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SAF AROUND THE WORLD: “Speak, Lokal” at Kunsthalle Zürich

 

The Samdani Art Foundation is pleased to be supporting the exhibition Speak, Lokal at Kunsthalle Zürich. The exhibition, curated by Daniel Baumann, Director, Kunsthalle Zürich, focuses on how artists worldwide investigate and broach local conditions and includes the work of Bangladeshi artists, Samsul Alam Helal and Rafiqul Shuvo, who were both nominees for the Samdani Art Award 2016. On discussing the catalyst for the exhibition, Baumann explained: 

My interest in the question of the “local” further developed when I travelled to Dhaka in 2015 in order to meet the artists proposed for the Samdani Art Award. They turned out to be very committed to their immediate local context, and bold enough to go beyond its obvious limits. In Bangladesh, art can make a difference, it’s something we may have forgotten about. So let’s call it the “The Dhaka-Lesson,” and it encouraged me to venture into the dangerous territory of the local. I still don’t regret it!

Baumann was the guest curator of the Samdani Art Award exhibition at Dhaka Art Summit 2016. It was during this process that he had the opportunity to engage with Helal and Shuvo’s work and understand how the local context of Dhaka influences their work. 

 

The Artists

Rafiqul Shuvo’s work address his concerns with the policies and the politics of art’s language while examining the ontological influence of time and the evolution of human behaviour. Pushing his artistic sensitivity through painting, video art, collages, photography and sculpture, for ‘Speak, Lokal‘ Shuvo is exhibiting two bodies of work. The first, so-so sits on the park bench and observes the trees blowing in the breeze, at peace, is a sculpture made of wood planks and poles, the second, 13 march (kunsthalle zürich) shows eleven films from 2014 in a cluster across eleven monitors. Both works discuss what cannot be expressed through the sources of media we understand to be reflections of our world—photographs, films, and TV—representing the unspoken or non-communicative thoughts and theories which are often behind them. 

 
so-so sits on the park bench and observes the trees blowing in the breeze,at peace (2017), wood, various dimensions, on display at ‘Speak, Lokal’, Kunsthalle Zürich. Image courtesy: Annik Wetter

so-so sits on the park bench and observes the trees blowing in the breeze,at peace (2017), wood, various dimensions, on display at ‘Speak, Lokal’, Kunsthalle Zürich.
Image courtesy: Annik Wetter

13 march (kunsthalle zurich) (2014-17), sculpture,11films on screens, wood, pallet, roller, level, wine glass, technical instructions, on display at ‘Speak, Lokal’, Kunsthalle Zürich. Image courtesy: Annik Wetter 

13 march (kunsthalle zurich) (2014-17), sculpture,11films on screens, wood, pallet, roller, level, wine glass, technical instructions, on display at ‘Speak, Lokal’, Kunsthalle Zürich.
Image courtesy: Annik Wetter 

 

Through his photography Samsul Alam Helal tells the stories of specific people from society’s minority and neglected classes but with a differed view.  Moving away from reality, Helal’s photographs portray his muse’s identity, dreams and longings, through staged portraits which intrigue curiosity and questions.  On his latest body of work, Runaway Lovers, Helal explains:    

I enjoy representing reality in an alternate space. In the harsh reality of people struggling, unable to live their dreams, for me, their time in front of the camera seems to be the rare moment of self-release. What we see is not necessarily the whole story, but when I take pictures, I try to delve into the fictional aspects of the story.
Samsul Alam Helal’s Runaway Lovers (2016-2017) series on display at Kunsthalle Zürich exhibition 'Speak, Lokal’  Image Courtesy: Samsul Alam Helal and Kunsthalle Zürich

Samsul Alam Helal’s Runaway Lovers (2016-2017) series on display at Kunsthalle Zürich exhibition 'Speak, Lokal’ 
Image Courtesy: Samsul Alam Helal and Kunsthalle Zürich

Runaway Lovers (15 September 2016), Photography, 80cm x 80cm Image courtesy: Samsul Alam Helal

Runaway Lovers (15 September 2016), Photography, 80cm x 80cm
Image courtesy: Samsul Alam Helal

Helal and Shuvo’s work will be on display at Kunsthalle Zürich as part of Speak, Lokal until 7 May 2017.  

 

Speak, Lokal
 

March 4–May 7, 2017
Kunsthalle Zürich 

 
Samdani Art Foundation