NADIA SAMDANI | CO-FOUNDER & President
Nadia Samdani is the Co-Founder and President of the Samdani Art Foundation and Director of the Dhaka Art Summit. In 2011, with husband Rajeeb Samdani, she established the Samdani Art Foundation to support the work of Bangladesh and South Asia’s contemporary artists and architects and to increase their international exposure. As part of this initiative, she founded the Dhaka Art Summit, which has since completed four successful editions, between 2012 and 2018, under her leadership. Nadia is a member of Tate’s South Asia Acquisitions Committee, Tate's International Council, Art Dubai’s Advisory Council, Alserkal Avenue’s Programming Committee, Parasol Unit’s International Committee and one of the founding members of The Harvard University Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute’s Arts Advisory Council. In 2017, with her husband Rajeeb, she was the first South Asian arts patron to receive the prestigious Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award.
A second-generation collector, Nadia began her own collection at the age of 22. She collects both Bangladeshi and international art, reflecting her experience as both a proud Bangladeshi and a global citizen. She has written about collecting for Art Asia Pacific, leading business and financial daily Live Mint, and has spoken about collecting at many international art fairs. Along with her husband, Nadia has been named in Artnews Top 200 Collectors list in 2015, 2016 and 2017, included in Art Review’s Power 100 in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and ArtNet News World's Top 100 Art Collectors in 2016. Their collection is regularly lent to institutions and festivals around the globe, including: documenta14 (2017); Shanghai Biennale (2017); Office for Contemporary Art, Norway (2016); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2015); Kunstsammlung Nordhrhein, Düsseldorf (2015); Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2014); Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India (2014). In 2018, works will be lent to Parasite, Hong Kong; the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; and in 2019, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
RAJEEB SAMDANI | CO-FOUNDER & TRustee
Rajeeb Samdani is the Co-Founder and a Trustee of the Samdani Art Foundation, Chairman of Gulf International Finance Limited, UAE, and Managing Director of Golden Harvest Group—one of the leading diversified conglomerates in Bangladesh, involved in several sectors including: food processing, dairy, commodities, logistics, information technology, real estate, aviation, insurance and banking. In addition to his philanthropy with art, Rajeeb is the Secretary General of the Bangladesh Human Rights Foundation (one of the largest Human Rights organisations in the country), Founder of the Taher Ahmed Chowdhury Charitable Hospital in Sylhet, and the Alvina Samdani Trust.
An ardent collector of contemporary art, Rajeeb first began collecting with his wife Nadia Samdani, with whom he established the Samdani Art Foundation in 2011. Along with his wife, Rajeeb has been named in Artnews Top 200 Collectors list in 2015, 2016 and 2017, included in Art Review’s Power 100 in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and ArtNet News World's Top 100 Art Collectors in 2016. Their collection is regularly lent to institutions and festivals around the globe, including: documenta14 (2017); Shanghai Biennale (2017); Office for Contemporary Art, Norway (2016); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2015); Kunstsammlung Nordhrhein, Düsseldorf (2015); Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2014); Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India (2014); and has been featured in many leading international publications. In 2018, works will be lent to Parasite, Hong Kong; the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; and in 2019, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Rajeeb is a founding member and Co-Chair of Tate’s South Asian Acquisitions Committee, a member of Tate's International Council, Art Dubai’s Advisory Council, Alserkal Avenue’s Programming Committee, and one of the founding members of The Harvard University Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute’s Arts Advisory Council. In 2017, with his wife Nadia, he was the first South Asian arts patron to receive the prestigious Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award.
DIANA CAMPBELL BETANCOURT | ARTISTIC DIRECTOR / CHIEF CURATOR
Diana Campbell Betancourt (b. 1984, Los Angeles) is currently Artistic Director of Samdani Art Foundation and Chief Curator of Dhaka Art Summit, Dhaka, Bangladesh, a major research and exhibition platform for art in South Asia. She is currently developing the Foundation’s forthcoming Srihatta- Samdani Sculpture Park and Art Centre opening in Sylhet at the end of 2018. In addition, Betancourt is Artistic Director of Bellas Artes Projects, Bagac, Philippines and chairs the Mumbai Art Room board. She has collaborated with several sculpture parks across the world on commissions of Indian sculpture and has curated numerous solo projects with artists such as Haroon Mirza, Simryn Gill, Tino Sehgal, Lynda Benglis, Shilpa Gupta, Shahzia Sikander, Naeem Mohaiemen, Runa Islam, Shumon Ahmed, Pawel Althamer, Raqs Media Collective, among others.
Betancourt has consulted with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the New Museum, the FRONT Triennial in Cleveland, and Alserkal Avenue in Dubai on their inclusion of South Asia in their exhibitions programs and has presented her research as part of MoMA’s C-MAP initiative. She has also recently published a book with Mousse in Milan (co-edited with Katya Garcia Anton and Antonio Cataldo) on the Dhaka Art Summit and its Critical Writing Ensembles.
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS & EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Emily Dolan is the Director of Operations and External Affairs. She originally trained as a visual artist and since 2002 has worked in art institutions, including five years at The Fine Art Society, her primary focus being contemporary art. More recently she has taken on production roles in non-profit organisations and has coordinated exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery in London, The 55th Venice Biennale, Garage Centre of Contemporary Art and Culture, Moscow, and the Chalet Society, Paris.
HEAD OF PUBLICATIONS
Emma Sumner is the Head of Publications, an independent writer, researcher and lecturer. Originally trained as a visual artist, in 2010 Emma was awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council Studentship to study Art History and Curating. During her study and since graduating Emma has worked with numerous institutions and independent platforms , including Tate Liverpool, National Museums Liverpool and the Liverpool Biennale, she has lectured at Liverpool John Moores University, The University of Salford and Wirral Metropolitan and contributes regularly to numerous international platforms including, Art Agenda, Art Review Asia, Frieze, Monopol Magazin and e-flux Conversations.
First travelling to South Asia in 2014, with support from Arts Council England, Emma began researching the region’s art scene, visiting the studios of emerging and mid-career artists and independent led spaces. Emma has since developed the online archive portal, ArtHive South Asia, as a space to share her ongoing research and that of other independent researchers.
MOHAMMAD SAZZAD HOSSAIN
HEAD OF ADMINISTRATION
Mohammad Sazzad Hossian is the Head of Administration of the Samdani Art Foundation. Sazzad has worked for the Samdani Art Foundation since 2012 and has been a key member of the management team from the first edition of the Dhaka Art Summit, now moving into its 4th edition. He is responsible for the artistic production of DAS, along with the management of all teams on site. From the outset Sazzad has managed the production of major international artist projects, such as Shahzia Sikander, Rashid Rana and Haroon Mirza to name a few. Sazzad Hossain completed his M.A. and B.A. from Stamford University Bangladesh majoring in English Literature.
Ruxmini Choudhury is a Bangladesh based Assistant Curator for the Samdani Art Foundation. She works directly under Diana Campbell Betancourt to arrange seminars and international exhibitions. As part of the Dhaka Art Summit team, she worked as a research assistant to Daniel Baumann for the Samdani Art Award 2016 show, Diana Campbell Betancourt for the group show 'Mining Warm Data' and worked under Nada Raza in her group show ‘The Missing One’. Her work comprises of research on local artists, archiving and monitoring the Samdani Art Foundation Collection among others. She is also responsible for the Samdani Artist Led-Initiatives Forum. Ruxmini also works as a freelance art writer, researcher and bilingual translator. She completed her BFA in Art History from University of Dhaka in 2014 and previously interned at the Dhaka Art Center. Her research on the crafts of Kushtia, Jhenaidah and Magura district of Bangladesh has been published in Setouchi Catalogue: Bangladesh Crafts, 2014. She is also an alumna of Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programme and was previously involved in many social service and youth empowerment activities.
Abhijan Gupta studied Art History at the Faculty of Fine Arts, MSU Baroda. He has previously worked with the Majlis Cultural Centre, Mumbai and the Asia Art Archive, New Delhi.
Nawreen Ahmed is working as Communications Manager for Samdani Art Foundation. She has worked as Junior Operations Officer for ME SOLshare Limited and taught Strategic Management and Business English while she worked as a Lecturer for BiMS. She has completed her BBA from Heriot Watt University and MBA from Eastern University.