Highlighting Endangered Architecture
A site-specific workshop by Uronto
The nomenclature 'Uronto' is derived from a Bangla word which denotes 'flight', but as a platform for people given to social concerns and artistic proclivities the newly-formed organization stands for an idea framed around their attempt at saving architectural sites from the transgressions of the developers. The group conceptualized a unique way of drumming up support for a building by laying siege on and transforming the chosen site with ephemeral artworks.
The members of Uronto, with their 'Residential Art Exchange Programme', therefore, appeal to the public conscience with the hope of saving a building marked for demolition.
Their very first programme, which they chalked out to mobilize public opinion to save an historical building in Kushtia, Bangladesh, rallied together artists, writers, photographers and poets. In essence, the site earmarked for destruction gained a new lease of life by turning into a space for the meeting of minds, their vision accomplished by inscribing into it works centred on the critique they wanted to set forth. Come as they do from divergent professions, the participants of the first ever programme initiated by Uronto declared their shared ethos – it is 'to accommodate and sustain an organic environment in accordance with the natural sphere of a particular place and to project their insights onto that space.'
Uronto launched its pilot project at Thanapara in Kushtia district on 6 February, 2013. The team had chosen a historic building known to the locals as 'Old Commissioner Building' – a two-story structure with high-ceilinged living quarters, expansive peripherals and a spacious roof overlooking the town. Built during the British rule to serve as the residence of the police commissioner of Kolkata of undivided Bengal, circa 1947. The project continued till February 9, 2013.
Among the participants, musician Fahmid Nibesh from Canada and painter Soumyadipta Sen from West Bengal were the only overseas artists in the programme. The others included Obaidul Islam (painter), Easel Mortuza (photographer), Sadya Mizan (installation artist) and Ananta Kumar Das (mixed media artist), Rabiul Islam (mixed media artist). Local child artists Ranta Bonnya, Mim, Roshni, Sabid were part of the contingent who joined in to represent local schools. The participating artists examined and explored the location to generate countless narratives on the building and its impact on the immediate environment for over half a century.
- DEPART DESK