Bengal Arts Programme

Grants & Awards

Bengal Arts Programme offers modest grants and awards in different categories to facilitate research and art practice.

Bengal Foundation Art Award
Initiated in 1998 the award recognises artists for works of merit in the National Art Exhibition, organised by Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.

Subir Choudhury Practice Grant
The grant commemorates artist, long-time associate and the force behind the Arts Programme of Bengal Foundation, Subir Choudhury (1953-2014). The Practice Grant for emerging artists and curators is a biennial grant set up to encourage innovative artistic and curatorial practices in Bangladesh. The first cycle of the award was given to Abir Shome and Eshita Mitra Tonny, in 2015.
Jewel Rob received the Subir Choudhury Curatorial Practice Grant in 2018 for his project ‘Death Sentence’. which looks at the conjunct role of art in the creation of special instruments for execution, death and destruction, and how this has been used to establish dominant positions, demonstrate power, and uphold dogmas, as well as, expand artistic practice.

Bengal Foundation Support Grant
The support grant encourages the development of artistic projects by Bangladeshi artists which, due to their complex nature or the time needed for their completion, struggle to find appropriate funding. This is not a regular grant nor is there a fixed amount. The amount is decided on the merit of the project proposal. Awarded in 2015, the grantees were Omar Chowdhury and Munem Wasif.

Aminul Islam Young Artists Award
The award commemorates the pioneering modernist painter Aminul Islam (1931-2011). Initiated in 2013, the award was given every two years to recognise original and creative artistic endeavours in Bangladesh. Three cycles of the award were given to 6 young artists – Anisuzzaman Sohel & Habiba Akhtar Papiya (2013); Rafiqul Islam Shuvo & Razib Datta (2015); and Mizanur Rahman Sakib & Zihan Karim (2018). The award was supported by the Aminul Islam Trust and managed by Bengal Foundation.

Hamidur Rahman Puroshkar
The Hamidur Rahman Puroshkar commemorates the distinguished modernist painter, educator, and one of the designers of the Shaheed Minar (National Language Movement Martyr’s Memorial), Hamidur Rahman (1928-88). It was conferred biennially by an independent jury to artists who, through the work of a life-time, had demonstrated significant accomplishment in artistic practice and/or theory. Initiated in 2007, the award was supported by artist Hamidur Rahman’s family and managed by Bengal Foundation. Hamidur Rahman Puroshkar has since been awarded to Monirul Islam (2007); Syed Jahangir (2011); Rafiqun Nabi (2013); Murtaja Baseer (2015); and Bashirul Haque (2018).

Ganesh Haloi Bengal Research Grant
The Ganesh Haloi Bengal (GHB) Research Grant has been set up to develop research and critical writing about the arts in Bangladesh and South Asia. The grant is specifically intended to support original, focused projects which concentrate on a period spanning from the beginning of the 20th to the present day. In 2017, an independent jury selected Ahmad Ibrahim to be the first recipient of the GHB Award for his project entitled ‘Concealing the Populace in Public Space’ -Mapping Aesthetic Shifts in the Production of Political Posters in Dhaka. In addition the jury, on the basis of the strength of their applications, nominated Fiona Cheng (Taiwan); Kehkasha Sabah (Bangladesh); Musharrat Sharmee Hossain (Bangladesh) and Salma Jamal (Bangladesh); and Sumona Banerjee (India) for Honourable Mention. The grant is supported by artist Ganesh Haloi (India).

The 2023 cycle of the award is currently being adjudged on the basis of an open call within Bangladesh.

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