Gallery Cosmos, the philanthropic arm of Bangladeshi conglomerate Cosmos Group, in association with Hidden Her Foundation - has organised country's first-ever virtual art camp on Monday taking advantage of the technological advances during the crucial ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In this first-ever virtual art camp, five of the country's most renowned and eminent artists went live on the Gallery Cosmos Page on Facebook - all at the same time, each from their own studios. They painted live at the virtual event from 11.30 am to 4.30 pm, talked about their paintings, the current situation surrounding the pandemic, importance of social awareness and other art-related topics along with taking thousands of the admiring audience to the virtual studio tour.
The five eminent artists - Biren Shome, Mohammad Eunus, Kanak Champa Chakma, Anisuzzaman Anis and Bishwajit Goswami each created two paintings, for a total of ten. Eminent Bangladeshi artist and art maestro Mustafa Monwar was also scheduled for this event, however, he could not join the camp at the last moment due to some family urgency but conveyed his regards and wished success to the noble venture.
Tehmina Enayet, Director of Gallery Cosmos and Cosmos Atelier71 and Sunehra Z Islam, Founder and Director of Hidden Her Foundation joined the virtual art camp on behalf of this unique initiative while artist Sourav Chowdhury, Executive Artistic Manager of Gallery Cosmos and Cosmos Atelier71 hosted the event.
"We all have been facing the unfortunate circumstances of this deadly pandemic all over the world, but our eminent Bangladeshi artists who have always dedicated themselves to save the tradition and culture of our country - once again joined us to help the pandemic affectees. These artworks have really brightened our spirits and we, the Gallery Cosmos cannot express our heartfelt joy in words and we are thankful to all the participating artists", Gallery Cosmos Director Tehmina Enayet spoke on the charity initiative.
In a video message from Singapore, Enayetullah Khan, renowned Bangladeshi entrepreneur, author, journalist, patron of the arts and Founder-Managing Director of Cosmos Group, praised the initiative of the virtual art camp, saying - "Despite being in lockdown due to the pandemic known as COVID-19, we did not lock our hearts neither pause the inner creative forces during this pandemic crisis. I would like to convey my heartiest applause to all the participating artists and Gallery Cosmos, Hidden Her Foundation and all the associate acts behind this unique initiative. As the Gallery Cosmos, we have previously worked on various artforms and organized a great number of art camps on issues such as climate change, Rohingya refugee, floating arts, wood-based arts etc. - but this is something unique that has not been done before in the country. This is a charity event for a noble cause and I am extremely proud and happy to see the fruition of this remarkable initiative."
Founder of Hidden Her foundation Sunehra Z Islam said, "While the entire world is stranded, nothing is moving and people are lacking the spirit in life - l, We are happy to be a part of this first-ever online live art camp which not only will brighten the spirit of people who are being locked down at home, but also will make a landmark in Bangladesh Artistic community for holding such event for the very first time. Apart from that, all proceeds from selling these artworks will be given to corona victims".
The artists have also shared their heartfelt joy of becoming part of this noble initiative. Veteran artist Biren Shome, also a freedom fighter at the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971, compared the ongoing crisis with the war. "We have never dealt with a pandemic and crisis like this, but through the power and spirit of our creative forces - we shall overcome this deadly pandemic as well", the artist expressed his hope for a better tomorrow.
Country's renowned indigenous artist Kanak Chanpa Chakma said, "We have to adapt with the new normals and at the same time we also have to nurture and express our creativity. Initiatives such as this first-ever virtual art camp by Cosmos Foundation and Hidden Her Foundation are brightening our spirits when we are adapting with being in the lockdown in our home for months."
Seasoned artist Mohammad Eunus thanked the initiative in addition with praising the efforts of frontline fighters, saying "We all have been surviving through the constant efforts of our frontline fighters including the doctors, nurses, government officials, policemen, journalists and all other professionals who are continuously working for us. As artists, we also have certain responsibilities and I thank the organizers for giving us the opportunity to express our crafts."
Acclaimed visual artist Bishwajit Goswami, also an Assistant Professor of the Faculty of Fine Arts of Dhaka University said "The art camp, with the theme 'Brightening The Spirits With Art', is an exceptional initiative. This is the most effective, creative interaction in society during this pandemic as the fund would be collected from selling the paintings by artists at the art camp and I am immensely proud to be a part of it."
Together, the Cosmos Foundation and Hidden Her Foundation will complete further procedures going forward with selling the artworks in order to raise funds for those affected by the pandemic.