CRACK International Art Camp

You may expect a beautiful artists haven, warm, compassionate, friendly people, fresh traditional home-cooked meals, a vibrant creative atmosphere, simple living, sweet bird calls, good companionship, intense artistic discussions, nonsense and merriment, a healthy dose of insanity, fully-ripened joy and unexpected inspiration!
You may not expect any sort of luxury, regularity, or extra comfort. We are an artist run organization and with no “staff” or streamlined system. Dinner may be late, meetings may be long and animated, and we all share space, for sleeping, eating, two well-loved bathrooms and an extensive outdoor studio space. CRACK Art Camp is entirely supported by its organizing artists, with no funding accepted from outside organizations, corporations or government support. This is both a conscious endeavor to maintain CRACK’s independent spirit artistic and intellectual freedom, and for the simple unselfish joy of welcoming guests and open heartedly sharing all we have to offer, be it lavish or minimal. 
Hospitality is a time-honored and well-respected tradition in Bangladesh, a culture famous for its warmth. Furthermore, within Bengali culture, and specially found in Kushtia and the neighboring districts in both Bangladesh and West Bengal, India, is the culture of shadhu shongo, the gathering of sadhus, or spiritual practioners, who, for many centuries, have traditionally met in large, open gatherings in small, rural ashrams, to sing, discuss, exchange and celebrate with each other over the span of many days, eating, sleeping and spending time in joyous communion. CRACK Art Camp is inspired by this living tradition of sadhu sangha and has adopted some of these core practices of eating and sleeping and sharing all together in simple and respectful ways. Local sadhus, or spiritual practitioners, especially of the Baul-Fakiri tradition, often come to the camp, sharing their mystic songs and deep wisdom, and spontaneous exchanges and collaborations may take place between them and CRACK visiting artists. Village children, local fishermen and villagers also visit the camp, becoming involved in the creative process, especially on the last day, a festive culmination open to all. Thus, throughout the CRACK experience, art practice and life practice symbiotically intertwine, enlivening and enriching each other in infinite permutations. 

Frequently Asked Questions​

Most frequent questions and answers

Yes, CRACK International Art Camp is free, in every sense. You are our guest! For the duration of the camp, freshly cooked local food and simple shared accommodation are provided for all invited artists.

CRACK is a small, independent organization and is not able to support other costs the artists may incur, such as travel expenses, visa fees, art materials, other purchase, etc. These are all the responsibility of the artist. However these are generally quite low, or as according to the individual needs and preferences of each artist. 
The artist must cover their own transportation cost. This includes both travel to and from Kushtia, Bangladesh as well as any local travel within Kushtia during the camp. During the camp, there are group excursions to nearby sites of historical interest such Shilaidaha, one of the residencies of Rabindranath Tagore, spaces of spiritual significance such as the shrine of Lalon Fakir, craft centers such as handloom weaving villages, and to places of natural beauty, such as the confluence of the Padma and Gorai rivers, and others. Thus many of our visiting artists gather inspiriation and a basic understanding of the local land and culture. We also visit the market places together to learn about local crafts and techniques as well as gather materials for the construction of our artworks. All these trips involve inexpensive local shared transportation.  Often times, members of the CRACK artist team guiding the group will pay during the journey, and at the end of the day each visiting artist will reimburse them, so that the travel costs are shared evenly. These costs are generally low.
 
There is also usually shared transportation organuzed by the CRACK team for artists coming to and leaving Kushtia. All visiting artists are requested to arrive to camp on December 24th and leave camp on December 31st. The CRACK team can be consulted to help artists with their travel plans, and there are shared rides organized for participants coming to, as well as leaving camp. The cost of this travel is the responsibility of the visiting artists and is generally shared evenly between them, keeping the cost relatively low. 
Each artist is responsible for buying, collecting or creating their own materials for their artworks. We encourage the use of natural, biodegradable, traditional and local materials as it is beneficial to the local economy and continuation of craft forms as well as the environment. Artists have been inspired to use a variety of local materials in innovative ways, such as jute, woven grass and leaf mats, traditional handloom textile, fishing nets and handwoven baskets, among others. The cost of such materials are relatively inexpensive.
You can help by simply being yourself, by sharing ideas, insights and explorations with other artists, by fully engaging yourself in the whole process and being open to new experiences. Please attend and be actively involved in our evening meetings in which all the artists sit together and discuss, debate and listen, sharing images and descriptions of past work and possibilities and plans for new creation. These meetings feed the shared creative spirit of the camp and are often helpful in each artists process of creation, offering openings for new ideas, collaboration, critical shifts, and reflection as artists work towards the final day, a festival of creation open to the whole local community. The emphasis of CRACK camp is not on any finished product, but the mystery and joy of the artistic process.
We do not take monetary contributions from participants. You contribute with your presence, your spirit, your stories and your art practice. However, if you would like to feed CRACK literally, we would love to have you in the CRACK kitchen! Visiting artists are welcome to lead a team to cook a shared meal, especially a traditional recipe from your part of the world, You can also feel free to bring edible specialities from your homeplace to share with your new friends, and we are particularly interested in snacks with interesting stories. 
 
There are many other ways you can contribute, from offering to take part in small shared chores, to just observing and jumping in whenever you feel inspired. However it is important to know that there is no pressure or obligation, either to do anything or to do nothing! Seva is part of CRACK’s philosophy, to “work” with love. 
 
Yes. Anyone who has gone through a full CRACK camp (and mostly enjoyed it) has become a part of the CRACK family, and they are always welcome back. The only exceptions are those whose behavior has disturbed or detracted from the harmony of the living environment, and these are, thankfully, rare. Many artists return as visiting artists, friends or even sometimes as curators of future camps!
We love you too. However, artists are not invited to stay past the final day of art camp, because of agreements with the local authorities and other constraints. If you have an interest in an independent artist residency, you may send a proposal to the CRACK team and separate considerations may be made for another suitable time. If you are attending CRACK International Art Camp, please be sure to arrive on the first day and leave on the day after the open day, as this is helpful to our team and will give you a full and smooth experience. Usually all visiting artists arrive to camp on December 24th and leave camp on December 31st. The CRACK team can be consulted to help artists travel plans, and there are shared rides organized for participants coming to, as well as leaving camp on the 24th and the 31st respectively. Please do communicate with our team early on to coordinate your travel plans.