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Rooted in Soil 1

Rooted in Soil

Kamruzzaman Shadhin

Gidree Bawlee

“Where man had been, in every place he left, waste remained. Even in his pursuit of the ultimate truth and quest for his God, he produced waste. By his waste, which lay stratum upon stratum, he could always be known, for more long-lived than man is his refuse. Refuse alone lives after him.”

– The Rat, Günter Grass

The advancement of human civilization is a grand narrative of struggle, survival, courage and progress. The epic achievement of ‘progress’ includes domination over natural forces, exploitation of natural resources – unnatural control over nature. For our own advancement, we, self-obsessed humans have brought the world towards a destructive future. For a ‘better’ life, to have more and more, we have engulfed ourselves in greed – greed that is so selfish, it eats up everything – forests, animals, oceans, air and even our own kind. Eventually, this greed will invade us too and destroy the fake plastic illusion of safety and comfort we have created at the expense of the natural.

Even our yearning for the lost nature is being repackaged and sold in the circle of greed; the word ‘organic’ hangs on billboards. Clean air, clean water and clean food have become rare items in this world. Human beings have become the biggest enemy of nature.

"This project started years ago while working in a Santal village called Molanipara in Thakurgaon, Bangladesh. Being close to the community since my childhood, I have experienced the gradual changes in their lifestyles – how they gradually shifted their hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a modern agrarian one. Along with their lifestyle, their surrounding environment has also changed over time. Hybrid crops and excessive use of insecticides and pesticides have driven away foxes, owls, eagles and many other animals that helped maintain the biodiversity and ecosystem of the region. The rats that the Santals used to hunt before have increased excessively in numbers and have invaded their houses made of earth.

The hunter and the hunted – our world circles around this story."


In partnership with Asian Art Biennale and Alliance Francaise de Dhaka.

Gidree Bawlee (Santal, meaning ‘children’s babbling’) is a multidisciplinary platform which facilitates cultural and artistic exchange through organizing various creative programs by initiating collaborations between artists and the rural and indigenous communities in the village of Balia in Thakurgaon, Bangladesh. Through its social practice and community focused activities, the organization aims to make art that responds to the local history, culture and the environment.


This ground breaking unit is the brainchild of artistic producer Salma Jamal Moushum and multi-disciplinary artist Kamruzzaman Shadhin.

Mousham develops and directs projects at Gidree Bawlee. Her research interests revolve around the concepts of participatory art, art in public sphere, social practice and community art.


Kamruzzaman Shadhin is a visual artist born and based in Bangladesh working in the mediums of installation, video and performance art. His research mostly explores social, political and environmental issues and their overlapping relationships. His projects are often created through public participation and are exhibited in public spaces where the audiences are general public and surrounding communities. He is the founder of Gidree Bawlee. Shadhin is also a founder member of Chhobir Haat – an alternative open space for art and artists which has played an important role in the ongoing public art movement in Dhaka since 2005.

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