Gallery Cosmos, the philanthropic wing of Bangladeshi conglomerate Cosmos Group, in association with Hidden Her Foundation, organised the country's first ever virtual art camp on June 8.
In this art camp, five of the country's most renowned artists went live on the Gallery Cosmos page on Facebook at the same time, from their own studios. They painted at the virtual event from 11.30 am to 4.30 pm. They talked about their paintings, the current situations surrounding the pandemic, the importance of social awareness and other art-related topics, along with taking the audiences on virtual tours of their studios.
The five participating artists were Biren Shome, Mohammad Eunus, Kanak Champa Chakma, Anisuzzaman Anis and Bishwajit Goswami. Each of them worked on two paintings.
Eminent artist Mustafa Monwar was also scheduled to attend the event. However, he could not join the camp at the last moment due to some family urgencies, but he conveyed his regards to the team.
Tehmina Enayet, Director of Gallery Cosmos and Cosmos Atelier71 and Sunehra Z Islam, Founder and Director of Hidden Her Foundation joined the virtual art camp, on behalf of all the initiators, while artist Sourav Chowdhury, Executive Artistic Manager of Gallery Cosmos and Cosmos Atelier71 hosted the event.
"Bangladeshi artists have always looked after the traditions of our country, and now, they have joined us to help those who were harshly affected by the pandemic," said Tehmina Enayet. "These artworks have really lifted up our spirits, and the Gallery Cosmos team expresses their heartfelt gratitude to the artists."
In a video message from Singapore, Enayetullah Khan, Founder and Managing Director of Cosmos Group, praised the initiative. "Even in this time of crisis, we have not locked up our hearts or paused our creative efforts. I would like to convey my appreciation to all the participating artists and the organisers behind this unique art camp," he said. "This event is for a noble cause, and I am proud to see how it has come into fruition."
Founder of Hidden Her foundation Sunehra Z Islam also spoke about the event. "We are happy to be a part of this online live art camp, which is a landmark for the artist community of Bangladesh. All proceeds from selling these artworks will be given to victims of the pandemic," she said.
Freedom fighter and renowned artist Biren Shome hoped that through the power and spirit of creativity, we will be able to overcome this time of crisis.
"We have to adapt with the 'new normal' while nurturing and expressing our creativity," added Kanak Champa Chakma. In that sense, the virtual art camp was a great initiative."
Seasoned artist Mohammad Eunus thanked the organisers of the camp, and also applauded the frontline workers. "We all have been surviving through the constant efforts of our frontline fighters, including the doctors, nurses, government officials, policemen, journalists and all other professionals who are continuously working for us. As artists, we also have certain responsibilities and I thank the organisers of the art camp for giving us the opportunity," he said.
Acclaimed visual artist Bishwajit Goswami, an Assistant Professor of the Faculty of Fine Art of Dhaka University, said that he is proud to be a part of the art camp.