On March 12, "Elephant in the Room", an award-winning art installation by renowned Bangladeshi visual artist Kamruzzaman Shadhin, was launched at the Dubai Design District (D3), organised by Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation, which works to promote South Asian art internationally in association with Art Dubai. D3 is a hub of inspiration for creatives, artists, and designers. It will exhibit this participatory artwork in its walkaways for a month-long display till April 12, 2021.
Kamruzzaman Shadhin, known for his work in diverse media, such as sculpture and performance art, weaves a tale of the uprooted people with the threads of sociopolitical and environmental impacts brought on by displacement, in his art. Similarly, this project revolves around the occupants of the Kutupalong Refugee camp and the displacement of elephants due to the sudden arrival of the Rohingya community in 2017.
The monumental installations of the life-sized elephant structures are constructed with bamboo and discarded clothing collected from the Rohingya community in exchange for new clothes, which were then sewn together by the community craftswomen into beautiful "Kantha" (patchwork quilts). Through this participatory artwork, the artist endeavors to find a balance between the co-existence of humans and nature, and to raise awareness about wildlife conservation within the community.
"Elephant in the Room" is a part of the "No place like home" exhibition, organised by Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation to raise awareness around conservation and displacement of communities. In collaboration with Art Dubai, they are set to exhibit the pieces celebrating 50 years of the Independence of Bangladesh, coinciding with 50 years of the unification of UAE.
The project was also displayed at the High Commission of Canada in Bangladesh from March through October 2020.
The author is a freelance journalist.