Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation creates initiatives to support vulnerable communities during Covid-19 pandemic

Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation creates initiatives to support vulnerable communities during Covid-19 pandemic

Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation (DBF) is established to support artists and art practitioners, who offer new insights on our world and our future. DBF has established itself by supporting relevant exhibitions, publications and residencies, that bring new international attention to Bangladesh and the Global South. A significant part of DBF’s engagement has dealt with current topics affecting the population of Bangladesh such as the migration and displacement phenomena, making DBF an art foundation with a strong focus on social issues.

The Covid-19 pandemic has created a public health emergency with long-term economic consequences for millions of Bangladeshis and other peoples in South Asia. Meanwhile the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation (DBF) asked itself how it can bring meaningful changes to those in need during these challenging times.

Why is an art foundation involved in aiding those in need during a pandemic?

For DBF, art and people are not separate instances. Artistic practice is often closely connected to a community’s essential way of living. At the same time, the virus’ potential of equally affecting all regardless of social separations, compels us to remember there are no boundaries between peoples.

While a large number of doctors and support staff engaged in treating patients for the new coronavirus in the country have yet to receive personal protective equipment (PPE), a significant percentage of low-income people of Bangladesh had their daily necessities impaired, a situation aggravated by the shutdowns imposed to contain the spread of the virus.

To mitigate this impact Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation initiated two projects that will attend to both of the aforementioned issues.
Firstly, to ensure the safety of the frontline doctors and healthcare professionals, who are highly and constantly exposed to contamination while treating their patients, DBF is collaborating with Pulse Healthcare Services in distributing imported medical PPE to different public institutions in the health sector.

Additionally, DBF is working in collaboration with Gidree Bawlee Foundation of Arts and launching a project called ‘Bhumi – “ভূমি to support rural creative lives during the crisis. Through this initiative, in the first phase of the collaboration, 60 craftsmen families from Thakurgaon will be assisted in the production of a number of artworks for a period of 4 months. Seeking for new ways through which art can promote social engagement, the project will not only keep the craftsmen creatively engaged and ensure the continuation of their customary craft during the crisis, but also provide them with the much-needed support during these difficult times, starting, for instance, with food supply. The craftsmen will work mainly with handloom fabric, bamboo, harvest waste and land art. Ensuring the social distancing measures during the pandemic, the artisans will work from the safety of their respective abodes, with conceptual support and design inputs from the artists.
What does community engagement mean in times of social distancing? DBF hopes to give a possible answer to this question. With solidarity and practical solutions and investments, DBF is joining forces with institutions to help the most vulnerable while still respecting social distance and endorsing safety standards. It is DBF’s belief that we will overcome this unprecedented crisis collectively.