picture books

"Subculture vulture" - Where in the world would you like to go?

October 1, 2017

Inshra S Russell

One good thing about doing a liberal arts degree is that you learn about culture, and specifically subcultures. Mine was in Fashion Photography at London College of Fashion. Teddy boys, New Romantics, Punks, Skinheads, many styles, many influences boiled together in my mind as I attempted to contextualise.  While grasping western subcultures, I realised that the same must be happening at home continent. What was happening at home, in Bangladesh?

You just have to look at the art, films and music coming out of Bangladesh now to see the change in fashion and culture. Festivals like Chobi Mela, Dhaka Art Summit and Dhaka Lit Fest have put famous talented stars on the plane straight to Dhaka City to attend. Bangla hip-hop is on the radio and all over youtube, and artists like Black Zhang are representing at the Alchemy Festival, UK. The Milkshake Collective in Dhaka is a bunch of quirky, creative young artists and entrepreneurs making waves…and cakes! The energy around all this is electric, and I feel it as soon as the plane lands in Dhaka.

We have been fortunate to work with an energetic young artist, the lovely Humairah Shams aka The Left Handed Wildflower. She has a warm, contemporary style that blends together bright colours with a watercolour textures. Her typography is both script and modern influenced, with bold and friendly strokes. Right now she is working away on our English alphabet flashcards inspired by countries and capitals.

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Where In The World? is 26 flashcards with names of countries for each alphabet. Each flashcard has a map of the country. it’s capital city and fun features dotted in. It’s a fun way to learn about countries and their cultures and Humairah has been meticulously drawing and painting all the elements. 

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The last time I visited Dhaka was last November, and I made it to the Folk Music Festival and the Lit Fest. Besides the burst of hijabi fashionistas with their funky scarf twists and thick eyebrows were the handsome hipster boys with well-groomed facial hair and man buns on top of their heads.  I wonder what will be on the radar this year?