The third edition of the Dhaka Art Summit opened yesterday, February 5th at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. Funded almost solely by the Samdani Art Foundation, this four-day summit is completely complimentary, its open doors creating a platform unshackled by dollars and cents and, rather, allowing minds from every reach of the art world to freely discover and explore the South Asian art scene.
As if to further highlight its non-commercial mission, the section previously dedicated to galleries is replaced by Rewind, an exhibition with a historical focus on the practices of South Asian artists before 1980. Diana Campbell Betancourt, Artistic Director of the 2016 edition, in collaboration with Beth Citron of the Rubin Museum, Sabih Ahmed of the Asia Art Archive and Amara Antilla of Guggenheim curated the 12-artist show. Another of many enlightening exhibitions is by guest curator Nada Raza from the Tate Modern. Titled after what is believed to be the first science fiction story in Bengali, The Missing One features pieces by contemporary artists that re-contextualize modernity by reflecting back with our current context on the theorizing of a sensationalized future from this 19th century written work.
Offering growth to young local artists, the Samdani Art Foundation in partnership with the Delfina Foundation has awarded Bangladeshi artist Rasel Chowdhury the coveted Samdani Art Award. Chowdhury was selected from ten finalists whose works were exhibited in a show curated by Daniel Baumann, Director of Kunsthalle Zurich. With the blessing from art world dignitaries on the jury panel, including the Deputy Director of Centre Pompidou and the Artistic Director of New Museum, Chowdury will receive a three-month, all expenses paid residency with the Delfina Foundation in London.
In addition to revealing exhibitions and generous endowments, the Dhaka Art Summit offers a solo projects section, an extensive talks and film program, and educational workshops. With projects from previous summits having since traveled to prestigious stages like the Berlin Biennale, Kochi-Muziris Biennale, and the Kunsthalle Basel, these unbridled opportunities at Dhaka Art Summit for artists, curators, scholars and the like are cultivating a truly unique atmosphere dedicated to the integrity and virtues of art.