Dhaka Art Summit

The 2018 Dhaka Art Summit (DAS) features the work of over 300 artists across 10 curated exhibitions, with more than 120 speakers participating in 16 panel discussions.

Founded in 2012 by husband and wife duo Nadia and Rajeeb Samdani to promote Bangladeshi art on a global scale, DAS is a biennial research and exhibition platform for art and architecture related to South Asia that has become the largest non-commercial South Asian art festival in the world. Rather than have a single curator, DAS commissions curators from leading international art institutions – including the Tate, Centre Pompidou and the Metropolitan Museum – to conduct research in the region.

Staged at Shilpakala Academy, Bangladesh, the fourth edition of DAS looks at Bangladesh in relation to both South and Southeast Asia.  Artists from Thailand, Malaysia, Madagascar and the Philippines will be showing their work alongside South Asian artists. Thematically, the Summit moves away from an Indo-centric stance by spotlighting lesser-known art histories of Sri Lanka and cultures flattened out by nation building activities in the region, and, for the first time, an engagement with Iran and Turkey. It will also host the first Education Pavilion designed by the winner of the inaugural Samdani Architecture Award, Maksudul Karim, with the educational elements of DAS’s programme live streamed to classrooms and universities nationally.

Among the practitioners represented in this year’s DAS are Sydney-based artists Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran and Khadim Ali. Nithiyendran’s installation Idols, comprising colossal ceramic and bronze sculptures, was co-commissioned and produced by Artspace and the Samdani Art Foundation for the 2018 Summit. Both artists’ work forms part of ‘Bearing Points’ curated by Betancourt – an initiative that features large-scale thematic presentations excavating lesser explored transcultural histories of the region, the plight of the minority cultures and the role of exile in shaping regional identity.

Presented in collaboration with DAS and Artspace is the 2018 Critical Writing Ensemble, ‘Sovereign Words’, which brings together twenty Indigenous peers from four continents to address some of the critical questions driving Indigenous writing in the arts today. Australian participants include Daniel Browning, Megan Cope, Hannah Donnelly, Kimberley Moulton and Djon Mundine.

Dhaka has staked its claim as a cultural capital of South Asia and DAS has become a fixture on the art fair circuit.

Dhaka Art Summit
2–10 February
Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka

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