Shahidul Alam: Truth to Power at The Rubin Museum of Art, November 8, 2019 – May 4, 2020

“The Rubin Museum of Art is pleased to present Shahidul Alam: Truth to Power, the first comprehensive museum survey in the United States of renowned Bangladeshi photographer, writer, activist, and institution-builder, Shahidul Alam. The exhibition brings together works from his four-decade career, showing the breadth of his practice and impact in Bangladesh, across South Asia, and beyond.

Shahidul Alam: Truth to Power features over 40 photographs and ephemera including portraits, landscapes, and scenes of daily life, strife, and of resistance in the ‘majority world’ — a phrase Alam has used since the 1990s to reframe the notion of the ‘third world’ or ‘global south.’ This pioneering exhibition provides visitors with a nuanced view of Bangladesh and South Asia, explores systems of personal and collective agency, and underscores the importance of self-representation, empowerment, and truth that Alam’s life and work embody.” — The Rubin Museum of Art 

“I heard of the possibility to show my work at the Rubin through three layers of bars with noise levels of over 100 decibels. I was in jail, but the choice was clear: this was an opportunity not to be missed,” says Shahidul Alam. “Truth to Power is a tribute to the numerous acts of resistance all across the globe and gives hope to those who continue to believe that a better world is possible. I’m thrilled to have the support of the Rubin Museum.”

A Struggle for Democracy

Shahidul Alam (b. 1955, Dhaka, Bangladesh); Protesters in Motijheel Break Section 144 on Dhaka Siege Day; Motijheel, Dhaka, Bangladesh; 1987; photograph; courtesy of Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

A Struggle for Democracy

Shahidul Alam (b. 1955, Dhaka, Bangladesh); Bishwa Ijtema; Tongi, Gaipur, Dhaka, Bangladesh; 1988; photograph; courtesy of Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Mural of Noor Hossain in Jahangirnagar University Campus

Shahidul Alam (b. 1955, Dhaka, Bangladesh); Mural of Noor Hossain in Jahangirnagar University Campus; Jahangirnagar, Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh; 1987; photograph; courtesy of Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Woman in Ballot Booth

Shahidul Alam (b. 1955, Dhaka, Bangladesh); Woman in Ballot Booth; Lamatia, Dhaka, Bangladesh; 1991; photograph; courtesy of Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Smriti Azad at Protest at Shaheed Minar

Shahidul Alam (b. 1955, Dhaka, Bangladesh); Smriti Azad at Protest at Shaheed Minar; Shaheed Minar, Dhaka, Bangladesh; 1994; photograph; courtesy of Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Shahidul Alam_Airport Goodbye

Shahidul Alam (b. 1955, Dhaka, Bangladesh); Airport Goodbye; Dhaka Airport, Bangladesh; 1996; photograph; courtesy of Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Shahidul Alam_Sheep at Sunset

Shahidul Alam (b. 1955, Dhaka, Bangladesh); Sheep at Sunset; Tibetan Plateau; 1999; photograph; courtesy of Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Sailboat Fishing for Ilish

Shahidul Alam (b. 1955, Dhaka, Bangladesh); Sailboat Fishing for Ilish; Daulatdia, Bangladesh; 2001; photograph; courtesy of Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Climate refugees

Shahidul Alam (b. 1955, Dhaka, Bangladesh); Climate Refugees; river crossing between Bondor Tila Ghat in Mijhum Dwip and Moktaria Bazar in Hatiya, Bangladesh; 2009; photograph; courtesy of Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Shahidul Alam_Rohingya Refugees

Shahidul Alam (b. 1955, Dhaka, Bangladesh); Rohingya Refugees After Having Just Landed in Bangladesh; Shah Porir Dweep, Teknaf, Bangladesh; 2017; photograph; courtesy of Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Shahidul Alam: Truth to Power is organized by Curator Beth Citron, in close cooperation with Alam and with support from artists and photographers in Bangladesh. 

Title photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.