South Asian art to find new platform at first Dhaka summit

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New Delhi, March 22 (IANS) South Asian art will find yet another new platform to showcase contemporary trends at the inaugural edition of the Dhaka Art Summit in Bangladesh April 12-15.

The summit, being described as one of the biggest by the Bangladesh media and art writers in the country, is a public-private partnership between a non-profit group, the Samdani Art Foundation, and the Bangladesh National Museum and the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, the organisers said here Thursday.

The summit will be sponsored by the American Express and the founder of the India Art Fair, Neha Kirpal, will lend her expertise in organising the summit.

The four-day summit will bring together the works of over 200 established and emerging artists from Bangladesh and includes several exhibitions, talks and seminars, and social events.

The Dhaka Art Summit has been created as a platform for the development of artists in Bangladesh, and to create awareness about contemporary art of Bangladesh in the international art world.

The organisers said ‘the summit will offer galleries and independent artists without gallery representation an opportunity to showcase their work, free of cost, to the general public and influential museums, curators, galleries, collectors and press from across the world’.

The Dhaka Art Summit will include three major public exhibitions curated by Bangladeshi artists and curators of international repute including the Britto Arts Trust, an independent artists’ group which had set up Bangladesh’s first national pavilion at the 53rd Venice Art Biennale in 2009.

Founder and director of the Dhaka Art Summit and trustee of the Samdani Art Foundation, Nadia Samdani, said: ‘In keeping with the foundation’s long term commitment to developing infrastructure for art in Bangladesh, it is also an initiative to increase dialogue between art communities in the region, and access to South Asian art internationally.’

Later in the year, the Samdani Art Foundation will present an exhibition of South Asian art in New Delhi and London.

The Samdani Art Foundation, founded by Nadia and Rajeeb Samdani, claimed to be committed to the development of education and infrastructure for arts in Bangladesh. They are also one of the biggest collectors of contemporary art in Bangladesh and last year had launched a comprehensive volume on contemporary art in Bangladesh at the Venice Biennale.

The foundation also funds Bangladeshi and South Asian art initiatives internationally, and has supported the participation of Bangladeshi artists in international platforms such as OPEN 14 in Venice, Italy in 2011.

The foundation will announce the Samdani Artist Development Award and the Samdani Young Talent Award, to be selected by an international panel of judges, at the first edition of the Dhaka Art Summit.

The contemporary art movement in Bangladesh in the last decade has travelled a socially realistic and modern course commenting on poverty, social malaise, environment and gender imbalance with artists like Mahbahur Rahman, the founder of the Britto Arts Trust, using a combination of performance art, body art, literature and photography to paint the socio-political and cultural milieu of the 21st century Bangladesh.

Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore is also another popular muse for visual interpretation by Bangladeshi artists.

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