Shedding light on contemporary South Asian Art and beyond | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 12, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 12, 2018

Shedding light on contemporary South Asian Art and beyond

Dhaka Art Summit 2018 in the offing

Dhaka is all set once again to become the true hub of South Asian and Global art as the fourth edition of the Dhaka Art Summit (DAS) 2018 is in the offing. DAS, considered the world's largest platform of South Asian Art, begins on February 2 at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA). Organised by the Samdani Art Foundation (SAF) in official partnership with BSA and supported by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Information, the National Tourism Board, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, and in association with Bangladesh National Museum, this year the festival expands to nine days (February 2-10) and has a plethora of activities, including art exhibition, performance pavilion, panel discussion, critical writing ensemble, educational pavilion, film screening, book launch, award programme, guided tour and children's workshop. Here is a glimpse of all the happenings, while a detailed programme guide can be downloaded fromdhakaartsummit.org.

A press conference was held yesterday in this regard at the National Art Gallery auditorium of BSA, where Rajeeb Samdani, Founder and Trustee of SAF, Nadia Samdani, Founder of DAS, Liaquat Ali Lucky, Director General of BSA and Moniruzzaman, Director of the Department of Fine Art of BSA, and Samad Choudhury, Director of Golden Harvest that is sponsoring the prestigious summit, were present at the press meet.

With its exclusive efforts, DAS 2018, for the first time, aims to widen its focus to create new connections between South, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean belt, highlighting the dynamic evolution of art in contemporary South Asia, reviving historical inter-Asian modes of exchange, providing an unprecedented focus on lesser-known art histories of Sri Lanka and cultures flattened out by national building activities in the region, an in-depth examination of exhibition histories in South Asia, reviving the glorious journey of Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh (AABB), and for the first time an engagement with Iran and Turkey.

Over 300 artists from 35 countries will be featured in 10 curated exhibitions, led by chief curator Diana Campbell Betancourt, also the artistic director of SAF. Over 120 speakers from all over the world will participate in 16 panel discussions and two symposiums that strive to ground future developments of art in South Asia within the region's rich, yet lesser-known, past. The summit is open to all.

To rediscover the journey of AABB, DAS will showcase the original artworks with photos, videos and documents of first five edition of AABB at the summit.

The programme will also host the first ever education pavilion, designed by the winner of the inaugural Samdani Architecture Award, Maksudul Karim. With the aim of recalibrating how we think about art and architecture, it features interdisciplinary workshops with participants from renowned global institutes.

As part of the partnership with Microsoft Bangladesh, the educational elements of DAS 2018's programme will be live streamed to classrooms and universities nationally, maximizing the summit's outreach and ensuring the opportunities provided by the programme to reach a varied audience. This time 55 international organisations are partnering with DAS 2018.

The local art critics and cultural journalists and enthusiasts will have a unique opportunity to mingle with their international counterparts to take part in the critical writing ensembles that will address some of the burning questions driving indigenous thinking in the arts and related fields today. 'Sovereign Words: Facing the Tempest of a Globalisied Arts History' is a project proposed by Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA). Involving newly commissioned texts, a residency in Bangladesh focused on indigenous methodologies, public discussions during DAS, and a publication, the ensembles come to life through the practice of indigenous artists, poets, activists and curators from across four continents, as well as through discussions and presentations with non-indigenous peers. 'Sovereign Words' is part of OCA's long-term commitment to the strengthening of critical writing within and across communities of the world. This edition is realised with the support of Arts Council Australia, Artspace, and OCA.    

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