We have wings but not feathers,
we have minds but not hope.
This opportunity has given us both.
- Soidul Islam, RCMC Rohingya artisan
The collection of artworks presented by the Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre is framed on one side by the endurance of the Rohingya refugee community in Bangladesh and, on the other, by memories of their beloved homeland of Arakan; these continue to shape the Rohingya experience and their collective heritage.
Under bamboo and tarpaulin shelters, memories are woven into the fabric shaping the content of the Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre. In this pursuit, the centre stands as a unique repository of Rohingya arts and culture: A creative platform that provides the Rohingya community with the space and tools so they can be known for their art and creativity, not just their marginalization.
In the case of refugees, artists and cultural institutions play an increasingly important role in raising public awareness of global injustices and effecting positive change. Through this creative platform, Rohingya artisans and artists share the things they struggle with, the way life confounds their expectations and desires, and the efforts they make to find meaning in their existence. In the words of Al-Kindi, father of Arab philosophy: "For him who seeks the truth there is nothing of higher value than truth itself."
Above all, the arts and crafts of the Rohingya people seek to illuminate their human condition which, fuelled by imagination, allows them to grow and stretch beyond their physical boundaries into the imaginary realm, a place of contemplation, self-care, hope and celebration.
Rohingya arts matter because the Rohingya people matter.