Dhaka Art Summit

The Sunwise Turn


CURATEd BY Shabbir Hussain Mustafa


Taking Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy’s seminal 1927 publication, A History of Indian and Indonesian Art as a starting point, this symposium, organized by Shabbir Hussain Mustafa, will meditate upon three political ideas that have marked the writing of art histories in the 20th century: industry, modernism and regionalism. Constructed around Coomaraswamy’s writing—created with the backdrop of anti-colonial struggles of the inter-war years—and his curatorial work at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the symposium seeks to examine the interventions his thoughts made into the self-consciousness of Western Modernism.

Bringing together international voices from art, theory, history, and philosophy, the symposium is conceived as a series of propositions linking Coomaraswamy to the sentiments of his time, but also to the gradual curve of their evolution today. The Sunwise Turn is a sort of critical circumambulation around the philosopher, curator and historian. It picks up its name from an oft-overlooked bookshop—a place that Coomaraswamy not only came to be closely associated with, but also evoked as “the storm of the world-flow”—which became the centre of anarchist political thought in New York City just after the first World War.