Nadia Samdani | DIRECTOR
Nadia Samdani is the Co-Founder and President of the Samdani Art Foundation and Director of the Dhaka Art Summit. In 2011, with husband Rajeeb Samdani, she established the Samdani Art Foundation to support the work of Bangladesh and South Asia’s contemporary artists and architects and increase their exposure. As part of this initiative, she founded the Dhaka Art Summit, which has since completed four successful editions under her leadership. Nadia is a member of Tate’s South Asia Acquisitions Committee, Tate's International Council, Art Dubai’s Advisory Council and Alserkal Avenue’s Programming Committee, and is one of the founding members of The Harvard University Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute’s Arts Advisory Council. In 2017, with her husband Rajeeb, she was the first South Asian arts patron to receive the prestigious Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award.
A second-generation collector, Nadia began her own collection at the age of 22. She collects both Bangladeshi and international art, reflecting her experience as both a proud Bangladeshi and a global citizen. She has written about collecting for Art Asia Pacific and Live Mint, and has been a guest speaker at art fairs and institutions including University of California, Berkeley and Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. Works from the Samdanis’ collection have been lent to institutions and festivals including: Tate, London (2019); Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2019); Para Site, Hong Kong (2018); Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2018); documenta14, Kassel and Athens, (2017); Shanghai Biennale (2017); Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Olso (2016); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2015); Kunstsammlung Nordrhein, Düsseldorf (2015); Gwangju Biennale (2014); and Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2014).
Rajeeb Samdani | Co-Founder
Rajeeb Samdani is the Co-Founder and Trustee of the Samdani Art Foundation, Chairman of Gulf International Finance Limited, UAE, and Managing Director of Golden Harvest Group - one of the leading diversified conglomerates in Bangladesh. In addition to his cultural philanthropy, Rajeeb is the Secretary General of the Bangladesh Human Rights Foundation, Founder of the Taher Ahmed Chowdhury Charitable Hospital in Sylhet, and the Alvina Samdani Trust.
Rajeeb first began collecting contemporary art with his wife Nadia Samdani, with whom he established the Samdani Art Foundation in 2011. Works from their collection have been lent to institutions and festivals including: Tate, London (2019); Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2019); Para Site, Hong Kong (2018); Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2018); documenta14, Kassel and Athens, (2017); Shanghai Biennale (2017); Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Olso (2016); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2015); Kunstsammlung Nordrhein, Düsseldorf (2015); Gwangju Biennale (2014); and Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2014). Rajeeb is a founding member and Co-Chair of Tate’s South Asian Acquisitions Committee, a member of Tate's International Council, Art Dubai’s Advisory Council, and Alserkal Avenue’s Programming Committee, and is one of the founding members of The Harvard University Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute’s Arts Advisory Council. In 2017, with his wife Nadia, he was the first South Asian arts patron to receive the prestigious Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award. He has been a guest speaker at art fairs and institutions including University of California, Berkeley and Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.
Diana Campbell Betancourt | Artistic Director / Chief Curator
Diana Campbell Betancourt is a Princeton educated American curator who has been working in South and Southeast Asia since 2010 – primarily in India, Bangladesh, and the Philippines – and is now based between Brussels and Dhaka. Since 2013, she has served as the Founding Artistic Director of the Samdani Art Foundation and Chief Curator of the Dhaka Art Summit, leading the critically acclaimed 2014, 2016, and 2018 editions. Campbell has developed the Dhaka Art Summit into a leading research and exhibitions platform for art from South Asia, bringing together artists, architects, curators, and writers from across South Asia through a largely commission based model where new work and exhibitions are born in Bangladesh, and has realised significant projects with artists such as Raqib Shaw (co-curated with Maria Balshaw), Tino Seghal, Lynda Benglis, Raqs Media Collective, Shahzia Sikander, Shilpa Gupta, Haroon Mirza, and many others through this unique platform. In addition to her exhibitions making practice, Campbell is responsible for developing the Samdani Art Foundation collection and drives its international collaborations ahead of opening the foundation’s permanent home, Srihatta – Samdani Art Centre and Sculpture Park, opening in Sylhet in 2019.
Concurrent to her work in Bangladesh from June 2016-June 2018, Campbell Betancourt was also the Founding Artistic Director of Bellas Artes Projects in the Philippines, a non-profit international residency and exhibition programme with sites in Manila and Bataan where she curated Bruce Conner’s first major solo exhibition in Asia as well exhibitions of new work by artists such as Pawel Althamer, Cian Dayrit, Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan, among others. She chairs the board of the Mumbai Art Room, one of India’s leading non-profit spaces. In 2018, she was appointed curator of Frieze Projects in London and will also curate the 2019 edition of Frieze Projects. Her writing has been published by Mousse, Frieze, Art in America, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) among others.
Mohammad Sazzad Hossain
Head of Administration
Mohammad Sazzad Hossian is the Head of Administration of the Samdani Art Foundation. Sazzad has worked for the Samdani Art Foundation since 2012 and has been a key member of the management team from the first edition of the Dhaka Art Summit, now moving into its 4th edition. He is responsible for the artistic production of DAS, along with the management of all teams on site. From the outset Sazzad has managed the production of major international artist projects, such as Shahzia Sikander, Rashid Rana and Haroon Mirza to name a few. Sazzad Hossain completed his M.A. and B.A. from Stamford University Bangladesh majoring in English Literature.
HEAD OF PUBLICATIONS
Emma Sumner is the Head of Publications, Samdani Art Foundation and Dhaka Art Summit, and an independent writer, researcher and lecturer. Originally trained as a visual artist, in 2010 Emma was awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council Studentship to study Art History and Curating. During her study and since graduating Emma has worked with numerous institutions and independent platforms, including Tate Liverpool, National Museums Liverpool and the Liverpool Biennale, she has lectured at Liverpool John Moores University, The University of Salford and Wirral Metropolitan and contributes regularly to numerous international platforms including, Art Agenda, Monopol Magazin and e-flux Conversations.
Lt. col. md. nasimul alam retd. Director of Brain Train Creative Ltd.
Colonel Nasim has been involved with the Dhaka Art Summit since 2016 when he acted as Chief of Security. For DAS 2018, he will acted as Chief Coordinator. After completing 26 years of service in the Bangladesh Army, he joined the Golden Harvest Group as Head of Operations at Brain Train Studio Ltd, and now holds the position of Director.
After completing his graduation from Bangladesh Army, Colonel Nasim served in various important Military position including security of VVIPs, both at home, and abroad, and served as Peace-Keeper in Iraq and Kuwait. He later completed his MBA in Human Resource Management from a private university in Bangladesh.
Nawreen Ahmed is working as Communications Manager for Samdani Art Foundation. She has worked as Junior Operations Officer for ME SOLshare Limited and taught Strategic Management and Business English while she worked as a Lecturer for BiMS. She has completed her BBA from Heriot Watt University and MBA from Eastern University.
Mirela Baciak is a curator, researcher, and writer in the field of visual arts. Her projects mostly take formats commonly used in relation to art-based knowledge articulation and/or communication in the present day: publication, lecture-performance, exhibition, symposium, screening, or workshop.
Recently she worked as assistant curator of the exhibition Everything is getting better. Unknown Knowns of Polish (Post) Colonialism, SAVVY Contemporary Berlin (2017), Fellow at Kunsthalle Wien (2017), curator in residence at Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw (2018). She was an associate editor of the publications: I Can‘t Work Like This. A Reader on Boycotts and Contemporary Art (2017), and A City Curating Reader. Public Art Munich 2018.
Ruxmini reckvana q Choudhury
Ruxmini Choudhury is a Bangladesh based Assistant Curator for the Samdani Art Foundation. She works directly under Diana Campbell Betancourt to arrange seminars and international exhibitions. As part of the Dhaka Art Summit team, she worked as a research assistant to Daniel Baumann for the Samdani Art Award 2016 show, Diana Campbell Betancourt for the group show 'Mining Warm Data' and worked under Nada Raza in her group show ‘The Missing One’. Her work comprises of research on local artists, archiving and monitoring the Samdani Art Foundation Collection among others. She is also responsible for the Samdani Artist Led-Initiatives Forum. Ruxmini also works as a freelance art writer, researcher and bilingual translator. She completed her BFA in Art History from University of Dhaka in 2014 and previously interned at the Dhaka Art Center. Her research on the crafts of Kushtia, Jhenaidah and Magura district of Bangladesh has been published in Setouchi Catalogue: Bangladesh Crafts, 2014. She is also an alumna of Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programme and was previously involved in many social service and youth empowerment activities.
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS AND EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Emily Dolan is the Director of Operations and External Affairs. She originally trained as a visual artist and since 2002 has worked in art institutions, including five years at The Fine Art Society, her primary focus being contemporary art. Since 2012 she has taken on production orientated roles in non-profit organisations and has coordinated exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery in London, The 55th Venice Biennale, Garage Centre of Contemporary Art and Culture, Moscow, and the Chalet Society, Paris.
CURATORIAL ASSISTANT TO THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Abhijan Gupta studied Art History at the Faculty of Fine Arts, MSU Baroda. He has previously worked with the Majlis Cultural Centre, Mumbai and the Asia Art Archive, New Delhi.