‘Maa-Maati-Manush-Swadesh-Bhasha-Prokkriti’ was a site-specific installation art that was created by Bishwajit Goswami on the island of Moheshkhali in celebration of International Mother Language Day 2021. The artist, Bishwajit Goswami, had envisioned a grand concept, which was brought to life by a whole team and people of the island who could equally connect to it.
Over the past few years, Bishwajit Goswami has been working on a range of artworks based on the elements of mother, earth, people, homeland, language and nature. The themes recur in his artwork either in duos or threes, or alone, or all together. He believes that the elements that surround the themes should transition from one to the other and share their connected properties aesthetically.
For International Mother Language Day 2021, Goswami and his team had done a site-specific artwork, which closely related to the history of the site. The installation was done in Moheshkhali island, by the Rakhine tribe, who have been settled in the island for centuries. Through war and unrest, the people have endured as have their traditions and their language, which led them to resort to a natural lifestyle.
While Bangla is the dominant language of the country, Bangladesh’s people speak a myriad of languages and dialects, all while boasting the commonality attributed to a shared motherland. Our motherland provides us a shared identity, despite the differences; which is what Goswani precisely intended to bring out by combining the aesthetics of traditions: Bangali and Rakhine.
The installation consisted of bamboo setup, inspired by sculptures Rakhine people create for celebrations. At the center were two “Maa-hearts” reflecting each other, one “Maa” inscribed in Bangla, one in Rakhine. Several handmade lanterns hung to it for it to be detected from afar. Goswami sought to incorporate distinct art forms into one body, once again circling back to the notion of diversity being connected through language, identity and a shared homeland.