curated by diana campbell betancourt
2-10 February 2018 | Dhaka Art Summit
The Asian Art Biennale in Context presented 26 of the 27 works of Bangladeshi art that the Shilpakala Academy collected from the first four Asian Art Biennales led by Syed Jahangir. Presented chronologically, this exhibition also included the artworks that could be located by the international artists who donated their work to this collection after participating in these early biennales. The Dhaka Art Summit remains grateful to the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy for providing access to their archive and giving permission for their works, which are normally found in storage, to be exhibited. As part of the Education Pavilion programme, lectures and workshops on art conservation, forensic art history, and exhibition histories were organised in the hope of catalysing the attention this important institution and its formative role in building South Asian art history needs.
The acquisition committee of the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy was made up of a group of senior artists who were part of Bangladesh’s establishment, and therefore most of these 27 works were made by artists who were also teachers within art academies of Bangladesh at the time. With this in mind, the selection of works exhibited was not indicative of the spirit of the Bangladeshi participation as a whole at these first four Asian Art Biennales, with the exception of SM Sultan, Ratan Majumdar, Nurun Nahar Papa, Pramesh Kumar.