Dhaka takes its turn to become a hub of art, as the third edition of Dhaka Art Summit (DAS) set off yesterday, in the month of our glorious Language Movement of 1952. For our sublime sacrifice, Unesco declared February 21 as International Mother Language Day in 1999. This year a sculpture based on the Language Movement by Mrinal Haque is now on a month-long display in front of the UN Headquarters in New York, USA.
February 21 reconstructed our cultural identity, conscience, and led us to many glorious movements including our Liberation War. Our pioneer artists, singers, and cultural activists played significant roles from all fronts to our war of independence, and now they are representing Bangladesh with their artistic creations both nationally and internationally. DAS is an ambitious platform of South Asian Art, which is receiving active support from several ministries.
Produced by Samdani Art Foundation (SAF), the four day summit is open daily from 10:00am to 9:00pm till February 8. It is free for all. The summit has been organised by Samdani Art Foundation in association with Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA), Bangladesh Tourism Board, and over 50 international partners. Golden Harvest is the title sponsor of the event.
Art connoisseur and Finance Minister AMA Muhith inaugurated the two-yearly Dhaka Art Summit as chief guest, while Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon and Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor attended the ceremony as special guests. Nadia Samdani, president and co-founder of SAF, Liaquat Ali Lucky, director general of BSA, and Farooq Sobhan, chairman of DAS Organising Committee, spoke at the inaugural ceremony.
“At present, this is the best and the largest art summit of Asia for which we can take pride in. I am sincerely thanking Nadia Samdani and Rajeeb Samdani for the great initiative... We, from the government side, will continue to support it all the way,” said Muhith.
The civil aviation and tourism ministry has started a campaign called “Visit Bangladesh 2016”, as the Bangladesh government marks 2016 as the year of tourism.
“Through showcasing of art and its diverse facets in this platform, Bangladeshi art will reach the international arena, enhancing the country's image. I hope the number of foreign tourists will be doubled in the 2018 summit,” said Menon.
“Many enigmatic things happen around us and we exactly don't know the reasons of those like why the clouds roam around over the sky, why the windy waves sweep over the corn fields, and why a mother pours all her affection to her newborn baby. Imageries like these evoke pure joy and a sense of beauty in our hearts. This inexplicable yet easily communicable feeling helps us understand art," said Asaduzzaman Noor.
He thanked the Samdanis, saying, "DAS is offering a unique opportunity for artistic exchange and interaction between our artists and the artists of the world. I think this exchange will help our arts and artists reach beyond the border.”
“To develop DAS as a research platform, we invited curators from different institutions like Tate Modern, Centre Pompidou, the Guggenheim, and the Kunsthalle Zürich to extend their research deeper into South Asia. Works from the National Gallery archive, National Museum of Bangladesh, and various private collections are also on display at the exhibition,” said Nadia Samdani.
Over 600 global art connoisseurs, curators, researchers, critics, lovers and above all mere enthusiasts are attending the third successive edition of DAS, which is featuring nearly 300 leading artists, curators, and writers from across South Asia and the world.
The six curated exhibitions include 17 “Solo Projects”, curated by the SAF's artistic director Diana Campbell Betancourt, “Rewind” (highlighting 12 South Asian master artists active before the 1980s), “The Missing One”, curated by Nada Raza, “Mining Warm Data”, curated by Diana Campbell Betancourt, “Architecture in Bangladesh”, curated by Aurlien Lemonier, “Performance Pavilion: Shifting Sands Sifting Hands”, curated by Nikhil Chopra, Madhavi Gore and Jana Prepeluh, and “Soul Searching”, curated by Md Muniruzzaman.
Eleven Bangladeshi galleries also have presentations at the summit.