Dhaka Art Summit

Samdani Artist Led Initiatives Forum


As evidenced by Abohoman Bangla Bangali created by the artist collective Oti Shamprotik Amra active in Bangladesh in the 1960s and 1970s (see pg. 15), and the artist initiated Asian Art Biennale (see pg. 47) at the Bangladesh Shikpakala Academy in the 1980s, artist led groups/initiatives have been key to developing the rich art ecosystem of Bangladesh that was celebrated during the Dhaka Art Summit.

Reflecting on the past three editions of DAS, the Dhaka Art Summit team realised that the format of the Summit provided an incredible opportunity for artists and artist-led initiatives whose work became accessible (from both a language and communication perspective) to the international art community. However, most artist-led groups and initiatives in Bangladesh do not operate in English and are catalysing change and creativity from a grass-roots level – often outside the capital city of Dhaka.

Collective action, often involving artists, poets, musicians, and intellectuals was at the core of Bangladesh’s birth as an independent nation. Keen to support this spirit in contemporary Bangladesh, the Samdani Art Foundation (SAF) launched its Artist-Led Initiatives Forum, where 12 groups/initiatives from across the country have joined forces with the SAF to collectively imagine possibilities for sustainable collaboration over a three-year period. DAS 2018 presented the work of these 12 inspiring organisations during the Summit. 

Back Art
Daagi Art Garage
Gidree Bawlee Foundation of Arts
Hill Artists’ Group
Jog Art Space
‘Shako’- Women Artist Association of Bangladesh
Shoni Mongol Adda
Uronto Artist Community

For more information about the Forum and its members click here.