Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation: An Unwavering Commitment To Art

How DBF supports artists at home and abroad

By MWB Desk

Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation (DBF) is an art foundation founded by Durjoy Rahman in 2018. As an avid art collector for over 25 years, Rahman’s passion for art and artists from South Asia and beyond led him to establish DBF with the aim of promoting their works in a critical, international art context. Rahman is a significant art collector in the region, with an extensive collection of Bangladesh artists, as well as works by well-known Western artists such as Pablo Picasso, Lucien Freud, Henri Moore, Andy Warhol, and David Hockney, and renowned Eastern artists including Jamini Roy, MF Husain, Jogen Chowdhury, Atul Dodiya, Rasheed Araeen, and Akbar Padamsee, among others.

DBF also has a significant collection of works by Paris-based Bangladeshi artist Shahabuddin Ahmed, spanning from his early years in the 1970s to his more recent works, reflecting the identity of the contemporary art scene in Bangladesh and the impact of the War of Liberation. DBF’s efforts in collecting and showcasing the works of Bangladeshi artists like Shahabuddin contribute to the preservation and promotion of Bangladesh’s cultural heritage within the global art world.

DBF is a foundation that supports artists in creating new artworks and engages art practitioners in relevant exhibitions, publications, and residencies. Within a short period of time, DBF has supported numerous cultural projects focused on South Asian and Middle Eastern, African, and South Asian (MEASA) art practitioners, collaborating with major organizations such as Alserkal Arts Foundation in Dubai (UAE), The Photographer’s Gallery, London, Asia Society India Center in Mumbai (India), SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin (Germany), Kochi Biennale Foundation in India, and many others. DBF has also worked closely with organizations such as Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, Gidree Bawlee Foundation of the Arts, Lightbox Group, and many more to foster critical discourse and explore cross- cultural exchange.

DBF launched “Majhi International Art Residency,” in 2019, 2020, and 2021, comprising ten artists and collectives working in Europe, South and South East Asia for a two-week residency program in order to bridge artistic practices between East and West.

In 2023, DBF participated in the “BHUMI” project at Kochi Biennale, supported an innovative project by the Britto Art Trust at Art Dubai 2023, and served as a cultural partner of Sharjah Biennale. DBF’s founder was also invited to speak at the India Art Fair and Mumbai Gallery Weekend, showcasing the foundation’s commitment to supporting artists and cultural projects focused on South Asian and MEASA art practitioners. Additionally, DBF launched the DBF Asia Society Future Award, an initiative aimed at promoting emerging artists from the region. The DBF-KMB award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to contemporary art, was also announced at the Hayward Gallery in the UK this year. Recently, DBF has also partnered with Wadham College at Oxford University to support the preservation of old Islamic manuscripts, which are of significant historical and cultural value.

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