“Imagine, there's no heaven...
It's easy if you try
No hell below us,
Above us only sky...
Imagine all the people,
Living for today. . .”
One may wonder, why on the earth an article related to an artistic venture would start with quoting the opening verses from legendary English singer-songwriter-rock musician John Lennon’s world-famous song ‘Imagine’, from its album of the same name. The year ‘1971’ is the reason - and also, the answer to that question. 1971 is the iconic year of so many historic events, also marking the birth year of this majestic song which was made in the quest for imagining a world at peace, harmony and tranquillity - above all chaos in the society. 1971 is historically significant mostly for another reason - the birth of Bangladesh.
After an unimaginably courageous battle of nine-long-months, Bangladesh achieved victory on December 16th, 1971 - but the announcement of its long-cherished independence came through the quintessential leadership of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on March 26th, 1971. Geographically, March observes the Spring season in Bangladesh - so when the country is observing the Golden Jubilee of its priceless Independence in 2021, the nation is also celebrating the 50th edition of Spring with all of its glory and natural beauty.
As part of the jovial celebrations around the country, Gallery Cosmos arranged an exclusive Art Camp titled ’50 Springs of Freedom’ from March 25 to 28 in Chattogram with a collective vision to portray the festive vibes of all the past and the current Spring blossoms, blending with the historic occasion of the glorious 50 years celebration of Independence. Chattogram-based social organization Hidden Her Foundation hosted the four-day-long special art camp, with overall support from the Cosmos Foundation - the philanthropic arm of Bangladeshi conglomerate Cosmos Group.
The collective journey towards capturing tranquillity and portraying the picturesque images of nature on the canvas began on March 25, when all the artists and team members gathered in the port city. Under the cordial hospitalities of the local host Hidden Her Foundation, eight leading and promising Bangladeshi painters began their artworks at the beautiful setting of Finley Hill in Chattogram, in their quest to explore the innate and everlasting connection between human and nature, to celebrate the unified harmony of brush, colour and canvas through their majestic artistic expertise. The list of stalwart participators in the camp featured a unique team of eminent and promising artists including Samarjit Roy Chowdhury, Kanak Chanpa Chakma, Anisuzzaman Anis, Anukul Chandra Mojumder, Azmeer Hossain, Bishwajit Goswami, Abdullah Al Bashir & Mong Mong Sho. A support team from Dhaka also joined the camp, accompanied and managed by the Executive Artistic Manager of Gallery Cosmos Sourav Chowdhury.
Remarks on the venture:
Speaking on the special camp, Cosmos Foundation Chairman Enayetullah Khan said, "Bangladesh has paved a long route to reach this glorious destination of the Golden Jubilee of our Independence, and we are fortunate to have the beautiful natural landscapes in our country, alongside many talented and world-class Bangladeshi artists. This exclusive Art Camp is part of the continuous artistic ventures taken by Gallery Cosmos and Cosmos Foundation, and we are really honoured to initiate this special Art Camp with all these prolific and talented artists during this special time."
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Mayor of Chattogram City Corporation (CCC) visited the Art Camp on Saturday, March 27. Lauding the artistic venture, he said, "An initiative like this in our beautiful and majestic port city Chattogram, celebrating the vibrant colour of our 50th Spring - is highly appreciated, and I am extremely glad to be here, especially when the country is celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Independence. I truly admire this tremendous initiative taken by Gallery Cosmos, and want to thank the Hidden Her Foundation for hosting this wonderful Art Camp with support from Cosmos Foundation, participated by all these talented and respected artists in this peaceful and picturesque landscape."
Earlier, Dr Rubana Huq, BGMEA President and Mohammed Rahim, Vice Chairman of DBL Group visited the Camp on Friday, March 26, and appreciated the exceptional artistic initiative. “We usually do not see this type of exclusive initiative very often, especially in a beautiful and peaceful setting like this. I am really honoured and pleased to be here among these known faces, in such a glorious occasion, initiated by Gallery Cosmos and hosted by Hidden Her Foundation,” Dr Rubana Huq expressed her appraisals regarding the camp.
Explaining the initiative, Hidden Her Foundation Founder and Director Sunehra Z Islam said, “We would not have been able to celebrate and enjoy the colour of nature in an independent country if we did not earn our freedom and liberty in such a heroic way. To celebrate the essence of freedom and the vibrant nature of Spring, we are pleased and proud to host this special Art Camp."
Artist Bishwajit Goswami also lauded the initiative from the perspective of the participants, saying, "As a proud and independent nation, we have paved a long way through the last 50 Springs. Initiatives and artistic ventures like this, remind us about the unity and harmony that was channelled among the people through the historic March 7th speech of Bangabandhu, which eventually brought us victory and liberty in 1971. Celebrating and showcasing the picturesque beauty of Spring is the motto of this Camp, and we are really pleased to join this wonderful venture."
Regarding the camp, Executive Artistic Manager of Gallery Cosmos Sourav Chowdhury said, "Celebrating the glorious occasion of our 50 years celebration of Independence, alongside harmonizing the artistic essence of 50 Springs that we have explored and celebrated till date, Gallery Cosmos and the host Hidden Her Foundation, has proudly organized this special art camp with support from the Cosmos Foundation."
Artists, and their creative expedition-explorations:
Chattogram is a mesmerizing place in terms of so many things - especially for its natural beauty. The location of the camp was inside the Finley Hill, neighbouring the historic Chittagong War Cemetery and the Institute of Fine Arts, University of Chittagong. In such a magnificent place surrounded by a large area planted with a mixture of jungle trees, fruit trees, and flowering trees - the participating painters forgot the rest of the world, focusing only on their creative projects. Their artistic mission on canvases started on the vibrant morning of 50th Independence Day and continued through the scorching noon, pleasant afternoon and the moonlit night. Soulfully, they continued working on different projects within their own, unique styles - under different names and categories. Eminent artist Anisuzzaman Anis painted 'Close to Nature', a symbolic and geometric upside vision of the hill bungalow of the host. This particular home within nature was also portrayed by young and talented artist Abdullah Al Bashir, through his painting 'Bungalow Number 3'. Artist Anukul Chandra Mojumder indulged himself into the spirit of soothing greeneries surrounded by the hillside views and often was found attentively studying his subjects on the roadside and also at the camp, thus crafting his 'Paharer Golpo’ (1, 2). Painter Azmeer Hossain found the tranquility of mind inside nature, and one can see the visions through his paintings 'Inani' and 'Mindscape'. Veteran artist and the pride of the indigenous community, Kanak Chanpa Chakma portrayed the soothing beauties of nature and the charming Spring breeze on her canvas through both of her works titled 'Story of an Evening’ and ‘Song of Nature’, while the youthful artist and international art instructor Mong Mong Sho opted to think out of the box and tried differently from his usual range of works, through portraying the colour of nature inside his unique set of paintings '50 Springs of Freedom’ (1, 2), echoing the name of the camp. Renowned artist and art-maestro Bishwajit Goswami painted two of his beautiful artworks under the name 'Quest for Soul: 50A, 50B', describing the everlasting quest of human beings to find solace, tranquility and home within each other.
Concluded on March 28, the camp was powered by United News of Bangladesh (UNB) as the Media Partner. And the conclusion was just a stoppage for this year, as the artists are soulfully promised to explore their solaces within the mesmerizing, majestic natural beauty of Spring and the rest of the seasons through their future expeditions like this and narrate their visions on their canvases. They are the visionaries of society and culture, not to be mistaken as the daydreamers - and people especially the youth are being able to "Imagine" the unseen natural beauties of Bangladesh, through the eyes and canvases of these talented art professionals.
"You may say, I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one...
I hope someday, you'll join us
And the world will be as one."