Kamruzzaman Shadhin, the visionary behind the Gidree Bawlee Foundation of Arts and Chhobir Haat, is a renowned visual artist hailing from Bangladesh. He is celebrated for his creative works encompassing installations, video art, and performance pieces, which delve into a wide spectrum of social, political, and environmental matters. His distinctive approach involves collaboration with local and indigenous communities, artisans, and active public engagement. Kamruzzaman completed his BFA and MFA degrees from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Dhaka University in 1996 and 1999, respectively. His works and exhibitions span the globe, from Dubai to Moscow, and Leipzig to Thailand, and he was honored with the Grand Prize at the 17th Asian Art Biennale in Dhaka in 2016.
During the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, Kamruzzaman Shadhin led the “Bhumi” project in Balia, Thakurgaon, Bangladesh. This community art initiative, with support from the Gidree Bawlee Foundation of Arts and the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation (DBF), has been invited to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2022–2023. The project aimed to help local craftsmen affected by the pandemic’s market closures and economic challenges.
The “Elephant in the Room” Project, a collaboration between Bangladeshi artist Kamruzzaman Shadhin and the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation, takes center stage at Art Dubai 2021. This innovative initiative engages Rohingya craftspersons from the Kutupalong Refugee camp and spotlights the environmental and displacement issues stemming from the 2017 influx of Rohingya communities. The project’s hallmark includes life-sized bamboo elephants dressed in patchwork quilts crafted from collected torn clothing, symbolizing a harmonious coexistence with nature and advocating for elephant conservation.
Over the span of several years, Kamruzzaman has meticulously crafted “The Fibrous Souls,” a collaborative project involving community members and artisans through Gidree Bawlee. This artistic venture unravels a facet of Bengal’s intricate colonial history, narrated through personal stories of movement and displacement. Central to the installation are 70 oversized shikas—elaborate jute-string bags traditionally suspended from home ceilings for storing pots and food containers. “The Fibrous Souls” tells the compelling story of how a segment of the community came to settle in neighboring villages, while Kamruzzaman’s installation intricately weaves together these seemingly disparate historical and cultural strands, connecting them to contemporary rural conditions in Assam and Bengal, encapsulating the enduring impact of historical events on local communities.”