- Aaron Cezar - Director of the Delfina Foundation
- Eungie Joo - Curator of the Sharjah Biennale 2015
- Jessica Morgan - The Daskalopoulos Curator, Tate
- Sandhini Poddar - Curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
- Pooja Sood - Director of KHOJ International Artists’ Association
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH:
- Delfina Foundation
The ten shortlisted artists for the 2014 edition of the Samdani Art Award exhibition were selected by the Delfina Foundation's Director, Aaron Cezar. During the Summit, the jury selected Ayesha Sultana as the recipient of the 2014 award. Announced during the DAS 2014 Opening Dinner on the 5 February by ???, ???, Sultana received a three-month residency with the Delfina Foundation in London which he undertook in the Autumn of 2014.
Ayesha Sultana’s practice encompasses drawing, painting, object and sound. The work relies heavily on process as an attempt to translate notions of space, which is inseparably connected with perceptions of time as a way of looking. The artist was born in 1984 in Jessore, Bangladesh. Her drawing series often acts as an enquiry, through the building of spatial structures by tapping in repetition, variation and rhythm. It may appear dissimilar in technique but is essentially one and the same, permeating similar areas of transformation. For the past two years, drawing has often acted as a formal backbone to her practice. She uses it as a verb, of ‘doing’ whether it be cutting, folding, stitching, layering, recording, and tracing. This doing even extends to explorations with photocopy machines, allowing them to alter and distort other works that she experiments with. The illustrated image, Cataract II, 2011, is part of the artist’s ongoing series of drawing with staples, piecing rice paper and creating new patterns and structures that highlight the tension between the strength of the industrial staple and the vulnerability of the translucent organic paper.
Sultana studied under Rashid Rana at Beaconhouse National University in Lahore, and later lectured there for two years. Sultana’s work has been exhibited extensively in India, Italy, the Netherlands, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates. She is an active member of the Britto Arts Trust and recently completed a residency at Gasworks, in London.
Download Ayesha Sultana's CV here.
Afsana Sharmin Zhumpa (b. 1984) is a performance artist and sculptor who was born in Chittagong. Her more recent practice comments on society’s perception of women and the role of women in it; this body of work has won her much local acclaim. In 2011 she was invited to participate at the NIPAF (Nippon International Performance Art Festival) in Japan, where she created four performances in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagano City. Zhumpa’s first solo performance entitled To the Feminine was held at the Shilpakala Academy in Chittagong in 2011. Her second show, an installation and performance If Winter Comes, Can Spring be Far Behind was held at the Bishawd Bangla, Chittagong in 2012.
Her latest work, Where is the Artist, an ongoing installation begun in 2013, revolves around Zhumpa’s relationship with her surroundings. Using Indigo on dry leaves, branches and trees, these mundane organic forms are transformed in an arresting and almost Yves Klein Nouveau Réalisme manner. The artist grew up fascinated with the landscape around her and this is a continuation of her earthworks which transform the environment with indigo colours - colours which have deep resonance on the land of Bangladesh given its ties to the garment industry and the country’s colonial past.
Hope and a heightened sensory appeal are integral to Masum Chisty’s (b. 1976) work, and these characteristics are common across his various art works, ranging from land art to sculpture and animation. The artist is a founding member and trustee of the Britto Art Trust, Dhaka’s first non-profit artist led organisation. Rhythm and variegated expression is seen in his work Rhymes of Sea, 2009, a land art installation with sound inspired by Fibonacci which received great praise in Hong Kong. This work brings fresh perspective using hymns and rhythms, showcasing nature in its greatness. Further testament to his use of colour and identity can be seen in Spring, an ongoing series which began in 2010, where the arrival of spring is highlighted through a breathtaking array of colours.
In Masum Chisty’s Quandary, 2011, we witness an inward struggle demonstrating that the pursuit of spiritual development remains possible through the balancing of personal conflicting urges and instincts with the pressures, temptations and opportunities presented by family, social and wider networks. Chisty’s artistic journey has been connected to several deep-rooted ideals and the incessant questioning of those ideals, which are an integral part of the human psyche- its complex spirit and emotions. His work has been exhibited all over the world, including in the inaugural Bangladesh Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale.
Palash Bhattacharjee’s artistic sensitivity and creative approach spans installation, performance and video. The artist was born in 1983 in Chittagong and his work follows the journey of human life, different phenomena affecting its surroundings as well as moments combed from his memories. In An Essay, 2012, the artist hung five hundred selected photographs documenting his everyday movements over a large net. In the video Drop the Matter, 2011, he recollects his childhood obsession with marbles and shares his pleasure at seeing them drop down stairs. In his exploration of time, space, human needs and human intention, the artist has developed a form of communication that does not employ language. Hs art is derived from life and the livelihood of common people thatuse familiar objects as their building blocks.
Self-portraits are a key element in Sylhet born Promotesh Das Pulak’s (b. 1980) practice. In his video works Momentum, 2008 and Destination, 2009, the artist incorporates himself within the frame. He also inserts himself into Harano Sur, 2010, a site-specific project representing the historically rich area of Panam Nagar. Through digital imaging, he re-imagines the private lives of anonymous people who are often the forgotten subjects of a specific place in history, by replacing their faces with his own. Similarly, in Echoed Moments in Time, 2011, he tries to recover a personal history, addressing the past and present, with image manipulation and mannered poses. He appropriates enigmatic 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War photographs of real soldiers and civilians alike. These works were shown in the Bangladesh Pavilion of the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011.
In his series Encapsulated (2008 - ) and Vindicate (2012 - ) the artist uses small flowers made from shola that are otherwise used to craft Hindu-wedding crowns for the bridegroom. The artist is interested in the duality that lies between the organic, natural elements of the flower in contrast to the manufactured, rigid structures of a gasmask, AK-47 or grenade. Continuing his use of shola, Pulak’s Familiarity and Twin, both from 2013, develop into interactive installations that describe history, culture and identity.
Sanjoy Chakraborty (b. 1984) received his art education in India, studying for six years at Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata. During which time he closely observed Indian contemporary art and the country’s history, tradition, culture, language and politics. These observations continue to have a profound impact on his artistic language. A unifying element in Chakraborty’s art, which includes painting, installation, land art and performance is that all are created with one colour, red.
The artist first started using red in 2007 while he was attending an artist residency in Guwahati, the capital of the Indian province Assam. His work centered on political atrocities such as the Bombay Blasts of 2006, the ethnic riots of Guwahati, as well as the religious riots in his home country Bangladesh, and the colour red played a central role in these works. More recently he has been using red in his works as part of the universal language of art. The artist reflects that, “man’s crisis in this world is the same for all; their clothing from person to person, their language varies, their food varies, even their skin colour differs; but the colour of our blood is universal. So I think that if I compose my art through this red, then it will become universal”. Currently, Chakraborty is teaching at the University of Dhaka.
Sarker Protick (b. 1986) is a documentary photographer based in Dhaka. , the artist completed his Bachelor’s Degree in marketing before studying photography at Pathshala, the South Asian Institute of Photography. He later participated in New Media Journalism at the University of Virginia and Documentary Photography at the University of Gloucestershire.
Sarker’s subtle technique belies the strong underpinning of his documentary approach. Rather than taking us on a literal journey through a traditional narrative, his intimate images invite us to enter his personal space. Protick believes that in his photographs, the audience is as much a confidante as it is a viewer. In the work Wind, 2013, the artist wanted to depict the dancing motion of swaying trees. He sees this collection of images as one whole image, depicting rhythm within nature.
In 2012 Sarker won the Prix Mark Grosset pour es écoles internationales de photographie and the World Bank Art Program. He has exhibited widely around the globe including France, Russia, Croatia, the Netherlands, Japan, USA, England, Bangladesh and India. The British Journal of Photography has chosen him as one of the best Emerging Photographers to watch in 2014. Sarker now teaches at Pathshala.
Sayed Tareq Rahman (b. 1988) has already been credited with four prestigious awards in sculpture, the latest being the Best Award in Sculpture at the 17th Young Artist Art Exhibition organised by Shilpakala Academy in 2010. For most of his sculptures, Tareq casts his work using metal, cement, and fiberglass, as well as using wood, brass, iron and stone. His works tend to encompass the complicated issues and behavioural patterns of contemporary urban society. The intricately chaotic formations and structures Tareq creates symbolise the perfunctory and near-robotic populace of the modern times and even though he solemnly wishes to return to a time of stability, harmony and ethereal beauty, away from the harshness and rigidity of human life, he is still engrossed in deciphering and unraveling the complex human equations that permeate everyone’s daily lives. His work Urban Beings-5, made with iron wire, resin, iron and cement, signifies a construction pillar that is comparable to the strong yet distorted foundation of the urbanised civilisation.
Shumon Ahmed’s (b. 1977, Dhaka) work explores the fusion between video, photography and text to tell vivid stories that are profoundly private as well as collective. He has taught at the Pathshala Academy and exhibited extensively in Bangladesh and abroad, including at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London and the Chobi Mela, Bangladesh’s International Festival of Photography. In his photographic series I (2008 - ), Ahmed creates a dual self-portrait depicting himself sitting cross-legged under a biblical tree, wrapped in a dirt coloured shawl. He repeats the posture in the ordered aisle of a hyper-modern supermarket, dressed in Panjabi and denim jeans; the shift from one image to another is quite startling and proves an engaging commentary on the glory and guilt of modernity.
Yasmin Jahan Nupur (b.1977) was inspired by the urgent ecological and community/public aspects of life and inclined to incorporate those elements in her work. She has worked closely with people from communities who were deprived from social benefits which lead her to explore prevailing social values of her region. Her video installation, I Am Walking on Borderlines, Being Together, at the Venice Biennale was a substantially deep political piece that generated a lot of interest. Although Nupur completed her MFA in paintings from Chittagong University, like many other contemporary artists, Nupur concentrates on installations. Nupur’s work Crossing Paths, another politically charged work, received an Honourable Mention at the 15th Asian Art Biennale in December 2012 because of its portrayal of the lasting repercussions of the 1971 for the whole South Asian region, not just Bangladesh. The artist believes in the liberty and equal rights for all citizens regardless of gender, race, colour, creed or political belief. As recognition of her artistic endeavours, Yasmin Jahan Nupur has also been awarded the International Arts Residency by the Commonwealth Foundation of United Kingdom.
Many of her installations have been lauded because of their stark depictions of the discrimination of women as well. Her unique rope and string performance is another commendable endeavour where she invites the audience to share their feelings as she winds string around herself slowly but tightly, bits of her face forcefully protruding through the string, conveying to the viewers the strict binding, pain and helplessness border immigrants have to face through their movement.