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Bengal Foundation, a private trust, began its journey in the late eighties. Abul Khair Litu, The Chairman's personal regard for the arts coupled with his vision of projecting a culturally rich Bangladesh that will rise above the typical portraiture of a country steeped in flood and famine, led to Bengal Foundation's initial sojourn. In the course of its work the Foundation has been abetted by an enlightened body of creative thinkers. After more than twenty years on the trail, Bengal Foundation's work now encompasses almost all forms of visual and performing arts. Music and painting, however, remain its central concern. It is a matter of great pride that Bengal Foundation is possibly the only organization in the country that is wholly funded by the internal resources of a local business house, the Bengal Group. Whilst Bengal Group tries relentlessly to live up to its social commitment, Bengal Foundation continues to play a premium role in the cultural arena of Bangladesh.

The Foundation has so far published over a hundred albums of a fine selection of Bengali music. There are monthly concerts, festivals, and workshops that keep the music circuit energized. Bengal Scholars can avail grants for higher training in art and music. The Bengal Foundation Award brings national level recognition to distinctive painters every two years. Bengal Bikash tops the list in ground-breaking work that brought many young talents to the fore in 2006. Bengal Foundation's flagship publication Jamini, the first international arts quarterly in Bangladesh, and Kali O Kalam, a widely acclaimed Bengali literary magazine, continue to do well on their sixth year of publication and are credited with introducing new trends in the publishing domain. Each year Kali O Kalam honours new talent by issuing the coveted Tarun Sahitya Puraskar (Young Writer's Award).

Since 2001 Bengal Foundation has funded the single largest project for the development of theatre. In partnership with Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation this wide-reach project has held staged numerous plays, held festivals and workshops, provided grants and has honoured individuals. As part of its commitment towards achieving social good, Bengal Foundation carries out educational programmes in schools across Bangladesh that focus specifically on disseminating the tools of theatre as a means of self-expression and empowerment.

In order to provide a congenial venue for cultural events, the Bengal Shilpalaya, of which the Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts is a part, was established in April 2000. In its amazingly successful run Bengal Gallery has hosted more than 200 exhibitions at home and abroad, showcased the work of over 250 local and international artists, published hundreds of catalogues, and produced 35 documentary films on art. An important part of this first professionally run gallery in Dhaka is to present Bangladesh's art in international forums-and this it has done successfully in Brussels, Tokyo, Kolkata, Dubai, Toronto and New York. The gallery organizes local and international art camps, workshops and seminars, and supports local art organizations in their work. In line with the objective of promoting art and educating the public, access to all Bengal Foundation events is free of charge.

Sporting more than 3,500 pieces by master painters and other noted artists, the Bengal Foundation Art Repository is said to be the largest collection of contemporary artwork in the country.

Bengal Foundation engages in lateral collaborations to encourage exchange of thoughts, ideas and practices. The Bengal-Khoj Residency Programme is an exchange programme between Kolkata and Dhaka that organizes residencies for practitioners of alternative art. Likewise, the Bengal-Impressario partnership responsible for organizing monthly musical soirees and stage events by Bangladeshi performers in India, has recently kicked off with a series of major events in Delhi .

These and other initiatives form the backbone of Bengal Foundation's endeavour to share the richness and diversity of Bangladesh's heritage with other communities.

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