It was a wonderful experience to become a part of the unique art camp that recently concluded in Rangamati –the blissful place that offers the bounty of natural beauty, cultural diversity of various indigenous communities, their diverse cuisines, colourful costumes and the cornucopia of artistic themes and subjects to depict. Bangladesh Ethnic Artists’ Forum truly deserves accolades for organising the three-day art camp, joining hands with Abinta Gallery of Fine Arts and Berger Paints Bangladesh Limited.
Indigenous peoples and their distinctive cultures are the demographic ornaments of our country. The visual artists among them tend to think ahead of others. Around 70 artists from 52 indigenous communities of Bangladesh including Chakma, Marma, Tripura, Manipuri, Rakhaine, Murong, Hajong, Garo, Chak, Kuch and Tanchanga participated in the art camp. They roamed around the hills, lakes, fountains and jhum houses to portray the untainted beauties of Rangamati. Bringing the entire indigenous artists under one umbrella is a timely initiative, thanks to the dreams and vision of renowned Bangladeshi artist Kanak Chanpa Chakma, also the Adviser of Bangladesh Ethnic Artists’ Forum.
The presence of Kanak Chanpa Chakma at the art camp, coupled with her inspiring words and guidance for the participating artists definitely enriched the purviews of the promising artists. “The event aims to intensify the artistic bonding among you all. You can get to know each-others’ cultures and artistic visions better through the art camp,” said Kanak Chanpa Chakma, illustrating her vision to support the dedicated artists for their artistic excellence in the long run. “You need not necessarily portray paintings right now. You may roam around the places and enjoy the unmatched nature and cultures here. Taking in the essence of monsoon in Rangamati is important. You can work later going down memory lane.”
Themed around the grace of monsoon in the hilly district, the participating artists portrayed their imaginations mingling with aesthetic contemplations shedding light on the lush and fresh greenery of the hilly region, the drenched nature, the mysterious game of light and shades of the hills, lakes and fountains.
Award winning Bangladeshi born Chinese artist Mong Mong Sho came to join the art camp from China. He sincerely guided the participating artists, speaking to them, showcasing his artworks and depicting marvelous watercolours at the art camp.
The artists portrayed diverse arts at places like Khudro Nri-Goshthir Sangskritik Institute, Sadhanananda Mahasthabir Bonobhante Memorial Temple, Kaptai Lake, Shubholong Fountain and Rajbari in Rangamati. Chief of Chakma Circle Raja Debashish Roy highly appreciated the initiative. He exchanged his warmth with the participants and inspired them thoroughly. The outcome of the art camp will be exhibited at the Abinta Gallery of Fine Arts, a project of Abinta Kabir Foundation soon.
Aside from painting, the artists performed music in their mother languages, and presented various traditional indigenous dances at the Khudro Nri-Goshthir Sangskritik Institute, Rangamati, where they resided. Art is the reflection of life and nature. Art initiatives such as this helps understand the essence of that reflection better. To sum up, the art camp followed by the group exhibition beckons a bright future for the members of Bangladesh Ethnic Artists’ Forum.