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2015.10.13 Tue, by
Dhaka Art Summit

5–8 February 2016
Samdani Art Foundation Level 5, Suite 501 & 502
Shanta Western Tower
186 Gulshan- Tejgaon Road
Tejgaon 1/A, Dhaka -1208


“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 Samdani Art Foundation Artistic Director and DAS Chief Curator Diana CampbellBetancourt, Katya García-Antón (Director of the Office for Contemporary Art Norway), DanielBaumann (Director of the Kunsthalle in Zurich), artist Nikhil Chopra, Beth Citron (Curator ofModern and Contemporary Art at the Rubin Museum of Art), artist Madhavi Gore, curatorShanay Jhaveri, Aurelien Lemonier (Architecture Curator at the Centre Pompidou), Nada Raza(assistant curator at Tate Modern), Mohammad Moniruzzaman and artist Jana Prepeluh withAsia Art Archive Senior Researcher Sabih Ahmad and Amara Antilla (assistant curator at theGuggenheim Museum, New York).

The Samdani Art Foundation is pleased to announce further details about the participating artistsand 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 inpartnership with the country’s National Academy of Fine and Performing Arts. With extendedhours, DAS is effectively two days longer than the 2014 edition and now 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 commissionedresearch and experience within the region, DAS provokes reflections on transnationalism,selfhood and time without being prescriptive or directive. DAS is accepted as the main meetingpoint 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 differentaspects of the DAS programme, which includes new commissions, curated group exhibitions,talks, performance and film programme, book launches and the Summit’s first historicalexhibition, Rewind.

Through the unique format of the Summit, which is not a biennial, not a symposium, not afestival — 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 pastand future of art and exchange within South Asia and the rest of the world.

The programme can be viewed at www.dhakaartsummit.org and will continue to be updated asFebruary comes closer.

Programme Highlights

Including loans from the Bangladesh National Collection, the Museum Folkwang in Essen, thePinault Collection and many other leading public and private collections in South Asia, as wellas partnerships with many leading institutions such as the Centre Pompidou, BangladeshNational Museum, 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.

Solo Projects

Reflecting the productive nature of DAS, the Solo Projects curated by Diana CampbellBetancourt will include thirteen newly commissioned works and three works reconfigured withinthe Bangladeshi context. 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 fluid continuum of birth and experiencein becoming an individual, book-ended by Lynda Benglis and Tino Sehgal and with ShumonAhmed, Tun Win Aung and Wah Nu, Simryn Gill, Waqas Khan, Shakuntala Kulkarni,Prabhavati Meppayil, Haroon Mirza, Amanullah Mojadidi, Sandeep Mukherjee, Po Po, DayanitaSingh, 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 activebefore the late 1980s. The exhibition is advised by Sabih Ahmad, Amara Antilla, DianaCampbell Betancourt and Beth Citron and will illuminate the ‘alternative universe offered bytransnational modernism’, to use the words of academic Ifitikhar Dadi who will also exhibitwork at DAS. Works from various artists’ estates, the Pakistan High Commission, and otherprivate collections will be shared with the public for the first time in over 30 years. Artistsinclude Rashid Choudhury, Monika Correa, Germaine Krull, Nalini Malani, Anwar JalalShemza, Bagyi Aung Soe, Arpita Singh, and Lionel Wendt among others. This exhibition isgenerously supported by Amrita Jhaveri.

The Story of the Missing One

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 in1896. The searching or enraptured gesture of looking up toward the sky becomes a thematicdevice as The Missing One navigates from a celestial modernist watercolour by GaganendranathTagore to cosmological enquiry and speculative visual exploration from the turn of the 21stcentury 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, Himali Singh Soin, Mariam Suhail, and Hajra Waheed.

The Film Programme

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

Mining Warm Data

Mining Warm Data is a group exhibition curated by Diana Campbell Betancourt. With worksfrom artists from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Tibet, Nepal, andBangladesh and the wider diaspora, the exhibition looks at the role of fantasy, subjectivity, andimagination in creating a profile of a person, beyond the traditional and clinical methods appliedby statistical analyses, government data agencies, economic interests, community interests, ordictatorial censorship. A new commission of Mariam Ghani and Chitra Ganesh’s ‘Index of theDisappeared’ will be the central point of this exhibition, realised in collaboration with theSamdani Art Foundation, Yale University Law School’s Schell Center for Human Rights, andCreative Time Reports. Artists include Lida Abdul, Gazi Nafis Ahmed, Pablo Bartholomew,Neha Choksi, Hasan Elahi, S. Hanusha, Maryam Jafri, Dilara Begum Jolly, Amar Kanwar, HumaMulji, Nge Lay, Nortse and Menika van der Poorten.

Architecture in Bangladesh (1947-2017) – The legacy of Muzharul Islam

Dhaka Art Summit 2016 invited Aurelien Lemonier to envision an exhibition about architecturein Bangladesh, the figures charged with building the country and the challenges they faced.Featuring 17 architects currently active in Bangladesh, Lemonier’s exhibition honours the‘humanistic modernity’ of the late architect Muzharul Islam, who was instrumental in invitingLouis Kahn to build the masterpiece National Assembly Building, and compares the challengeswhich he was navigating – such as globalisation, the fluvian landscape of the Ganges delta andclimatic changes of recent decades – to those of the architects working in Bangladesh today whoare now trying to redefine the terms of contemporaneity according to today’s circumstances. Apanel discussion with several of the architects, chaired by Farrokh Derakhshani (Director of theAga Khan Award for Architecture) will accompany the exhibition.

The Performance Pavilion: Shifting Hands, Shifting Sands

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 with us from the moment of birth to death. Shifting Hands,Shifting Sands aims to re-approach the current critiques surrounding performance art within boththe institution and in an object orientated art world. Participating artists include Sajan Mani,Manmeet Devgun, Venuri Perera, Ali Asghar, Kabir Ahmed Masum Chisty, Sanad KumarBiswas, Yasmin Jahan Nupur and Atish Saha.

The Samdani Art Award

In partnership with Pro Helvetia Swiss Arts Council and the Delfina Foundation, the SamdaniArt Award will showcase the work of ten artists living and working in Bangladesh in anexhibition curated by Daniel Baumann, Director of the Kunsthalle in Zurich, along with artistsAyesha Sultana and Ruxmini Choudhury as assistant curators. Each of the ten finalists will havetheir exhibited works and portfolio evaluated by a jury of people working in some of the world’smost important museums, including Catherine David (Deputy Director, Centre Pompidou),Caroline Bourgeois (curator, Pinault collection, Paris), Massimiliano Gioni (Artistic Director,New Museum New York) and Cosmin Costinas (Director, Para/Site Art Space, Hong Kong) Thejury 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 openingdinner on February 5.

Critical Writing Ensembles

Drawing on the need to potentiate writing impulses across art histories, the Dhaka Art Summitwill feature a new section titled Critical Writing Ensembles. Working from the prolific context ofthe South Asia region, the project brings together leading writers, critics, poets, philosophers andcurators including artist, writer and curator Nabil Ahmed, writer and artist Belinder Dhanoa, arthistorian Anshuman Das Gupta, art critic Rosalyn D’Mello, Elena Filipovic (director of theKunsthalle, Basel), artist and writer Mariam Ghani, writer and Director of the Mumbai Art RoomNida Ghouse, artist, writer and activist Salima Hashmi, critic, art historian and curator GeetaKapur, Yin Ker (Assistant Professor, School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang TechnologicalUniversity), Quinn Latimer (Editor in Chief of Publications, Documenta14), Maria Lind(Director of the Tensta Konsthall, Curator of the 2016 Gwangju Biennale, and an independentwriter and critic), Chus Martínez (Head of the Institute of Art at the FHNW Academy of Art andDesign, Basel), curator, writer and 51st Venice Biennale co-curator Rosa Martinez, writer andeditor at Himal Southasian Aunohita Mojumdar, Paul B. Preciado (Curator of Public Programsfor Documenta14), independent curator and publisher Sharmini Pereira, Filipa Ramos (Editor inchief of art-agenda), Shukla Sawant (artist and Associate Professor of Visual Studies at theSchool of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), critic and art historianDevika Singh, and Mike Sperlinger (Professor of Writing and Theory at Kunstakadamiet). TheEnsembles 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 ProHelvetia Swiss Arts Council’s Chandrika Grover Ralleigh (Head of Liaison Office India) withDiana Campbell Betancourt, Katya García-Antón and Bhavna Kakar (Director, Take on Art).

Panel Discussions

With speakers including Faizul Latif Chowdhury (Director, Bangladesh National Museum), artistAmar Kanwar, Omar Kholeif (Manilow Senior Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago),artist Dayanita Singh, Beatrix Ruf (Director, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam), Hans-UlrichObrist (Co-director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects,Serpentine Gallery, London), Sharmini Pereira, Suhanya Raffel (Deputy Director, Art Gallery ofNew South Wales, New Zealand), Salima Hashmi, and artist Vivan Sundaram, among others.The Panel Discussions will follow several branches of thought: the challenges and possibilitiesof acquiring art and archives from South Asia in a non-Western context, deliberating on researchprocesses, stressing the importance of fieldwork and special commissions; the importance ofcontext; and the structures of patronage that support institutions and future artist initiatives thattake place in the peripheries of the art world, addressing and capturing their audiences in moreremote contexts. These discussions will also consider creative processes that are fuelled by theiroff centre location, questioning the importance of the journey in the creative process, how todevelop further art initiatives in these lesser-known locations and how they can support artdevelopment in a wider sense. Panels will address the future potential for regional groupexhibitions and the politics surrounding them, the work of artists’ estates and legacy building inSouth Asia, and the rich history of exchange between Pakistani and Bangladeshi artists.

Safina Radio Project

Safina Radio Project is an itinerant broadcasting platform, partnering with Dhaka Art Summit tobuild a programme of conversations and sound pieces with artists and curators taking part in thesummit. Safina Radio Project is the official broadcast partner of Dhaka Art Summit 2016. Theproject is curated by Anabelle de Gersigny and is commissioned by Alserkal Avenue.

Dial-A-Poem by John Giorno

The Samdani Art Foundation will realise the first version of Dial-A-Poem in Bangladesh, incollaboration with Bengali poets that will be accessible across the city of Dhaka. Dial-A-Poem isa phone-based service started in 1968 by legendary artist and poet John Giorno (b. 1936, NewYork) after a phone conversation with his friend William Burroughs. Fifteen phone lines wereconnected to individual answering machines; anyone could phone Giorno Poetry Systems andlisten for free to a poem offered from various live recordings. The venture was a success from1969 onwards, and the poems dealt with numerous social issues such as the Vietnam War andthe sexual revolution. Giorno forged his art in 1960s New York, and was associated withnumerous important figures from that period, including Andy Warhol, the Beat writers, andavant-garde performers – who all influenced his generous, democratic work. In the 1970s JohnGiorno traveled in South Asia, in 1971 he converted to Buddhism in India; Buddhist, Sufi, andBaul poets have influenced the artist over the past four decades.The Summit will include an exhibition of Bangladeshi art curated by Mohammad Moniruzzamanand a section devoted to Bangladeshi art spaces, providing a platform for visitors to experiencethe work of 10 galleries and non-profit organisations in the non-commercial context of thesummit.


“Becoming is not a contradiction of being but the epiphany of being,” said revered art historianAnanda Coomaraswamy, and Dhaka Art Summit will continue to evolve in future editions basedon the ideas sparked in February. A publication will come out after DAS documenting theCritical Writing Ensembles with illustrated documentation of the curated exhibitions, speakerspanels, and critical correspondence, celebrating the Fifth Anniversary of the Samdani ArtFoundation.