DC Arts Center Presents CONCRETE DREAMS

By Editorial Team on May 19, 2021
Watercolor and drawing on photograph, © 2020, Monica Jahan Bose.
Dedication/Opening: Thursday, May 20 at 7 pm, followed by projections from 8 to 10 pm.

Viewing hours:

  • May 20, 2021 from 6-10 pm
  • May 21, 2021 from 6 -10 pm
  • May 22, 2021 from 2-10 pm
  • May 23, 2021 from 2-6 pm

Poetry Slam:  May 22, 2021 at 7 pm, followed by projections.

Projections: May 20-22, 2021 from 8 to 10 pm

All dates weather dependent. Latest details at: https://storytellingwithsaris.com/events/

Bangladeshi-American artist and climate activist Monica Jahan Bose has led the CONCRETE DREAMS project over the last eight months and will present the culminating installation outside the DC Arts Center from May 20-23, 2021. CONCRETE DREAMS is a temporary public art project featuring an installation and livestream of community-sourced poetry on saris, mini movable sculptures, and projections. In CONCRETE DREAMS, Bose has collaborated with artist and filmmaker Robin Bell, artist Maps Glover, and residents of DC and Katakhali Village, Bangladesh, Bose’s ancestral village. Diverse community members in DC and Bangladesh connected during the pandemic through safe online and outdoor art and poetry workshops on the theme of the pandemic and the intersection of climate, racial, gender, and economic injustice.

“Concrete poetry” refers to poetry that is drawn or arranged as a design on the page. CONCRETE DREAMS uses concrete poetry and printmaking to highlight the dreams and aspirations of residents of DC and Katakhali towards a sustainable and just future. The poetry is inscribed on saris, on the building through a light installation, and on small plaster sculptures in the form of “steles.”  The project enhances and merges with the street energy, night life, and restaurants in Adams Morgan, DC, including the Streatery program moving restaurants into the street.

In honor of AAPI Heritage month, CONCRETE DREAMS links communities in solidarity from DC to Asia. CONCRETE DREAMS is funded by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ Public Art Building Communities Grant Program.  It is part of the ongoing STORYTELLING WITH SARIS climate justice art project.

To produce CONCRETE DREAMS, Monica Jahan Bose:

  • Organized 12 workshops outdoors or online during the COVID-19 global pandemic, with dozens of people participating in DC and Bangladesh to co-create poetry, art, and saris for CONCRETE DREAMS.
  • Provided stipends, ASL interpretation, tablets, and internet access to enable participation by

About Monica Jahan Bose: Monica Jahan Bose’s work spans painting, printmaking, film, performance and public art.  Her socially engaged work highlights the intersection of climate, racial, gender, and economic injustice through co-created workshops, art actions, and temporary public art installations and performances. She is the creator of STORYTELLING WITH SARIS, a longterm art and advocacy project with her ancestral village of Katakhali, Bangladesh. Her work has appeared in the Miami Herald, the Washington Post, Art Asia Pacific, the Milwaukee Sentinel, the Honolulu Star Advertiser, the Japan Times, and all major newspapers in Bangladesh. She has been featured several times on the podcast Climate Daily for her commitment to climate justice work.  She has a BA in the Practice of Art (Painting) from Wesleyan University, a post-graduate Diploma in Art from Santiniketan, India, and a JD from Columbia Law School.

About Robin Bell:  Founder of Bell Visuals, Bell is an award-winning editor, video journalist, and multimedia artist based in Washington DC. Bell works on a range of creative, political and public interest projects. Building upon his formal training as a classical printmaker, Bell developed a unique style of live video collage which he has performed at The Kennedy Center, 9:30 Club, The Phillips Collection, Central Park Summer Stage, and The Hollywood Bowl. His incisive 2017 projection, Emoluments Welcome, garnered media attention from the BBC, CNN, New York Times, L.A. Times, Huffington Post and Hyperallergic, among others.

About Maps Glover:  A millennial artist, Maps Glover’s multi-disciplinary art practice spans painting, illustration, murals, and performance.  His work has been featured in the The Washington Informer Bridge, Artsy magazine, Hello Mr, and Relapse Magazine. He is a renowned performance artist, performing at the Kennedy Center, National Portrait Gallery, AfroPunk, and Torpedo factory.  Glover co-facilitated the DC workshops for CONCRETE DREAMS.