Making Space:Sensing Place

In October 2009, along with artist Thurle Wright, I was awarded a Making Space:Sensing Place Fellowship; part of the HAT: Here and There International Exchange Programme, managed by A Fine Line:Cultural Practice. The Fellowship includes residencies with Britto Arts in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with Arts Reverie in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, with The V&A Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, London and with The Harley Gallery, Nottinghamshire. Working and collaborating with artists and craftspeople from the UK, Bangladesh and India, responding to the collections and spaces we encounter and sharing these experiences through a touring exhibition and educational workshops.

This blog, which is still developing and being added to, is a record of my experiences during the MS:SP Fellowship. Steven Follen.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Sonargaon and Panam - The Folk Art Museum


A group of us took a trip to a township, Sonargoan, around 27km south east out of Dhaka to visit the National Folk Art Museum, to see the Folk Festival and the architecture of Panam.
The 'Golden City' of Sonargaon was once an important port, mint town and the centre of a developed culture, prospering in both the arts and science. It was the administrative centre and one of the first and oldest capitals of Bengal.

Between the 14th and 16th centuries the city built its wealth trading goods including 'khasa' the finest muslin cloth. In the 17th century political and commercial status shifted and the area was all but abandoned. Today little remains of the original city, those buildings which remain are some of the oldest buildings in Bangladesh and include a number of mosques, tombs and stupas.

The Folk Art Museum occupies a beautiful but decayed palace, damaged by fire which removed its roof and upper floors.

Every where within and without the building are examples and details of high skill in all materials from mosaic, plaster, wood carving to ceramic tiling.

Further information on the Folk Art Museum

Further information on Sonargaon


At the entrance to the museum car park there were a number of stalls, one selling tamarinds used in Asian cooking.

The museum was established in 1975, a dream of the famous Bangladesh painter Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin.