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Dhaka Art Summit

Founded in 2012 by the Samdani Art Foundation—which continues to produce the festival—in collaboration with the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, People’s Republic of Bangladesh, DAS is hosted every two years at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. 


DAS is a platform to catalyse a rich context for research and artistic production in the future through empowering artists and the public through the interaction between its exhibition, education and public programmes. Rejecting the traditional biennale format to create a more generative space for art and exchange, DAS’s interdisciplinary programme concentrates its endeavours towards the advancement and promotion of South Asia’s contemporary and historic creative communities, building alliances through shared values with international practices and initiatives.  Chief Curator Diana Campbell leads the Summit with international key curators, artists, and thinkers.

The Dhaka Art Summit (DAS) is an international, non-commercial research and exhibition platform for art and architecture related to South Asia. With a core focus on Bangladesh, DAS re-examines how we think about these forms of art in both a regional and an international context.

For each edition of DAS, Bangladeshi artists shortlisted for the Samdani Art Award exhibit their work under the guidance of an international guest curator. Organised in partnership with the Delfina Foundation, the Award has created an internationally recognised platform for the work of young Bangladeshi artists. Many shortlisted artists have later exhibited or acquired by international exhibitions and institutions, such as Tate, SF MoMA, the Kunsthalle Zurich, Gwangju Biennale, Singapore Biennale, Lyon Biennale, Asia Pacific Triennial, Sharjah Biennial, Para Site, and many others.

All of DAS’s exhibitions are supported by an ambitious commissions programme, which invites internationally acclaimed contemporary artists related to South Asia to create new work. Past commissions include Lynda Benglis, Simryn Gill, Po Po, Rasheed Araeen, Damian Ortega, Nilima Sheikh, Monika Sosnowska, Daniel Steegmann Mangrane, along with and some of the most exciting names from the region: Sheela Gowda, Ayesha Sultana, Waqas Khan, Munem Wasif, Zihan Karim, Randhir Singh, Seher Shah, Reetu Sattar, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Kamruzzaman Shahdin, Yasmin Jahan Nupur, Tanya Goel, and many more.

Celebrated for its critically acclaimed exhibitions by local and international arts professionals, many of DAS’s past projects have toured internationally to venues and festivals, including Para Site in Hong Kong; TS1 in Yangon; the Modern Art Museum in Warsaw;  the Berlin Biennale; the Gwangju Biennale; the Singapore Biennale; the Queens Museum, New York; Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland; Artspace in Sydney; the Office for Contemporary Art Norway; the San Jose Museum of Art, USA; the Liverpool Biennial; Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Sri Lanka; Kunsthall Trondheim, Norway; and MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Thailand.


Free to the public and ticketless, DAS 2023 drew over half a million visitors across its nine-day duration. Expanding from its initial South Asia mandate, DAS 2018 created new connections between South, South East Asia, and the Indian Ocean belt, exhibiting artists from Thailand, Malaysia, Madagascar, the Philippines, and several other countries. DAS 2020 expanded further to connect widely across the Global South based on shared struggles rather than current geopolitical definitions. DAS 2023 took a planetary approach through the lens of climate change.


DAS 2026


We are pleased to introduce you to the theme we have been dreaming up with our curators and art mediators for the 7th edition of DAS - TONDRA. The meaning of the word TONDRA in Bangla can be described as a state of existence where reality and dreams collide; a lucid dream that captivates the soul. 

TONDRA is also a common female name in Bangladesh, which became popular during the mid 1990s-2000s for a character named Tondra in a novel by the Bangladeshi author Humayun Ahmed. Our story of TONDRA emerged from heartbreak expressed by a young visitor at DAS 2023, who wrote messages for a woman named TONDRA on the walls of our exhibition such as “Everyone is here, but you are missing from my life”. His writing style ranged from graffiti to poetry, referring to his Tondra as ‘a cloudy day’ and other beautiful metaphors that connected his deepest personal feelings for his beloved to the stories and films of Humayun Ahmed.


DAS 2020

সঞ্চারণ / Seismic Movements

Inspired by the geological reading of the word ‘summit’ as the top of a mountain, Seismic Movements: Dhaka Art Summit 2020 (DAS 2020) considers the various ruptures that have realigned and continue to shift the face of our spinning planet. Seismic movements do not adhere to statist or nationalist frameworks. They join and split apart tectonics of multiple scales and layers; their epicentres don’t privilege historical imperial centres over the so-called peripheries; they can slowly accumulate or violently erupt in an instant.