BHUMI Gidree Bawlee Foundation of Arts and Kamruzzaman Shadhin Supported by – Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation 2020 Gidree Bawlee Foundation of Arts 2022/2023 Kochi-Muziris Biennale The Bangla word ‘Bhumi’ means Earth or Land. Other than the literal meaning, the word ‘Bhumi’ manifests several meanings that incorporate people, places and nature. Expanding on these concepts of connectivity that the word entails, the project tried to create a feeling of solidarity and connectedness focusing on the shared collective ties between humans and non-human beings in the universe exploring the realms of the spiritual and the material. The project brought artists and craftsmen from four villages in Thakurgaon together from May to August 2020, exploring local materials and the history of traditional crafts and agricultural practices and their connection to the communities. The artworks were developed through open-ended exploration of ideas and spontaneous interaction between the artist, local farmers, artisans and the materials resulting in the creation of several installations focused on Indigenous farming, human-land relationships and observations on social and cultural changes in the communities. Traditional methods of farming gathered from Indigenous community elders were used to grow local plants and vegetables to create land art in one of the villages, while the other three focused on experimenting with traditional craft materials of bamboo, jute and straw. Through long-term research and experimentation by the artist and the community, the indigenous weaving technique of bamboo and straw were incorporated into the creation of the works that blurs the boundaries between conventional and contemporary. After 4 months of , the works were installed in the surrounding environment of Gidree Bawlee residency space in the village of Balia, Thakurgaon turning into an open-air exhibition. The four projects were connected through an invisible thread encompassing land and water; their connection with each other and the audience reverberating in the atmosphere. Bhumi is a project that was able to bring together the local community, artisans and the artist during difficult times, it stands as an example of human resilience and creativity. In Kochi-Muziris Biennale in 2022, the exhibition revisited the spirit of Bhumi and examined the shifting dynamics of this project born out of isolation in a small locality, giving the work a scope to re-frame itself in a space far away from its origin. Text by – Salma Jamal Moushum
‘In-Site’, Environmental art workshop, Gidree Bawlee Foundation of Arts, Thakurgaon.17th Asian Art Biennale, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.