Cox’s Bazar - UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency in partnership with Artolution, Terre des Hommes, and the Cox’s Bazar Art Club has commenced a two-day art exhibition called “Rohingyár Rosomór Fitti-duor: Sowfar” or “The Renaissance of the Rohingya Culture: The Journey”, showcasing paintings created by Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar and allowing for an intimate look into an artistic presentation of how Rohingya refugees of different age and gender perceive their lives.
“Amidst the harsh conditions in the camps, many refugees have found art as a mode of expression, as well as a means to deal with emotions and feelings in a positive way and to ease the pain. By painting they are also keeping their culture and history alive.” says Ita Schuette, Head of UNHCR in Cox’s Bazar.
With 5 big and 135 small canvases, and hundreds of drawings, this exhibition at the Cox’s Bazar Cultural Center is a signature of Rohingya artists who are promoting resilience and healing through arts. Inspired by their lives in the refugee camps, this is an attempt to disseminate stories about Rohingyas’ identity, the trauma of their past, the challenges of their present, and the hopes and aspirations they have for their future.
“Despite living in the refugee camps for five years, Rohingya refugees have not forgot their culture, and it is visible in these paintings.”, said Md. Shamsud Douza, the Additional Refugee Relief & Repatriation Commissioner. “Young Rohingyas are tremendously talented. Continuous cultural engagement with them will be beneficial for the Rohingya community.”
“Our artists have so far produced more than 3000 art pieces including drawings and small canvases. Painting helps refugees contemplate and find inner peace.”, says A S M Suza Uddin, the Country Manager of Artolution in Bangladesh.
The Rohingya refugees who have fled violence and persecution in Myanmar and took refuge in Bangladesh – some even repeatedly over decades – have gone through many challenges, and painting allows them to reflect and find inner peace. The two-day exhibition shows the power of art to heal and foster cultural values.
“This is a beautiful exhibition that clearly demonstrates how art can help children heal from the traumas of the past and look forwards to a brighter and happier future.”, says Martin Swinchatt, the Country Representative of Terre des Hommes in Bangladesh.
UNHCR, Artolution, and Terre des Hommes intends to continue empowering Rohingya refugees to tell their own stories and document their collective memory and cultural heritage.