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Art Around the Table

We at the Samdani Art Foundation see our community as a body that is nourished by a constant flow of ideas, provocations, care, debate, and curiosity. For nearly ten years the Samdani Art Foundation has built an intellectual movement, punctuated every two years by a thought-provoking, joyous physical event: The Dhaka Art Summit (DAS). 

Today we announce the launch of a new programme: Art Around the Table. Via our social media channels, we will serve up activities, things to look, listen and react to, around thousands of literal and figurative tables across Bangladesh and the globe.  The diverse group of artists, curators and writers who make this possible have one thing in common: in exchange for their contributions, they have generously agreed that food will be provided in their name to be shared around the tables of people in need in Bangladesh through a partnership with the JAAGO Foundation.

Over nine days in February, half a million of us dressed up, went out, and explored together the euphoria of being part of a movement. The Dhaka Art Summit (DAS 2020) may have been one of the last major embodied gatherings of makers and thinkers this year and for some time to come, but its real purpose has always been to set the stage for what comes next.  

“Unless this kind of wonderful effort is supplemented by another kind of effort [meaning activism outside of the exhibition], we cannot achieve the impossible possibility of a socially just world,” said Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak in her speech at Dhaka Art Summit 2018.

We have always sought to sustain the momentum of the fresh thoughts, innovative ideas and new relationships made possible by the Summit; to make sure the thousands of physical interactions and exchanges flourish and grow into actions after everyone has gone home. Working together across the global majority world, we must come up with ways to overcome political and geographical challenges as well as the isolation some of us encounter, often without formal infrastructures.  

 Art Around the Table aims to unite us and to set the table for a more equal world.

We have built a school (of thought) and will continue to make sure it prospers because we believe we are all students.  We are commissioning new work from which we can all learn.  As members of our movement gather round to take part, the JAAGO Foundation, will be using Art Around the Table activities in their schools in Bangladesh, which they run in addition to responding to the Covid-19 crisis. We're hoping the ideas, projects, and further provocations will be as diverse as the tables they pile up on.

On Friday 12 June, we launched the first Art Around the Table digital workshop with the Sylhet born artist Rana Begum, who is the first Bangladeshi artist to be a member of the Royal Academy in London. This workshop is available via the social media channels of Samdani Art Foundation and our dedicated Instagram page @artaroundthetable ; new programmes contributed by artists and thinkers from Bangladesh and around the world will be released every Friday.



The JAAGO Foundation is a registered civil society organization with a vision of eliminating poverty and illiteracy from Bangladesh and rebuilding the nation. JAAGO (founded in April 2007),is among the few organisations which provides free-of-cost schooling exclusively for underprivileged children living in Bangladesh. JAAGO started with only 17 children and a single classroom and overthe past 13 years its platform has grown to accommodate learning for 3500 children currently enrolledin its 11schools all around Bangladesh.

JAAGO also works to empower the youth of Bangladesh with its youth development program- Volunteer for Bangladesh. This program was established in 2011 with the purpose to create a platform that would allow youth to raise their voice and come together to reduce social and economic inequalities to build a better Bangladesh. 

JAAGO Foundation and its team of over 3500 volunteers across Bangladesh have come together to provide needed relief in these challenging Covid-19 times. Through collaborating with various organizations who have been helping out financially, as well as providing food items and transportation services, JAAGO Foundation has been able to reach out to a vast number of people through its network. JAAGO’s school venues are being utilized as hubs to distribute packages of food (containing rice, flour, pulses, potatoes, salt, soap, and other needed supplies) to people in need in locations including Dhaka, Chittagong, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Gaibandha, Madaripur, Rajshahi, Habiganj, Bandarban and Teknaf. JAAGO and its collaborators are working to keep families in Bangladesh from facing the crisis of hunger while ensuring the safety of its volunteers through social distancing.


Artists' contributions to Art Around the Table

The first artistic contribution to #artaroundthetable is by the Swiss based design non profit common interest who designed our logo. Learn more about it below:

Rana Begum

Our first family artmaking workshop as part of our new initiative 'Art Around the Table' is presented by Rana Begum.

Habiba Nowrose

Bangladeshi artist Habiba Nowrose inspires us to consider our leftover food and the potential found in waste.

Gidree Bawlee

Our third video workshop comes all the way from Balia village in Thakurgaon, Bangladesh and is our first workshop in Bangla (with english subtitles). Led by seven amazing children, the workshop inspires to make puppets out of objects found in nature - like leaves and seeds.

Gisela McDaniel

Our fourth video for Art Around the Table is presented by Detroit based artist Gisela McDaniel.

Soma Surovi Jannat

Our fifth video for Art Around the Table is presented by winner of the Samdani Art Award 2020, Soma Surovi Jannat.

Tsherin Sherpa

Our 6th Art Around the Table video workshop is presented by Tsherin Sherpa. Tsherin Sherpa presents us one of his drawings from the 'Protector' series to fill the colour out and make one-of-a-kind piece in collaboration with Tsherin Sherpa.

Yasmin Jahan Nupur

Our 7th Art Around the Table video is presented by Bangladeshi artist Yasmin Jahan Nupur.

Yasmin Jahan Nupur has also arranged a virtual tea party through a performative process.

Joydeb Roaja

Our 7th Art Around the Table video workshop is presented by Bangladeshi artist Joydeb Roaja. In the video he shows the how he uses natural materials from his surrounding in his performance.

Tahia Farhin Haque

Our 8th Art Around the Table is presented by Bangladeshi artist Tahia Farhin Haque.

Tahia Farhin Haque’s work shatters traditional stereotypes about women, specifically in Islamic countries, by bringing women’s unique perspectives to the forefront of her photography practice. She hopes to lend a voice to issues that are unheard of and unseen in the rest of the world, while making her viewers question their paradigms on a personal level.

Dr. Nurur Rahman Khan

This #artaroundthetable session brings in a lecture presented by architect, educator and researcher Dr. Nurur Rahman Khan on 'Architect Muzharul Islam: Politics and Architecture'.

Najmun Nahar Keya

Samdani Art Award 2020 shortlisted artist Najmun Nahar Keya is a multidisciplinary artist who employs old photographs, gold gilding, drawing and printmaking in her work - which she juxtaposes to create nostalgic settings.

Grace Grace Grace

Our fourteenth Art Around the Table is presented by Grace Grace Grace featuring Bangladeshi famous singer Momtaz!

Grace Grace Grace is a collective of artists who focus on the politics of everyday life, gender and ageing through their performance. Their newest piece CLUB addresses gender and ageing which involves sequins, movement and the disconnect of older women clubbing, owning/taking up space ON THE DANCE FLOOR.

Diana Campbell

As the Artistic Director of the Samdani Art Foundation and Chief Curator of the Dhaka Art Summit since 2014, Diana shares the transformation of Dhaka Art Summit as a South Asian event to a platform that connects global art with Bangladesh in this session of Art Around the Table.

Bishwajit Goswami, Tania Sultana Bristy and Barisho Dhora

This Art Around the Table is presented by artists-trio Bishwajit Goswami, Tania Sultana Bristy and their daughter, Barisho Dhora.

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