Kranti Art 2023: Bangladesh-India art exchange hosted by Friendship Bangladesh
Artists from India and Bangladesh embarked on a journey from Dhaka to Gaibandha, from 4 to 12 March, to exchange ideas on art, celebrate womanhood, freedom, and equality. The Preema Arte Foundation in Dhaka organised the programme, which was conceived by Shoilpik Shammota and supported by the Kerala Lalitkala Academy and the Kekeyellam Foundation from India, as well as the Friendship Cultural Preservation and the Friendship Colours of the Chars, concerns of Friendship NGO, from Bangladesh. The Ministry of Cultural Affairs of Bangladesh supported this initiative, while Shawpno was the sponsor of the programme.
The artists began their tour by visiting the Dhaka Liberation War Museum, the Institute of Fine Arts, and various galleries in Dhaka. They travelled on the B613 Malar, a boat part of the Contic cruises, a sister concern of Friendship, measuring 93 feet in length and 23 feet in width, before arriving at the Friendship Centre in Gaibandha, an Aga Khan Architecture award-winning building of the Friendship NGO.
The artists were taken to Batikamari, a remote char on the Brahmaputra River, to witness and interact with the local populace, where Friendship has established a school, community clinic, and vocational training centres among other facilities to help the people of the char develop skills, and make them more resilient against any future calamity like the erosion of the char.
"The programme aims to establish a connection between cultural exchange and artistic practice by utilising the talents of artists. It is vital to promote the country's culture and art through the integration of artists into Bangladesh's vibrant art scene. By fostering a strong bond between the heart and the mind during the creative process, the programme strives to create a powerful platform for artistic expression," said Nazia Andaleeb Preema, one of the participating artists and chairman of Preema Arte Foundation.
The art exchange not only promoted cultural exchange and artistic practise, but also celebrated the enduring power of friendship and the transcendent nature of art. It bridged boundaries and brought people together in celebration of shared values. A testament to the strong context of the art of Bangladesh and the integration of artists, it was also an opportunity for artists to enrich their art by using natural colours, and taking inspiration from the way of life of char people.
"Since its establishment, Friendship has been dedicated to the preservation of Bangladesh's art and culture, creating replicas of traditional wooden boats from various riverine regions of the country. By doing so, the artists involved in this project are able to delve into the rich history and evolution of this ancient craft. Given its focus on art and culture, Friendship has partnered with 'Kranti' to promote the unique way of life of the Char people through artistic expression, using natural colours to enhance their work," said Nazra Mahzabeen Sabet, Director of Operations, Friendship.
Eby N Joseph, president of Kerala Lalitkala Academy and one of the Indian artists, believes the new style of art created by exchanging experience and inspiration in the workshop will strengthen the art of the two countries.
Participating artists from India and Bangladesh were Nazia Andaleeb Preema, Eby N Joseph, Akhil Mohan, Binoy Varghese, Dhanya M C, Farzana Ahmed Urmi, Golam Faruque Sarkar, Lucky Osman, Mathai K T, Md Imtiaj Islam, Nasir Ahammaed, Prodip Saha, Rahul Balakrishnan, Shibi Balakrishnan, Smitha M Babu, Sudhayadas, Soma Surovi Jannat, Sajan Rana, Syed Muhammad Zakir, and Tholil Suresh.