Arrivederci, Dhaka Art Summit
The shortest month of the year comes with the best festivals in town which unfortunately end with the blink of an eye. The bi-annual Dhaka Art Summit (DAS 2023) ended yesterday. Holding on to the thread of art and culture from the past, the exhibition displayed a plethora of food for the soul. Moreover, the pandemic sent artists all around the world into an emotional frenzy that resulted into an artistic explosion through eruptions of shapes, lines, colors, sounds, and concepts that we were able to witness.
The National Art Gallery of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy was flooded with people of all ages. The last day attracted a bigger crowd than that of the first, to the point where they had to form queues in front of each gallery in order to maintain circulation and prevent any mishap. Some of the installations were already closed a few hours before sunset. However, the paintings, and audio-visual artworks were still on display. The floors of the National Art Gallery bore a forlorn vibe. The melancholy in the air was almost tangible.
Animal welfare worker Lusana expressed her delight and gratitude to see art and artists from the country and all over the world. She mentioned how impactful the DAS is for our society and culture. Yasmin is a service holder who loves to visit galleries with her daughter said that she is already excited about what the next summit will surprise us with.
It's not every day Bangladeshis can indulge themselves into sensory interactions with art. What if it lasted a month instead of nine days? What if this bonanza of art and culture could be held every year? Upon being asked this particular question, Chief Curator Diana Campbell explained how immense and long a process it was to research and accumulate all the artworks. She added that for an exhibition this big, two years is a must, and this time they had an extra year that speaks through the volume of exhibits.
The field of Shilpakala Academy held food stalls, retail shops, and a few souvenir shops. These as usual were always running, catering to the visitors, artists, and anyone inside the premises of the academy. There was music playing through the large speakers. Before the Summit ended, I could not resist the urge to revisit some of my favorite artworks, especially the once that included history, folktales, and three-dimensional volumes.
DAS 2023 was a blast that left us with more appreciation and appetite for art. Two years will go by soon and before we know it, DAS will be back in 2025 hopefully, with a bigger burst of emotions, skills, and creativity.