Bengal Foundation embarked upon its journey to project a culturally rich Bangladesh more than three decades ago. The Foundation was set up on the belief that exposure to the arts can lend a certain enlightenment which not only inspires compassion, but elevates the quality of life and contributes to the betterment of society as a whole.
At the heart of the Foundation is the desire to create awareness in, and encourage the practice of the arts, in all its varied forms. Bengal Foundation operates purely for benefit of the public and pursues the policy of making its endeavours accessible and open for all.
The Arts Programme of Bengal Foundation supports the practice and understanding of visual arts in Bangladesh. The Arts Programme’s approach is comprehensive: rooted in its local context; it fosters an arts ecosystem within which critical discourse, curatorial practice and artistic creation reinforce each other. Its actions are incremental: it mounts projects of quality, in Bangladesh and abroad, with the intention of maximising impact on the local arts scene. The Programme shares Bengal Foundation’s philosophy and consequently, all its endeavours are entirely for the benefit of the public.
Bengal Foundation has been promoting Bengali music for decades in order to nurture and uphold the musical traditions of Bengal. The Foundation releases a wide selection of Bengali albums to the public, conducts workshops, and well as create opportunities to train under distinguished musicians at the Bengal Parampara Sangeetalay. Bengal Foundation’s music programme also frequently organises a number of large scale music events which include the Bengal Classical Music Festival, the world’s largest classical music festival in terms of number of performers on a single stage, audience capacity and duration.
Bengal Foundation’s music programme aims to pave the way for better appreciation and understanding of the fundamentals of music; as well as to energise, influence and promote the music industry of Bangladesh.
Bengal Foundation has been an active supporter and producer of cinema since its early days. Starting in the year 2000, the Foundation has produced and commissioned short documentaries on festivals, art camps, and exceptional cultural icons, capturing their philosophies, work processes and environment.
Bengal Cinema Development Forum (BCDF) was introduced in 2013 as a platform for young and upcoming filmmakers. The Forum focuses on supporting young, promising filmmakers and directors to make their first or second full-length feature or documentary movies.
The tradition of crafts in Bengal has existed for centuries. These ancient techniques were passed down from one generation to the next, and have been kept alive by skilled artisans throughout the region even to this day. Bengal Foundation’s interest and involvement in crafts is aligned with its mission to conserve culture and tradition. For over a decade the Foundation has worked together with the National Craft Council of Bangladesh and other organisations to revitalise the craft industry.
Bengal Foundation publishes a range of books, magazines and folios that promote and encourage the practice of contemporary Bangladeshi art, literature and music; as part of its Publishing Programme.
In addition to publishing fiction and non-fiction, the Foundation releases several independent periodicals in both Bengali and English. The Programme also gives out regular awards and creates opportunities for established and aspiring writers to practice their craft.
Bengal Foundation holds to the belief that cultivation of knowledge is essential in creating an inclusive and progressive society. Recognising the need for infrastructural support in the cultural arena, the Foundation organises educational opportunities and activities, and gives out awards, grants and residencies.