The Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre (RCMC) is a community space and interactive gallery, digital archive, website, and international touring exhibition. It tells the story of the Rohingya people through a comprehensive collection of cultural artefacts and artworks researched and produced by Rohingya refugee artists, artisans and cultural practitioners living in the camps and informal settlements of Cox`s Bazar, Bangladesh. By showcasing the depth, beauty and uniqueness of Rohingya experiences, our mission is to empower the Rohingya community, promote their healing, ensure the continuity of their cultural heritage for future generations, and create a powerful tool for self-advocacy.
The RCMC collection is currently accessible to the public through the website and online gallery. The centre is being developed and will launch as an integrated multi-service complex in Camp 18, fully managed by the refugee community. The complex will include exhibition spaces, artist workshop, office, outdoor auditorium and play area, as well as dedicated spaces for women and children.
A project of the International Organization of Migration (IOM), a UN agency offering life-saving services to nearly one million Rohingya refugees in the Cox`s Bazar camps, the RCMC delivers mental health and psychosocial support and healing through art therapy, protection and livelihood activities led by IOM creative practitioners and mental health officers. By providing this displaced community with the tools and platform to tell their own story in their own voices, the RCMC addresses the ´identity crisis` named by three-quarters of the refugees as a key factor in their loss of wellbeing.
The RCMC is the first-ever attempt to comprehensively document and preserve the heritage of the Rohingya. The collection is a pointillist portrait of a culture reflecting on its past, present and uncertain future, exploring the tensions between tradition and innovation, imagination and memory, displacement and belonging. It combines objects of tangible and intangible heritage, ranging from traditional architectural models to embroidery, pottery, basketry, woodwork, visual arts, music, storytelling, poetry, and much more.