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The Ricksha Arts of Bangladesh The Ricksha Arts of Bangladesh

Photo of Ricksha Art
Dhaka, 1997. Photo by M.F. Dunham

This website is dedicated to celebrating one of Bangladesh's unique popular arts, the paintings and decorations on the three-wheeled cycle ricksha -- or "rickshaw", as spelled in English dictionaries. This site is based on my anthropological field visits to Bangladesh between 1975 and 1998, when I traveled about, took photos, and interviewed people. Ricksha arts cannot be assigned to any static "genre". They are popular as opposed to "fine" arts. They appropriate multiple forms which include folklore, classical art elements, and commercial forms. They also reflect the economic globalization process, which is occurring all over the world today, in their fascination with movie stars and narratives, with US disco during the seventies, with foreign travel scenes and fancy red sports cars.
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  • About the Author
    Joanna Kirkpatrick, PhD UCB 1970 (Prior degrees Stanford and Yale). Cultural and Social Anthropologist. South Asia is my regional area of studies, both India and Bangladesh. Since my first fieldwork in Punjab, India in 1965-66, I have published in the fields of medical anthropology, women studies, and popular art in Bangladesh.
    All photo images, unless otherwise noted, are by the author. The International Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe, N.M. holds my 1987 collection of ricksha arts--both panels and hoods.

    Thanks to
    Cap Petschulat for digital layout and design
    Casey Scales for hours of computer assistance with my tech problems.

    Last updated June, 2009
    The contents of this site are copyright (c) 2009 Joanna Kirkpatrick unless otherwise noted

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