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Linking Young Minds Together
  Volume 5 | Issue 48| December 18, 2011 |


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Billboards in the Age of New Millennium

Promiti Prova Chowdhury

Visual Art is no more confined within the forms of paintings and sculptures only. It has encompassed artworks like digital art, computer graphics, computer animation, and so on. When we talk about Visual Art, one genre that can never be skipped is Media Art. Considered to be one of the latest branches of Arts, this particular branch focuses on symbolism, codes and context contained and projected through visual instruments like billboards, films, digital images, fireworks, photography and even architectural structures.

Courtesy: Promiti Prova Chowdhury
Courtesy: Shams Bin Quader

Choosing 'billboards' as concentration, the students of the course titled 'Visual Communication' under the Media Studies and Journalism (MSJ) Department, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) are trying to explore and nourish their power to construct and disseminate meanings with the usage of images, symbols, texts and codes as part of curriculum. On this regard, a day long workshop on “Billboards and Media Art at the Age of New Millennium” was arranged on December 10 at the seminar room of ULAB. With Dr Firoz Mahmud, a distinguished artist and PhD in Fine Arts from Tokyo University of the Arts, as the instructor, the students learned about the history, types, usage and different sections of billboards all around the world.

“Billboards are no longer forms of mere advertisements but have become a good medium of entertainment as well. Previously the billboards were made through hand paint but now they are designed in computers. So the creators of them are also considered to be artists,” stated Dr Firoz. He showed the students how billboards can become wonderful art pieces. Through projector, he showed students famous inflatable billboards, 3 dimensional billboards (those with hydrogen inside, looking like balloons), and electronic billboards. He mentioned about scented billboards (billboards for food and restaurants that carry food odor) of North Carolina which enchanted the students more. Showing New York city's famous Times Square, he pointed out how electronic billboards can become a great source of entertainment. He talked about different purposes of billboards including non commercial billboards done by NGOs basically for creating awareness, billboards for theatres etc.

Each student was assigned to design the layout for a given product that include Airtel, Mutual Trust Bank, Anti Smoking campaign, Grameenphone, Ruchi chanachur, Rupayan Builders etc. Dr Firoz consulted with each student individually regarding their designs. He showed them room for improvement regarding the placement of texts and images in their designs along with the size and colour. Initially they sketched their ideas on art papers and after being consulted by Dr Firoz they put colours and objects into them.

Under course instructor, Shams Bin Quader, the students will exhibit their billboards at the MSJ Visual Exhibits which is going to be held on December 20 at Russian Cultural Center.

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