and poet who has known Surayia for many years.  He is generously allowing us to use a painting that Surayia did for the cover of his book of Bangla liturgical and devotional hymns (Tomakei Daki — You Do We Call) that was published in 1977.

Bart says “It is a unique piece of work reflecting a Baul (mystic poet and folk-singer in Bengal), looking up to the heavens and praising God, holding a dotara on one hand, the other hand raised in complete harmony with the flowing music.  The face and gaze of the person are typical of her unique art form.  The painting lifts me to another world and reminds me of the many moments I have been in ecstasy during my compositions.”

Although this was the first time meeting Bart and Emily, we felt as if we had known them for years.  We really appreciate their encouragement and support and look forward to seeing them again!

 

When we visited Dhaka late last year, our friends from the American Chamber of Commerce (the AMCHAM, made up of Bangladeshi and American businesspeople who share a goal of increasing trade and improving relations between the two countries) kindly invited us to lunch with board members and let us make  a presentation about the film project.   It was an excellent lunch and a welcome chance to see a number of friends from when we lived in Bangladesh, including AMCHAM President Aftab ul Islam and Executive Director A. Gafur.

We were pleased to see that the AMCHAM recently published an article in its journal about the film project, with great photos by Anil Advani.

Here’s a link to an interesting article about the importance of documentaries by Nick Fraser.  We agree with his favorite choices, including Frederick Marx’s Hoop Dreams.  We look forward to the day when Threads is also on his list!

Len and I are really excited about being able to take part in the “Aaina” festival which will be held in Seattle March 25 – 27.  The very talented South Asian women involved are working in a variety of media: drama, film, photography, painting, music.

The editor we have been working with on a short trailer for the film, Rita Meher, is the executive director of Aaina and invited us to join with the other artists for an opening reception and conversation March 25.  If you are in the Seattle area,  join us there as we talk about the film project and show our first fundraising trailer for Threads.

An interesting coincidence:  “aaina” means “mirror” in Urdu and Surayia’s organization was called “Arshi,” which is “mirror” in Bangla.

We are featured artists!

Thanks to Jeni Woock of Gig Harbor for her enthusiastic support!