Offshore Yachting : October November 2007
SPECIAL FEATURE 84 | offshore Runa says. A local businessman has pledged to finance the construction of several buildings at the museum, including an exhibition area, a model building workshop, shop and research centre. Runa Khan Marre's project is making a vital contribution to her country's heritage. Annie Montigny, of Paris's Musée National d'Histoire Naturelle says that of all Bangladesh's cultural heritage, "these river boats deserve, more than anything else at present, urgent attention and development. The skills of the boat-building artisans are disappearing, and must be saved." AN INTERVIEW WITH RUNA KHAN MARRE Q: What state was boat-building in when you started and what obstacles did you face? A: When, 10 years ago, my husband and I started discovering the boats of Bangladesh, we realised that the world of the riverine people, who have built these craft for millennia, was totally marginalized -- disappearing rapidly, literally in front of our eyes. At the beginning, it took some time to acquire the trust and confidence of the people of the river, especially being a woman from Dhaka. Q: How will the recognition and funding from Rolex help your project? A: Our Rolex Award will help us to save a few more boats for posterity. But what's most important is that it will provide higher recognition, giving us a stamp of international quality. Q: How many boats is your team managing to build a year? A: Our teams of carpenters can complete one or two boats [per team] during the eight-month season when the boatyard is not submerged, depending on the size of the vessel. We also manage to produce around 10 to 25 models a month. The technology behind these traditional, wooden boats has reached a level of perfection that speaks for itself. The Rolex Awards The Rolex Awards for Enterprise recognise great achievements, encouraging a spirit of enterprise in visionary individuals who advance human knowledge and well-being. The Awards are presented every two years in Science and Medicine, Technology and Innovation, Exploration and Discovery, the Environment and Cultural Heritage. A project may be submitted in almost any field of endeavour provided it contributes to the betterment of humankind and is ongoing. Anyone, of any age, from any country or background, may apply. To apply for a Rolex Award phone 02 9251 8988 for an application kit or go to: www.rolexawards.com O To ensure his skill and knowledge are passed on, each master carpenter at Khan Marre's Living Mueseum supervises a team of workers and apprentices. BELOW: At the Living Museum, carpenters from the Bay of Bengal area build from scratch a sea-faring shapman, one of over 40 types of traditional Bangladeshi boats that will be preserved.
December January 2008