“I came to understand place as a verb rather than a noun, which exists in our doings: walking, talking, living.”
- Simryn Gill, Text from Full Moon, 2012

Curated by Diana Campbell Betancourt (Artistic Director), Katya García Antón, Daniel Baumann, Nikhil Chopra, Beth Citron, Madhavi Gore, Shanay Jhaveri, Aurelien Lemonier, Nada Raza, Md. Muniruzzaman and Jana Prepeluh with Sabih Ahmed, Amara Antilla and Beth Citron.

The Samdani Art Foundation is pleased to announce further details about the participating artists and thinkers who will constitute the third edition of the globally acclaimed Dhaka Art Summit (DAS),the world’s largest non-commercial platform for South Asian art.

The 2016 edition will be held from February 5 to 8 in the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in partnership with the country’s National Academy of Fine and Performing Arts. With extended hours, DAS is effectively 2 days longer than the 2014 edition with a free and ticket-less format, welcoming any interested visitor to the venue. 

Inviting multiple artists, curators and thinkers who have built exhibitions based on commissioned research and experience within the region, DAS provokes reflections on transnationalism, selfhood and time without being prescriptive or directive. DAS is accepted as the main meeting point for art professionals from the region: coming mostly from Bangladesh over 300 artists, curators, writers and many other art professionals have been invited to participate in the different aspects of the DAS programme, which includes new commissions, curated group exhibitions, talks, performance and film programmes, book launches and the Summit’s first historical exhibition, Rewind.

Through the unique format of the Summit, which is not a biennial, not a symposium, not a festival — but rather somewhere in-between and removed from the pressures of the art market — the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy transforms into a generative space to reconsider the past and future of art and exchange within South Asia and the rest of the world.

The programme will continue to be updated as February comes closer.

Programme Highlights

Including loans from the the Bangladesh National Collection, the Museum Folkwang in Essen, the Pinault Collection and many other leading public and private collections in South Asia, as well as partnerships with many leading institutions such as the Centre Pompidou, Asia Art Archive, Asia Society, the Harvard South Asia Institute and more, DAS looks at South Asia from the vantage point of doing and becoming rather than cartography: looking at the triplet planes of imagination, will and circumstance.

The Solo Projects, curated by Samdani Art Foundation Artistic Director Diana Campbell Betancourt, will include thirteen newly commissioned works and four works reconfigured within the Bangladeshi context, reflecting the productive nature of DAS. The first DAS project commissioned by the Samdani Art Foundation, VIP Project (Dhaka) by Po Po, will first be unveiled at the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial in Brisbane. The solo projects will celebrate pluralism and look at the continuum of birth and experience in becoming an individual, book-ended by Lynda Benglis and Tino Sehgal and with Shumon Ahmed, Tun Win Aung and Wah Nu, Simryn Gill, Waqas Khan, Shakuntala Kulkarni, Prabhavati Meppayil, Haroon Mirza, Amanullah Mojadidi, Sandeep Mukherjee, Po Po, Dayanita Singh, Ayesha Sultana and Christopher Kulendran Thomas, Munem Wasif, and Mustafa Zaman

Rewind is a group exhibition highlighting 12 artists from across South Asia who were active before the late 1980s. Advised by Sabih Ahmed, Amara Antilla, Diana Campbell Betancourt and Beth Citron the exhibition will illuminate the “alternative universe offered by transnational modernism”, in the words of academic Ifitkhar Dadi, who will also exhibit at DAS. Works from various artists’ estates, the Pakistan High Commission, and other private collections will be shared with the public for the first time in over 30 years.  Artists include Rashid Choudhury, Monika Correa, Germaine Krull, Nalini Malini, Anwar Jalal Shemza, Arpita Singh, Bagyi Aung Soe, and Lionel Wendt among others. This exhibition is generously supported by Amrita Jhaveri.

Enchantment, alienation and dystopia become the plot for an exhibition curated by Nada Raza, inspired by the title of a Bengali sci-fi story  (claimed to be the earliest written) by J.C. Bose in 1896. The searching or enraptured gesture of looking up toward the sky becomes a thematic device as The Missing One navigates from a celestial modernist watercolour by Gaganendranath Tagore to cosmological enquiry and speculative visual exploration from the turn of the 21st century by Ronni Ahmmed, David Alesworth, Shishir Bhattacharjee, Fahd Burki, Neha Choksi, Iftikhar Dadi and Elizabeth Dadi, Rohini Devasher, Marzia Farhana, Aamir Habib, Zihan Karim, Ali Kazim, Sanjeewa Kumara, Firoz Mahmud, Mehreen Murtaza, Saskia Pintelon, Sahej Rahal, Tejal Shah, Zoya Siddiqui and Janet Meaney, Himali Singh Soin, Mariam Suhail, and Hajra Waheed.

The Film Programme is invested in locating South Asia, and the concerns that are most relevant to the region, as part of a broader transnational conversation. By including work by over 35 international filmmakers and artists, the programme will take up certain colonial and post colonial conditions, as explored through the lives and journeys of specific individuals, but also more analogously and speculatively focusing its attention on the stories and emotional narratives attached to objects, visual patterns and landscapes themselves. Curated by Shanay Jhaveri the programme includes screenings by - amongst others - Ashim Ahluwalia, Basma Alsharif, Kader Attia, Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Claudio Caldini, Anita Fernandez, Anna Bella Geiger, Narcisa Hirsch, Kiluanji Kia Hende, Ismail Merchant and James Ivory, Lamia Joreige, Mani Kaul, Bahman Kiarostami, Alexandre Larose, Jodie Mack, Lois Patiño, Lisl Ponger, Taiki Sakpisit, Jennifer Reeves and Sylvia Schedelbauer.

Mining Warm Data is a group exhibition curated by Diana Campbell Betancourt. With works from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Tibet, Nepal, and Bangladesh as well as the diaspora, this exhibition exposes subjective and emotional history, beyond what is created by statistical analyses, government data agencies, economic interests, community interests, or dictatorial censorship. A new commission of Mariam Ghani and Chitra Ganesh’s ‘Index of the Disappeared’ will be the central point of this exhibition, realized in collaboration with the Samdani Art Foundation, Yale University Law School's Schell Center for Human Rights, and Creative Time Reports. Artists include Lida Abdul, Gazi Nafis Ahmed, Pablo Bartholomew, Neha Choksi, Hasan Elahi, Hitman Gurung, S. Hanusha, Maryam Jafri, Dilara Begum Jolly, Amar Kanwar, Huma Mulji, Nge Lay, Nortse, Tenzing Rigdol and Menika van der Poorten.

DAS 2016 invited Aurelien Lemonier, curator of Architecture at the Centre Pompidou, to envision an exhibition about architecture in Bangladesh and the figures charged with building the country. Featuring 17 architects active in Bangladesh, Lemonier’s exhibition honours the “humanistic modernity” of the late architect Muzharul Islam, who was instrumental in inviting Louis Kahn to build the masterpiece National Assembly Building. Participating architects include, among others, Basirul Haq, Enamul Karim Nirjhar, Kashef Mahbood Chowdhury, Marina Tabassum, Mazharul Islam, Mustapha Khalid Palash, Nahas Ahmed Khalil, Nurur Rahman Khan, Rafiq Azam, Raziul Ahsan, Saif Ul Haq and Salauddin Ahmed. A panel discussion with several of the architects, chaired by Farrokh Derakhshani, Director of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, will accompany the exhibition.

The Performance Pavilion — curated by Nikhil Chopra, Madhavi Gore, and Jana Prepeluh — relates to the idea of everything being in a state of becoming or flux, especially the human body, where movement and change are constantly with us from birth to death. Shifting Hands, Sifting Sands aims to re-approach the current critiques surrounding performance art within both the institution and in an object orientated art world. Participating artists include Ali Asgar, Sanad Kumar Biswas, Kabir Ahmed Masum Chisty, Manmeet Devgun, Sajan Mani, Yasmin Jahan Nupur, Venuri Perera and Atish Saha.

In partnership with Pro Helvetia Swiss Arts Council and the Delfina Foundation, the Samdani Art Award will showcase the work of thirteen artists living and working in Bangladesh in an exhibition curated by Daniel Baumann, Director of the Kunsthalle in Zurich, along with Ayesha Sultana and Ruxmini Choudhury as assistant curators. Each of the ten finalists will have their exhibited works and portfolio evaluated by a jury of people working in some of the world’s most important museums, including Catherine David (Deputy Director, Centre Pompidou), Aaron Seeto (Curatorial Manager, Asian and Pacific Art, QAGOMA, Brisbane), Beatrix Ruf (Director, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam) and Cosmin Costinas (Director, Para/Site Art Space, Hong Kong). The jury will be chaired by Aaron Cezar (Director of the Delfina Foundation, UK). Kiran Nadar, founder of New Delhi’s Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, will announce the winner at the opening dinner on February 5. Ashit Mitra, Atish Saha, Farzana Ahmed Urmi, Gazi Nafis Ahmed, Muhammad Rafiqul Islam Shuvo, Palash Battacharjee, Rasel Chowdhury, Rupam Roy, Salma Abedin Prithi, Samsul Alam Helal, Shimul Saha, Shumon Ahmed and Zihan Karim.

Drawing on the need to potentiate writing impulses across art histories, the Dhaka Art Summit will feature a new section titled Critical Writing Ensemble. Working from the prolific context of the South Asia region, the project brings together leading writers, critics, poets, philosophers and curators including Nabil Ahmed, Carlos Basualdo, Belinder Dhanoa, Anshuman Das Gupta, Rosalyn D’Mello, Mariam Ghani, Nida Ghouse, Salima Hashmi, Geeta Kapur, Yin Ker, Quinn Latimer, Maria Lind, Chus Martínez, Rosa Martínez, Aunohita Mojumdar, Victoria Noorthoorn, Paul B. Preciado, Sharmini Pereira, Chantal Pontbriand, Filipa Ramos, Dorothee Richter, Shukla Sawant, Devika Singh, Mike Sperlinger and Mustafa Zaman. The Ensembles are curated by Katya García-Antón (Director, Office for Contemporary Art Norway) together with Diana Campbell Betancourt, and are the result of a collaboration led by Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia’s Chandrika Grover Ralleigh (Head of Liaison Office India) with Diana Campbell Betancourt, Katya Garcia-Anton and Bhavna Kakar (Director, Take on Art).

With speakers including Suhanya Raffel, Amar Kanwar, Omar Kholeif, Dayanita Singh, Beatrix Ruf, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Sharmini Pereira, Salima Hashmi and Vivan Sundaram, among over 30 others, the panel discussions will follow several branches of thought: the challenges and possibilities of acquiring art and archives from South Asia in a non-Western context, deliberating on research processes, stressing the importance of fieldwork and special commissions; the importance of context; and the structures of patronage that support institutions and future artist initiatives that take place in the peripheries of the art world, addressing and capturing their audiences in more remote contexts. These discussions will also consider creative processes that are fuelled by their off centre location, questioning the importance of the journey in the creative process, how to develop further art initiatives in these lesser-known locations and how they can support art development in a wider sense. Panels will address the future potential for regional group exhibitions and the politics surrounding them, the work of artists’ estates and legacy building in South Asia, and the rich history of exchange between Pakistani and Bangladeshi artists.

The Summit will include an exhibition of Bangladeshi art titled আত্ম-অন্বেষণ; Soul Searching curated by Md. Muniruzzaman and a section devoted to Bangladeshi art spaces, providing a platform for visitors to experience the work of 10 galleries and non-profit organizations in the non-commercial context of the summit. The artists participating are Murtaza Bashir, Syed Jahangir, Samarjit Roy Chowdhury, Hashem Khan, Rafiqun Nabi, Monirul Islam, Shahid Kabir, Kalidas Karmakar, Mahmudul Haque, Abul Barq Alvi, Monsur Ul Karim, Chandra Shekhar Dey, Shahabuddin Ahmed, Abdus Shakoor Shah, Biren Shome, Jamal Ahmed, Ranjit Das, Mohammad Eunus, Ahmed Shamsuddoha, Sheikh Afzal, Nisar Hossain, Tarun Ghosh, K.M.A Quyyum, Dhali Al Mamun, Wakilur Rahman, Mohammad Iqbal, Ahmed Nazir, Anisuzzaman, Kazi Salauddin Ahmed, Biswajit Goswami, Hasan Mahmood, Khalid Mahmud Mithu, Rashid Amin, Golam Faruque Bebul, Naima Haque, Farida Zaman, Nazlee Laila Mansur, Rokeya Sultana, Nasreen Begum, Kanak Chanpa Chakma, Maksuda Iqbal Nipa, Gulshan Hossain, Atia Islam Anne, Fareha Jeba, Najma Akhter, Hamiduzzaman Khan, Imran Hossain Piplu, Tejosh Halder Josh, Saidul Haque Juis, Shyamal Sarkar, Dilruba Latif Rosy and Mustafizul Haque.

In its ongoing effort to map and present the many histories of 20th-century art writing in different languages of South Asia, Asia Art Archive will present its first Live Feed Station at DAS 2016. The Live Feed Station will be an on-site junction for viewing an array of some of the most interesting publications, art magazines, books and catalogues that have been published in the past century, and also an opportunity for visitors to explore the database and bring their own references to contribute to this expanding platform of shared knowledge. The Live Feed Station is part of Asia Art Archive’s ongoing Bibliography of Modern and Contemporary Art Writing project and is hosted by the Samdani Art Foundation at the Dhaka Art Summit.

Children’s Workshop
VAST Bhutan will stage a children’s workshop for 2 days of the summit, working together with the youth of Dhaka to make an immersive installation from local waste products. These creative workshops will engage a new generation with the important topic of Climate Change, connecting it specifically to aquatic life and fish, a dietary staple that is central to Bengali identity. The workshops will happen all day from February 7-8, 2016

“Becoming is not a contradiction of being but the epiphany of being,” said Ananda Coomaraswamy, and DAS will continue to evolve in future editions based on the ideas sparked in February. A publication will come out after DAS documenting the Critical Writing Ensembles with illustrated documentation of the curated exhibitions, panels, and critical correspondence, celebrating the Fifth Anniversary of the Samdani Art Foundation. 

Download the Dhaka Art Summit 2016 Exhibition Guide.pdf

For more information
Please email info@samdani.com.bd