Art as a means of survival amid pandemic crisis

The installation, ‘Bhumi’ brings together artists, local farmers, artisans, and materials from four communities in north-western Bangladesh

Updated - December 23, 2022 06:18 pm IST

Published - December 22, 2022 11:48 pm IST - KOCHI

Bhumi, a community art project, initiated by the Gidree Bawlee Foundation of Arts and Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation (DBF) in collaboration with artist Kamruzzaman Shadhin, on display at TKM Warehouse at Mattancherry as part of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

Bhumi, a community art project, initiated by the Gidree Bawlee Foundation of Arts and Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation (DBF) in collaboration with artist Kamruzzaman Shadhin, on display at TKM Warehouse at Mattancherry as part of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement 

The community art project by the people of Balia village in Thakurgaon, Bangladesh, at TKM Warehouse at Mattancherry as part of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2023 is a symbol of human resilience and creativity.

Titled ‘Bhumi’, the installation has brought together artists, local farmers, artisans, and materials from four communities in north-western Bangladesh. Together they worked from May 2020 to August 2020 during the first phase of the lockdown induced by the pandemic.

Normal life was hit following the lockdown in 2020. Farmers and craftspeople in and around the village of Balia in Thakurgaon had slipped into a crisis after markets were closed. The community art project was initiated by the Gidree Bawlee Foundation of Arts and Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation (DBF) in collaboration with artist Kamruzzaman Shadhin.

“Initially, we explored local materials, traditional crafts and agricultural practices, and elements that connected each community participating in the project. Then, we developed the installations focusing on indigenous farming, human-land relationships, and the socio-cultural changes in the communities using locally available materials including bamboo, straw and jute,” said Akalu Burman who is part of the ‘Bhumi’ project.

Artist Kamruzzaman Shadhin said it was decided to reconnect to nature by exploring the complex connection between community, land, and living beings, apart from humans and the environment and changing dynamics during and after the pandemic. “We have tried to revisit the spirit of ‘Bhumi’,” he added.

‘Bhumi’ will be exhibited at TKM Warehouse from 9.30 a.m. to 8.30 p.m. till April 30, 2023.

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