Featuring the work of Bangladeshi artist Kamruzzaman Shadhin & Rohingya craft persons from Kutupalong Refugee camp Presented at Design District (d3), Dubai, March 12-April 12, 2021

ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM – A Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation project, in association with Art Dubai

Art Dubai is pleased to announce a collaboration with the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation, as part of the fair’s committed remit of engagement with diverse cultural and philanthropic practices across the Global South. Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation has initiated various projects with occupants of the Rohingya camp in Bangladesh, under the umbrella platform NO PLACE LIKE HOME, to create public artworks with the aim of raising awareness around conservation and displacement of communities.

For “Elephant in the Room”, Bangladeshi artist Kamruzzaman Shadhin created a participatory art project with occupants of the Kutupalong Refugee camp, to highlight the negative impact on the environment and the displacement of elephants due to the sudden arrival of thousands of Rohingya communities in 2017.

Life-size elephants were constructed from bamboo and used-clothing to promote a balanced human co-existence with nature and to raise awareness about elephant conservation within the community. In exchange for new clothes, torn clothes were collected from camp inhabitants, that were turned into patchwork quilts (Kantha), sewn by the craftswomen in the community, that were then used to cover the elephants. According to Shahdin ‘This project is an attempt to weave art, community practices, migrant experiences, trauma, and hope in a “kantha” which embodies the struggles of the stateless, be it human or animal, all over the world.’
The project was originally conceived at the refugee camp with the support from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It then travelled to Dhaka for the Asian Art Biennial in 2018, where the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation team visited the installation at Bangladesh Shilpokola Academy and decided to promote the cause and acquire the sculptures. Thanks to the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation, the elephants were recently on display at the High Commission of Canada in Bangladesh, along with other elements from the Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre and International Organization for Migration (IOM), following an exhibition at Dhaka’s US embassy.

“Elephant in the Room” will travel to Dubai, to be installed at the Design District (d3) for a period of one month, launching on Friday March 12. As Dubai’s destination hub of inspiration and innovation by creatives, artists and designers, d3 will house the elephants in its walkways, offering visitors a unique experience of collective and participatory design for positive impact.

The installation of Elephant in the Room will coincide with Art Dubai 2021, taking place March 29-April 3 at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Art Dubai in its 14th year, is one of the Asia’s most successful cultural event to promote and support creative art scenes through a portfolio of events.

The Art Dubai 2021 will also be celebrating 50th anniversary of the unification of the United Arab Emirates which also coincides with the celebration of 50th year of independence of Bangladesh.

Artist Kamruzzaman Shadhin was the participant of first Majhi Art Residency 2019 in Venice, Italy and was involved as Artistic Coordinator of “ BHUMI “ project 2020
Camp Image courtesy : IUCN
Featuring the work of Bangladeshi artist Kamruzzaman Shadhin & Rohingya craft persons from Kutupalong Refugee camp Presented at Design District (d3), Dubai, March 12-April 12, 2021