The three-day (February 7-9) Dhaka Art Summit concluded on Sunday, filling the hearts of many artists, art connoisseurs and critics with an assortment of feelings. Alongside showcasing arts by many noted artists and different prominent art galleries of South Asia, the summit, jointly organised by Samdani Art Foundation and Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, also put on show a number of performance arts, film screening, discussions and roundtables.
Amongst the performing artists, Htein Lin of Myanmar presented his piece “Show of Hands”. The 20-minute show, a multimedia community-based performance, intended to capture the experiences and lives of hundreds of former political prisoners in Myanmar. Through casting the arms of former prisoners in plaster of Paris, Htein Lin commemorates and shares their sacrifice and highlights their lives, before, during and after their imprisonment, as well as bringing in his own experience of over six years' custody.
Nikhil Chopra of India portrayed “Blackening VI”, an act of transformation. Nikhil presented an 8-hour performance where he used charcoal to transform himself and the space he occupied. The walls, the floor and his body, all became surfaces on which he drew.
Rahul Anand, with 10 performers of Bangladesh, presented a 40-minute piece “Sound in Silence” that explored the parallel existence between the concept of emptiness and fulfillment through sound and the absence of sound, the reciprocity of continuity, and above all the balance of these two.
Arko Suman of Bangladesh presented his performance titled “Sound Off Nature”. The five-minute performance represented an interesting equation. For Arko, to make a choral chord, it necessitates at least three notes -- the people, the planet and nature – and all are part of the journey of musical notes.
Yasmin Jahan Nupur of Bangladesh displayed her piece titled “Sat on a Chair”. The three-hour performance emphasizes the direct unmediated bond between the performer and consultation. Nupur wished to explore the feeling of vertigo and engaged the audience as she fastened herself atop a tall pillar.
Reetu A Sattar of Bangladesh performed her piece titled “Unknown”. The sound and body performance explored the fear that consumes her daily life. The piece focused on the metaphysical argument with the sensory of fear.
Sunil Sigdel of Nepal showcased his performance art titled “My Blood, Your Script and Bull Tongue”. In his 20-minute performance, Sigdel portrayed how Nepalese administration and the British government manipulated Gurkha soldiers, and how illiteracy and unemployment prompt them to risk their lives in foreign lands.
Over the years, the language of art -- both the artists' and audience' tastes and the direct influences of globalisation and corporate cultures -- has considerably changed the approach of arts production and presentation. Post-modern approaches are predominant in most of the cases.