Bangladeshi artist Fawaz Rob's art work on the plight of Myanmar's displaced citizens, Rohingyas, has been voted the best entry among all participants at the PenhArt International exhibition.
Jurors and audience voted his art 'Long Walk Home' to be the best among eighty participants from all over the world, including France, Japan, the USA, and the UK.
"I'm very delighted to receive this international award. An artist has the responsibility to stand up against the evil of his era," said Fawaz Rob.
"The dehumanization of Muslim communities across the world is the tragedy of our time. The agonies of Rohingyas, Palestinians, or Uyghurs are tactfully being ignored and international organizations have collectively failed these people. If my art can bring world attention to the sufferings of Rohingyas, then my purpose is served," he added.
Fawaz studied at universities in San Francisco (USA) and Florence (Italy). He is a practising architect and taught at NSU architecture department for 10 years.
The first solo exhibition of the self-taught artist was held in Paris and featured in "Le Parisien" magazine.
He is an active member of Bangladeshi printmakers and has taught hundreds of students the art of printmaking.
PenhArt is a prestigious international exhibition that showcases the contemporary art scene. "Our jury followed the criteria of trying to select artworks with powerful ideas, beautiful execution, innovative techniques and concepts related to contemporary issues." stated one juror. "Fawaz's art touches on the hardship and challenges faced by the Rohingya refugees from Burma."
Philosophy behind 'Long Walk Home'
"More than a million Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar. Their homes were destroyed, family members killed, crops burned. As the UN moves at a glacial pace, and China keeps vetoing any resolution to hold the Myanmar military to justice, Rohingyas suffer in refugee camps. Despite many challenges, Bangladesh has been a great host. But the apathy of the international community is unjustifiable," said Fawaz.
He said it is baffling to see good, honest, educated people dehumanizing Muslims. "The sad truth is that people are being subjected to cleverly controlled information. The people in the power successfully use social media to advance their agenda. Facebook, the propaganda machine of industrial-scale, is sold to the highest bidder. The magnanimity of digital crime will one day be studied in universities. But it doesn't matter to these refugees. They're ignored by all."
The artist said most people just want to go home and Rohingyas are just walking back home. "They walk to remember a home they can no longer go back to. They walk to find a home that they don't know. Long walk home. These are the Philosophy behind 'Long Walk Home'."
Fawaz Rob is the first Bangladeshi to win an international award as a printmaker in Cambodia. He brings attention to the printmaking scene of Bangladesh and a big honor for the country at a time when Bangladesh is seen as an emerging economy.