Basic Information
Local language বেঙল ফাউন্ডেশন
Country Bangladesh
Category Research Institute Museum General NGO
Domain Oral Traditions and Expressions
Performing Arts
Traditional Craftsmanship
Function Research
Established year

The Goals of the organization are:

  • Create a knowledge base
  • Aim for the highest quality
  • Drive an artistic sensibility
  • Conserve tradition
  • Establish the community’s role as a nurturer
  • Share with others
  • Encourage creation of environments responsive to arts
  • Uphold a positive image of Bangladesh

The beliefs of the organization are:

  • Excellence and plurality of Bangladesh’s cultural wealth
  • The power of the arts to instill  humane values
  • Operate for public benefit
  • Make arts experiences accessible to all

The organization works on:

  • Creating opportunities for artists, writers, craftspersons
  • Bringing arts to the public
  • Stimulating public discourse
  • Creating a culture that values the arts

Bengal Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization, was set up on the belief that exposure to arts and culture lend a certain enlightenment and erudition to people, which not only make their quality of life better but also contribute to the betterment of society as well as the country. Engagement with the arts enriches people in a way which not only makes one more learned but also more humane.

Bengal Foundation aims to sculpt a sense of aesthetics within the people, as well as the appreciation of it; establish points of reference for the growth and proliferation of art and facilitate the creation of environment responsive to arts. It also works to conserve tradition; allow diversity, evolution and growth from within; disseminate processes, techniques, information and knowledge about arts in order to empower, and instill confidence.

Therefore the core undertaking of the Foundation is to create awareness in, and encourage the practice of, the arts in all its adaptations and uphold a positive image of Bangladesh by disseminating information about its cultural wealth.  The goals of the foundation are: to create a knowledge base, aim for the highest quality, drive an artistic sensibility, conserve tradition, establish the community’s role as nurturer, encourage the creation of environments responsive to the arts.

Major Activities

Bengal Art Lounge, set up in 2011, is overseen by the Bengal Foundation and is a minimalist gallery-a space set up to promote Bangladeshi culture. Located in the upscale Gulshan neighbourhood, the gallery was opened in late 2011 as a commercial exhibition space designed to make the work of artists both local and international, both renowned and rising, accessible to the Bangladeshi public. Bengal Art Lounge regularly works with international organizations based in Bangladesh to showcase art from outside the country.

The foundation runs several programmes on Music, Visual Arts, Literature and Publications, Cinema, and Architecture

Bengal Foundation annually organizes the largest classical music festival in terms of number of performers on a single stage, audience capacity and duration. The ideology of the Festival was always backed by the intent to establish a school for training in classical music by maestros.

Bengal Foundation also focuses on the revival of natural dyes through its crafts outlet Aranya and in 2010 it introduced the Master craftsperson Award in collaboration with the National Crafts Council of Bangladesh. In 2003, the Foundation launched Jamini, the country’s first international arts magazine, and Kali O Kalam, a Bengali literary magazine. Later, Shilpa O Shilpi – a Bengali arts periodical, Six Seasons Review – an English literary magazine, and Jal Pore Pata Nore – a children’s magazine and the only one to be available in Braille, also came into being. In 2015 Kali O Kalam was launched in Kolkata whereby the magazine, in its 12th year in Bangladesh, is being printed and distributed in India. Bengal Foundation jointly publishes world-class monographs on renowned Bangladeshi painters, with Skira Editore of Milan, for international distribution.

The Foundation’s publishing wing, Bengal Publications, brings out books in Bengali and English with a mission to promote good authors and encourage readership. In 2016, the Foundation launched Bengal eBoi, with a collection of over 200 books and possibly the first eBooks in Bangla, in a proper format. The Foundation’s Visual Arts programme runs exhibitions, talks, film screenings, art workshops and residencies, and publishes books, catalogues and folios on art. In 2000, Bengal Foundation launched one of the first commercial galleries in Dhaka, the Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts, which was followed by the Bengal Art Lounge in 2012.

In 2013, the Foundation launched the Daily Star-Bengal Arts Precinct as a platform for emerging artists. It also established the Safiuddin Bengal Printmaking Studio, which along with a space for collaborative shows, forms the Bengal Open Studios. The Foundation set up the SM Sultan Bengal Art College in south-west Bangladesh. Abul Khair’s own acquisitions, together with the Foundation’s collection, have over the years, created an art repository of over 5000 works by modern painters of the region. Bengal Museum of Arts and Crafts, the first of its kind, is envisioned as a project in the near future, to be built in the suburbs of Dhaka, where this substantive collection will be on public display.

The museum will be the first adaptive re-use project of its kind. By 2016, the Visual Arts programme seemed to have fulfilled its initial mission of introducing existing and potential art enthusiasts to a certain echelon of art and bridging the gap between them and the artists. In the natural course if its evolution, the programme continued on its path by moving away from the commercial aspect of it to concentrate on being a platform for nurturing young and prospective artists, and highlighting the modernist legacy of Bangladesh. Realizing the need for positive contributions to the Bangladesh Film Industry,

Bengal Cinema Development Forum was established under the Cinema Programme to invest in movies by young and promising filmmakers. The aim is also to revive the Bangladesh Film Industry in a way that lends a good movie-going experience to all members of a family. In 2015 the Foundation set up the Bengal Institute for Architecture, Landscapes and Settlements, with an aim to offer an advanced platform for developing ideas and programs to improve the qualities of architecture, landscapes and settlements. In 2002, the Abdur Razzaq Foundation was set up with an aim to carry out work in political science and humanities. Under this Foundation, in 2015, was established the Gyantapas Abdur Razzaq Bidyapeeth, which allows researchers and serious readers to access quality research materials from all over the world.

The most recent initiative of the Foundation, Bengal Boi is a unique book store with the goal to enrich the mind of the readers by introducing them with culture-art-literature. The motive was to create an interactive place where people OF all ages can enjoy literature and art. The space has regular book reading circle, poetry recital, introducing new writings and writers, publishing festivals, films and art exhibitions. The store welcomes all readers to make it their very own hangout space.

Contact Information (Organization)
Address Bengal Centre, Plot-2, Civil Aviation, New Airport Road Dhaka 1229
Tel +880 9666-773311

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