In 21st century, Bangladesh, a teeming country with economic dreams to reach the peak, migration and mobility assert a different name for these communities, nomads. In today’s semi-deserted environment, nomads are often challenged and questioned by ‘conscious’ citizens. Their minimal presence in temporary settlements made of bamboo, straw, plastic or cloth sheets, often creates paradoxical illusion for ‘global’, ‘urban’, ‘enlighten’, ‘settled’ citizens and questions their relationship with nature.
The Bede, over half a million in Bangladesh, have not only been outcast from the territory, but also from its history. It has been hundreds of years since the Bede arrived in Bangladesh. Nevertheless, they continue to represent an be ignored or even rejected for their identity.
This exhibition includes a variety of Bede communities: some are nomads who roam the labyrinthine rivers of Bangladesh on their boats and survive on shing. Some other communities, lacking the ownership of a piece of land, search for temporary settlement on the roadsides, or on wastelands close to the markets where they can sell their charms and traditional medicinal remedies, or perform shows with their monkeys and their cobras. There are also those who — after tremendous efforts and remarkable luck — embark on the path towards the acquisition of a piece of land, while some others — who at one point did have land — are forced to take the opposite direction. The land’s erosion — a phenomenon which, due to climactic reasons, is spreading at a very rapid rate— turns many Bede into new nomads who’ve seen their homes completely disappear.
Sumon Yusuf and Salvador Arellano
Exhibition Dates: 2 November – 18 November 2017