The city has become the epicenter of art, as Dhaka Art Summit 2020: Seismic Movements (DAS 2020) began yesterday at the National Art Gallery of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA).
Visionary duo Rajeeb and Nadia Samdani, the co-founders of the Samdani Art Foundation (SAF), in association with Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) and the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, have been organising the prestigious art event biennially since 2012, in order to provide art lovers with a rare opportunity to experience multifarious arts from all around the world under one roof.
The open-for-all event convenes a critical mass of artists and thinkers invoking its audience to reconsider histories, movements, borders and fault lines through the lenses of art. More than 500 artists, sculptors, curators, critics, collectors, architects and art professionals from different countries, including Bangladesh, are participating in this grand fiesta of modern and contemporary art. Live events, including provoking artistic performances, panel discussions and puppet shows, among other things, are simultaneously underway at the extravagant event.
State Minister for Cultural Affairs K M Khalid inaugurated the summit as the chief guest. DAS Organising Committee Chairman Farooq Sobhan greeted everyone warmly, while co-founder and president of the Samdani Art Foundation, and the director of Dhaka Art Summit, Nadia Samdani, delivered her welcome address. Director General of BSA Liaquat Ali Lucky presided over the programme.
“We are interested in what will happen through the movement of ideas from inside the BSA to outside in real life,” said Diana Campbell Betancourt, Chief Curator of DAS 2020, “this is why the exhibition design of DAS 2020 keeps a porous barrier between the inside and the outside of the venue.”
A special exhibition, titled Lighting the Fire of Freedom: Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, is also underway at DAS. It is an initiative of Centre for Research and Information (CRI), ICT Division, of Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, in collaboration with BSA and the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. It pays the richest tribute to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Rahman on his birth centenary. Organised simultaneously with DAS, the exhibition is curated by Ruxmini Reckvana Q Choudhury, Assistant Curator of SAF. It narrates the journey of the Father of the Nation (1920 – 1975), chronologically, through a rich variety of archival and contemporary materials, including personal photographs, newspapers, videos and artworks. The exhibition treasures historic moments, dating back to the Bengal Presidency under the British Raj, to the East Pakistan regime, and finally, the formation of Bangladesh, a democratic independent nation.
Roots, curated by Dhaka-based artist and educator Bishwajit Goswami, examines the transfer of knowledge by art educators who have been critical in the building of Bangladesh’s art history. The interesting educative programme focuses on the role of Bangladeshi artists in building the institutions that support artistic productions in the country. The programme has a key role in founding formal institutions, such as the Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka, the Institute of Fine Arts, University of Chittagong, S M Sultan’s Shishu Swarga and Charupith Jashore.
The Samdani Art Award has created an internationally recognised platform to showcase the works of young Bangladeshi artists to an audience, consiting of international art professionals. It aims to support, promote and highlight Bangladeshi contemporary art, and honour talented emerging Bangladeshi artists between the ages of 22 and 40.
The event, opening from 10 am to 8 pm daily, will run until February 15.