Bengal Crafts Programme
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 has jointly organised the Master Craftsperson Awards and Crafts Fair with the National Crafts Council since 2010 in an attempt to revive traditional practices, recognising the value of artisans in our culture, and encouraging others to follow in their tradition. Fairs are regularly organised at the Bengal Shilpalay premises to showcase the diversity of crafts traditions in Bangladesh.
The programme, over the years, has also lent support to the fair trade brand Aranya, with the intension of recapturing and re-establishing the lost traditions of natural dye usage, promoting their eco-friendly alternatives to the fashion industry.
The Foundation; in association with National Crafts Council of Bangladesh, Aranya, Aarong, Tangail Saree Kutir, and Kumudini; organized the Jamdani Festival in 2019 – an event celebrating the heritage of the Jamdani textile in Bangladesh, and the skill of the master artisans involved with the craft. The Festival featured an exhibition of original and replicas of Jamdanis dating back to two centuries, live demonstrations by weavers, an international seminar, workshop, a documentary film, amongst many others. The programme led to the recognition of Sonargaon as the country’s first World Craft City.
Bengal Foundation is a national entity member of the World Crafts Council. The Crafts Programme presently focuses on conserving tradition, promoting and securing recognition for Bangladeshi crafts traditions.