Camden News - by MARK BLUNDEN Published: 31 July 2008
Mohammed Shoid, from Euston, with traditional cuisine
Village fair celebrates Bangladeshi culture
THOUSANDS of festival-goers descended on King’s Cross on Sunday for the annual Bangladeshi Mela. Split between Coram’s Fields and Brunswick Gardens, the six-hour spectacular showcased the best – and tastiest – elements of Bangladeshi culture.
As well as the finest Bangladeshi cuisine, there were fairground rides, traditional dancing, clothes and toy stalls, as well as performances by Camden artists and one of the runners-up in the Bangladeshi version of Pop Idol. And there was a green message, with 1,000 customisable cotton bags given away to persuade people to ditch their plastic carriers.
The Mela – meaning “village fair” in Bengali – was officially opened by Camden’s second Bangladeshi-born mayor, Councillor Nurul Islam, and enjoyed by almost 5,000 people.
The £38,000 arts event – now in its 16th year – was funded by Camden Council, British Land, the Metropolitan Police and the Youth Opportunities Fund.
A photographic exhibition depicted three generations of Bangladeshis from five community and youth centres across the borough, sponsored by Emmanuel Vincent Harris Trust.
Councillor Ali, who is chairman of the Mela committee, said: “We’ve worked with local residents to promote the beauty of Bangladeshi culture – the drama, music, lovely food and costumes. Approximately 10 per cent of Camden’s population is Bangladeshi, that’s why we want to promote the culture’s richness and warm people.”
This year’s Mela Arts Project is a Bangla Ghor house made at five of the borough’s community centres entirely from material panels.
It will be exhibited at the British Museum from November 15.