In an attempt to restore the Jamdani to its original excellence, the National Crafts Council of Bangladesh and Bengal Foundation have jointly organised the Jamdani Festival, a celebration of the proud heritage of Jamdani weaving in Bangladesh.
Partnering with Aarong, Aranya, Kumudini and Tangail Saree Kutir – four of the biggest organisations in the country working with crafts, the Festival is featuring an exhibition showcasing reproductions of century old Jamdani designs, as well as original antique garments, which have been collected from museums, historical records and private collections from Bangladesh and abroad.
Jamdani Festival 2019 is accompanied by a seminar discussing the past, present and future of Jamdani; screening of four short documentary films and live demonstrations by weavers at the venue.
The Festival is also hosting the prestigious Mastercraftspersons Award ceremony at the day of its inauguration. 2019’s award will be presented to four of the most gifted Jamdani weavers and apprentices for their skill and contribution to the community.
National Crafts Council of Bangladesh
Bangladesh Jatiya Karushilpa Parishad, National Crafts Council of Bangladesh (NCCB), set up in 1985, is the apex body of individuals and organisations engaged in the field of craft research and development. It is registered under Societies Registration Act, 1860, and is the National Entity Member of the World Crafts Council – WCC and WCC Asia Pacific Region. Its mandate is to organise programmes to develop and promote the craft sector, maintaining the integrity of craft traditions and supporting sustainable livelihood for the craft community of the country. Its multidisciplinary membership includes craftspeople, researchers, development activists and the media. It is important to note that after agriculture, crafts employ the highest numbers of people – men and women – particularly in the rural areas.
It was almost thirty years ago that Bengal Foundation embarked upon its journey to project a culturally rich Bangladesh. Born out of the Chair and Founder Abul Khair’s personal regard for the arts, the Foundation’s main objectives are to conserve tradition, allow diversity, evolution and growth from within. 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.
The Bengal Foundation Trust operates purely for the benefit of the public and has pursued the policy of making all its endeavours free and open to all since its inception. It works to disseminate processes, techniques, information and knowledge about the arts in order to empower, and instil confidence, as well as to highlight Bangladesh’s cultural wealth. Today, the Foundation runs several programmes on music, art, craft, literature and publishing.
Aarong was established in 1978 as a humble means to empower rural artisans to rise above poverty. Today, with 20 retail stores across Bangladesh and over 100 fashion and lifestyle product lines, Aarong supports 65,000 artisans with fair terms of trade. Over the past four decades, Aarong has carved out a unique market segment for handicrafts, reviving Bangladesh’s rich heritage and impacting the lives of more than 325,000 people through 850 small entrepreneurs and the Ayesha Abed Foundation.
From clay pots to diamond jewellery, silk and cotton fabrics to brass and leather merchandise, Aarong’s vast range of products, make it a true household brand in Bangladesh. Its growing presence outside of Bangladesh continues to broaden the market for Bangladeshi crafts globally, creating more opportunities for artisans to protect their age-old art and livelihoods.
Founded in the early 1990’s to support the research and reintroduction of natural pigments, Aranya now sources materials and products directly from over 3,000 weavers, embroiders, jewelers, and craftsmen who work in their homes or small-scale community factories around Bangladesh.
For over 2 decades, Aranya has been a catalyst for the resurgence of the use of natural dyes. In-depth research and experimentation with the rich repository of dye plants in this country yielded 30 colour fast dyes which are eco-friendly and non- pollutant.
Aranya’s special achievement has been its revival of two very distinct craft techniques – the traditional Jamdani and Kanthas, the former being a UNESCO Heritage craft. Today Aranya has created a niche for ethnic textiles and artefacts which one can be proud of. Aranya’s focus is to improve the standard of living of women artisans by offering economic empowerment, market access and fair prices for their products.
Kumudini Handicrafts is part of Kumudini Welfare Trust. The Trust, founded by Mr. R P Shaha, has been engaged in social development in the areas of healthcare, education and women empowerment since 1947. The Founder dreamt of a prosperous, fair and all-inclusive society free from bias and discrimination where each individual has equal opportunity regardless of caste, creed, gender, class or ability.
Founded in the 80’s Kumudini Handicrafts was formed with the dual goals of promoting and keeping alive Bangladeshi traditions and heritage (through the revival of traditional crafts, mainly Nakshi Kantha and Jamdani), and working towards a more equitable and prosperous society by helping women achieve economic self-sufficiency, thereby empowering them to make a difference.
Kumudini Handicrafts has played a pioneering role in the revival of Jamdani, which has resulted in the burgeoning popularity of this beautiful craft both home and abroad.
Tangail Saree Kutir
Tangail Saree Kutir is the oldest saree store in Bangladesh, trading in locally produced handloom sarees. It was established in 1982 and has become a nationally recognised brand for the elegance and quality of its products. It has a vast collection of Tangail handloom sarees which includes Jamdani, Cotton, Silk, Natural Dye, Hand Print, Embroidery, Katha Work, Naksikatha, Block Print, among other products. Tangail Saree Kutir has been a pioneer in the industry, promoting Bangladeshi weaves to local and international forums.
Ruby Ghuznavi, Luva Nahid Choudhury
Md. Rafiqul Islam, Chandra Shekhar Shaha
Joint Coordinator: Mitia Saleh
Coordinator: Sk. Saifur Rahman
Organising Committee Members
Ruby Ghuznavi, Md. Rafiqul Islam, Chandra Shekhar Shaha, Hameeda Hossain, Sk. Saifur Rahman, Monira Emdad, Mitia Saleh, Shahid Hossain Shamim, Estambul Hoque
Luva Nahid Choudhury, Mohammad Ataur Rahman
Research & Design Documentation Committee
Head: Ruby Ghuznavi
Member: Mitia Saleh
Design & Editing: Emon Obaidullah
Photographic & Video Documentation
Estambul Hoque, Tanzim Ibn Wahab
Head: Chandra Shekhar Shaha
Member: Ruby Ghuznavi, Tanzim Ibn Wahab, Sarwar Jahan Chowdhury, Priyanka Chowdhury, Shimul Saha
Head: Ruby Ghuznavi
Member: Hameeda Hossain, Firdous Azim, Niaz Zaman, Perween Hassan, Mitia Saleh
Head: Estambul Hoque
Member: Ruby Ghuznavi, Chandra Shekhar Shaha, Mitia Saleh, Anwar Hossain
Executing Partner Coordinators
Aarong: Shahina Rabbi Tapati
Aranya: Nawshin Khair and Makanur Rahman
Tangain Saree Kutir: Monira Emdad and Nadimuddim
Kumudini: Shuku Barua
Head: Hameeda Hossain
Research: Maheen Sultan and Lopita Huq
Head: Luva Nahid Choudhury and Hameeda Hossain
Member: Ruby Ghuznavi, Chandra Shekhar Shaha, Shah Nahian, Akram Ratan
Media & PR Committee
Head: Sk. Saifur Rahman and Rezwanul Kamal Chowdhury
Member: Shahed Hossain Shamim
Head: Mohammad Ataur Rahman
Member: Monira Emdad and Md. Rafiqul Islam
Inauguration & Closing
Head: Luva Nahid Choudhury and Ruby Ghuznavi
Member: Sk. Saifur Rahman, Suraiya Chowdhury, Shaheen Ahmmed
Interactive Workshop Committee
Head: Monira Emdad
Member: Ruby Ghuznavi, Chandra Shekhar Shaha, Anwar Hossain, Torun Kumar Paul
Project Documentation Committee
Member: Sk. Saifur Rahman, Tanzim Ibn Wahab, Kazi Anisul Haque Borun
Head: Mohammad Ataur Rahman and Ehsanul Halim Khan
Member: Md. Rafiqul Islam, Mitia Saleh, Shahid Hossain Shamim Khokon Basak
Exhibition Management Committee
Estambul Hoque, Tanzim Ibn Wahab, Sarwar Jahan Chowdhury, Md Shamim Islam, Azharul Iman