Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation (DBF) has announced creative initiatives to support the local arts and crafts industry as well as frontline healthcare workers in Bangladesh. Through these efforts, DBF hopes to continue their aim of community engagement during this time of crisis and inspire meaningful changes through art and collaboration. The foundation, in collaboration with the Gidree Bawlee Foundation of Arts, has launched an exclusive art project, titled 'Bhumi', to support rural creative communities during the pandemic.
The project has engaged 60 traditional families of craftsmen from Santal, Rajbongshi, weaver and other indigenous communities of the Thakurgaon district in Bangladesh. The craftsmen are working with Gidree Bawlee founder and celebrated artist Kamruzzaman Shadhin, to produce a number of artworks in the upcoming four months, under health and safety guidelines. Through this initiative, Bhumi will provide support for 250 people in the community and sustain their creative livelihoods.
Seeking new means of art engagement, the project has not only kept the craftsmen creatively engaged but also provided them with support during these difficult times. The artworks will be in the form of handloom fabric, bamboo work, harvest waste and land art, created by the craftsmen at their respective abodes, with conceptual and design inputs from Kamruzzaman Shadhin.
"DBF is proud to partner with Gidree Bawlee Foundation of the Arts and Pulse Healthcare Services to support the vulnerable while maintaining social distance and safety standards," said Durjoy Rahman, Founder, DBF. "Despite the coronavirus restrictions in Bangladesh and much of the world, we are committed to creating initiatives that inspire togetherness, participation and community through art."
"The craftsmen will weave their own stories. I have just directed and instigated them to do things accordingly," said Kamruzzaman Shadhin. "I have a plan to produce sculptural forms, paintings with organic colours, huge installations and site-specific land art, with support from community engagements. My previous work experiences with them are helping me greatly. We believe that we will overcome this crisis with solidarity and collective efforts, maintaining social distance." They have collected stories and information on traditional methods of farming from the community elders, which are being applied as the cultivation method for the garden. "Through the project, we have started creating a community vegetable garden on a land that has been abandoned for the last 50 years at the Santal para. We are using traditional methods of farming to retrieve local agricultural knowledge, and harvest ancestral stories and practices in a community-generated work of 'land art.' The artworks created during this project will be presented to the public at a later stage," asserted the artist.
This partnership further continues DBF's relationship with Kamruzzaman Shadhin, who participated in the 2019 Majhi International Residency in Venice, Italy, and whose works are in the collection of the foundation.
Furthermore, DBF, in collaboration with Pulse Healthcare Services, has donated 1,500 sets of imported PPE sets to frontline medical workers in hospitals, NGOs, and law enforcement services in Bangladesh. Each set includes medical-grade gowns, masks, gloves, and protective glasses to support the work of doctors and healthcare professionals who may be exposed to COVID-19.