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This list is not exhaustive. Our wider community members have embarked on and accomplished some excellent and challenging projects over the years, some of which we hope to showcase here.

Bangladesh is known as Sonar Bangla, Golden Bengal, because of the richness of her land that takes on golden hue when the rice crop is ready for harvesting.

The Mary Ward Centre, with support from Awards for All and the British Museum, has been working with a number of community groups and organisations in Camden, designing and making artwork that has come together to create a Map of Bangladesh for the 'Sonar Bangla' project. Groups involved parents from St Alban's Primary School and Christopher Hatton Primary School, Women from Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Centre, Bengali Workers Association and Hopscotch Asian Women's Centre and also men from Kings Cross Bengali Men's Project.

Over 100 people have been involved in its making, experiencing the whole design process starting with discussing ideas, sharing memories and stories, gathering visual research, developing design ideas and making the final map and three dimensional models.

The aim of the project has been to take participants on a journey through “Golden Bangladesh” exploring the themes of transport, agriculture, factories, landscape, rivers, sea, city & village life, food, flora and fauna, National Monuments, animals and the people of Bangladesh.

The Project has brought together different communities and cultures. The map is beautifully illustrative. It combines highly decorative mosques, ornate rickshaws, lovingly made animals, samples of food, transport, plants and so very much more. Everything incorporated into the Sonar Bangla demonstrates unique skill and variety involving print making, appliqué and embroidery, model making, construction and collage techniques. Some students gathered inspiration from a visit to Pollocks Toy Museum; Workshops were arranged for families, to encourage as many people as possible to join in and share the experience.

The Sonar Bangla Project has been highly successful in the build up to the 2009 Camden Mela. We are delighted that, with the support from Awards for All, the Mary Ward Centre, a College for Adult Education, has been able to involve in excess of 100 participants develop their artistic and creative skills in such a unique and positive way. The Sonar Bangla is art work with many dimensions that has been produced to a high standard and with the support from the British Museum we are all so very proud to see it exhibited in the Great Court.


With the support from the British Museum and Coram Family a live size typical Bangladeshi village house was created.

During a Mela Arts Project planning meeting earlier this year each of the 5 groups, working with Bangladeshi women, agreed that “building” a house would be an exciting and innovative arts project for the 2008 Camden Bangladesh Mela.

Among numerous social units in the village, the household and family are the primary and pivotal units of the social life of the villages in Bangladesh. The household unit is called ghor, in many other parts of Bangladesh. The term also means 'house' or 'room' in usages such as roshi ghor (cooking room), showar ghor (bed room), deiri ghor (guest room).

During this project over 60 women at the five community centres in Camden, have been involved in designing and making the panels that will come together to construct a Bangla Ghor. During the course students will experience the whole design process starting with brainstorming ideas, sharing memories and stories, gathering visual research, visits to the British Museum for inspiration, developing design ideas and making the final panels.

The side panels will be based on 4 main topics – The Garden; Cooking and Eating; Transport (Rickshaw and Nouka); and Celebration.

The village houses in Bangladesh are mostly thatches so the roof will be made to give the impression of traditional Bangladesh straw thatch. Students will have the opportunity to incorporate a variety of creative techniques into their work including batik, silk painting, printmaking, appliqué, embroidery and beadwork. The designs of the panels have developed through regular conversations and story sharing between the students themselves.

The Bangla Ghor was exhibited at the British Museum.



The creation of the Nouka (2007) was inspired by the successful creation of a Palki for the Bangladesh Mela in 2006. The Mary Ward Centre in Queen Square, together with women from Coram Parent's Centre, Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Centre, Chadswell Healthy Living Centre, Bengali Workers Association and Hopscotch Asian Women's Centre, are working together using mixed media techniques to create a traditional Bangladeshi fishing boat.

The main element of the Project is around recycling. Recycled card, plastic bags, old cloth, found jewellery from home and old magazines all make of the bright and colourful structure of the boat.

More than 50 women have been involved in the project; they are learning techniques around weaving, collage, embellishment, printmaking, patchwork and overall colour, design and form.

Classroom sessions have given rise to sharing stories of life on the rivers in Bangladesh – the snake charmers, the food vendors and the family trips. Some of the women have shared their memories through singing traditional songs.


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