Organization - GIDREE BAWLEE

Basic Information
Local language
Country Bangladesh
Category General NGO Local Government Organization
Domain Oral Traditions and Expressions
Performing Arts
Social Practices, Rituals and Festive Events
Knowledge and Practices Concerning Nature and the Universe
Traditional Craftsmanship
Function Research
Education and Training
Established year 2001

Gidree Bawlee aims at creating scopes for cultural and artistic exchange between artists and communities through collaborative approaches. Since its initiation, the organization has arranged several collaborative art workshops with contemporary artists and the local indigenous communities in Thakurgaon.

Gidree Bawlee has been actively involved in every way with the activities of the indigenous community to encourage them to preserve their culture.

The primary focus of the organization lies in:

  1. Amalgamation of Cultures
  2. Efforts to curb religious, fundamental thoughts
  3. Cultural initiatives to bridge gaps
  4. Popularize Indigenous Cultures
  5. Respect, Dignity and Recognition for the Indigenous people
  6. Heritage Transmission through Workshops and Cultural Collaborations

The target communities include the Santhals, Mahalis and Rajbongshis and the work spreads across the districts of Thakurgaon, Panchagarh , Rajshahi, Naogaon and Dinajpur. The initiative has been successful in reaching out to 9000 people till date and 500 people are directly involved in the process.


Gidree Bawlee foundation of Arts started its journey in 2001 as a non-profit and multidisciplinary organization. Located in the quiet village of Balia in Thakurgaon, Bangladesh, the organization has arranged several collaborative art workshops with the indigenous community in its own open space.

Every year for the last 13 years, the organization has successfully helped the local indigenous Shantal community organize their annual event, ‘Shidhu-Kanu Day’ on June 30. The Shantal community commemorates this day with various cultural programs including traditional games, dancing, theatre performance etc. Apart from the Shantal community, Gidree Bawlee has been regularly organizing shows for the performance based art form exclusively local to the area called ‘Dhamer Gaan’ performed by traditional groups – which is struggling for existence these days.

Major Activities

In 2013, Gidree Bawlee organized a collaborative art workshop ‘Roots’ at Gidree Bawlee premises in Balia, Thakurgaon. 7 artists from Dhaka collaborated with 7 indigenous craftsmen from Balia, Thakurgaon in an artists’-in-residency workshop. The workshop was organized to help create a unique artistic exchange between the mainstream artists and the indigenous traditional artists and also to encourage the traditional indigenous art form. The contemporary artists had the opportunity to get involved with the local community, and thus develop ideas for site-specific art projects through community-based interactions. The residency created a rare opportunity for connecting, collaborating, sharing and learning for both the contemporary artists and the indigenous artists and craftsmen. An exhibition was held at the end of the workshop in the workshop site with various artworks created in the workshop.

In June 2014, Gidree Bawlee has arranged its 2nd artist-in-residency program focusing on land art. The workshop was held at Gidree Bawlee’s activity site in Balia, Thakurgaon, surrounded by vast expanses of green land which will provided the artists with ample space for utilizing their artistic merits and creating site-specific environmental artworks. 10 contemporary artists from different parts of Bangladesh collaborated with local craftsmen and artisans and explored the possibilities and extent of land art in this 5 day long residency program. At the end of the workshop an exhibition was held on June 29 when the visitors came and enjoyed the artworks. The workshop was held just before the Hool Festival on June 30, so the artists had the opportunity to be introduced to the traditional rituals of the Shantal community by attending the festival.

Currently, Gidree Bawlee Foundation of Arts with support from Prince Claus Fund is running the project ‘The Future in Handmade’. 7 Mainstream fashion entrepreneurs, designers and artists collaborated with 21 local craftsmen from underprivileged indigenous communities in Thakurgaon to develop innovative products through interaction and collaboration. The workshop was held for 14 days through an artist-in-residency program and active involvement from renowned designer and artist Chandra Shekhar Saha acting as the resource person. The exhibition of the products was held in Bangladesh National Museum, Dhaka.

Contact Information (Organization)
Address Gidree Bawlee Foundation for Arts, 8/37-A, Eastern Plaza (7th Floor), Sonargaon Road, Dhanmondi, Dhaka 1205
Tel +880 1914-741007

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