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Art as Commerce

Reprinted with permission from the Oct/Nov 99 Dasher, newsletter of the Dhaka American Women's Club. Email

The galleries in Dhaka are surprisingly good. Some have been around for decades. The owners are extremely knowledgeable and can advise you on your selection. The fall is a prime season for shows so look for the street banners announcing them or stop by the gallery for a listing. But remember, just because an artist is having a show, it doesn't mean the work is exceptional or will hold its value. The criteria for collecting art are simple, for both the serious collector and the occasional buyer: acquire something you like and can happily live with for years to come.

Manju (House 8, Road 6, Gulshan, tel 608390) is a wonderful gallery. The Director, Ms. Jahanara Perveen, presents an exciting and innovative range of shows including oils, watercolors, ceramics, embroideries, sculpture, and more. She has initiated many exciting concepts including the acclaimed "Bi Liner" which paired top artists and poets to create paintings with poetry on the same canvas. Ms. Perveen welcomes all to browse, relax, and stay for a chat. She also offers art classes for children and adults.

Saju (DCC N. Supermarket / Gulshan Market 2, 2 locations upstairs, tel 882-2557) is the oldest and most respected gallery in Bangladesh. The owner personally knows the masters of Bangladesh. If you are a serious collector, Saju is for you.

Divine (Sonargaon Hotel lobby, tel 811-1641 x4942) used to seem only interested in selling drippy watercolors of boats and rickshaws to hotel guests. But over the past few years, Divine has improved tremendously to host shows featuring excellent work. Whatever your budget, you can find beautiful pieces at Divine.

Designer's Den (Road 99 Gulshan) starting out as just another expensive clothing store but (thankfully) diversified to become a large gallery. The gallery is very large, bright, beautiful, well-maintained, and air conditioned. The initiated the terrific idea of an online art gallery.