- Cosmin Costinas (Director, Para/Site)
- Catherine David(Deputy Director, Centre Pompidou)
- Beatrix Ruf (Director, Stedelijk Museum)
- Aaron Seeto (Director, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (MACAN))
- Chaired by Aaron Cezar (Director, Delfina Foundation)
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH:
- Pro Helvetia Swiss Arts Council
- Delfina Foundation
- Samdani Art Foundation
The 2016 edition of the Samdani Art Award exhibition was guest curated by Daniel Baumann, Director of the Kunsthalle Zurich, assisted by Ruxmini Choudhury, Assistant Curator Samdani Art Foundation, and artist Ayesha Sultana. During the Summit, the jury selected Rasel Chowdhury as the recipient of the 2016 award. Announced during the DAS 2016 Opening Dinner on the 5 February by Kiran Nadar, Chairperson of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and Trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation in New Delhi, Chowdhury received a six-week residency with the Delfina Foundation in London which he undertook in the Autumn of 2016.
What made me think that “something was going on here?” First of all the quality of works by these twenty artists. To my surprise, there was no advancing of pretentious discourse of the kind one often meets in similar situations in Europe or North America. No talks about the post-Fordist situation, the need for deconstruction, the era of post-Internet or that thing called anthropocene—just to name a few. The artists obviously knew the language of art (thanks to education and the Internet), but they firmly and proudly applied it to their current context.
- Extract from Baumann's DAS 2016 Exhibition Guide Essay
Rasel Chowdhury is a Dhaka-based artist whose passion lies in documenting environmental issues using camera. Born in Jamalpur, he started working in photography without a conscious plan, and eventually became addicted and decided to document spaces in and around Bangladesh. He obtained a degree from Pathshala, South Asian Media Institute in 2012. His body of work deals with unplanned desperate urbanization, the dying River Buriganga, the lost city of Sonargaon, the Mega City of Dhaka, and newly transformed spaces around Bangladesh railroads to explore the change of the environment, unplanned urban structures and new form of landscapes.
The Samdani Art Award exhibition included his photography series Railway Longings. This series showed his contemplative approach to the railroad which was once the only way to reach his birthplace of Jamalpur from Dhaka. He walked along the railway line from one station to another, covering the full 181 km long journey by foot, photographing his nostalgic experience, and documenting the changes in the landscape and rail structures along the route.
Download Rasel Chowdhury's CV
Read our interview with Rasel Chowdhury on our Blog
Ashit Mitra’s (b. 1975, Dhaka) artistic approach is predominantly based on printmaking, and is inspired by human life in the face of the relativity of time. The sorrow, happiness, simplicity, complexity, struggle, force, and speed of life challenge his working practice. As a result the composition at first seems simple, but, on closer inspection is full of intricate detail, just as life often appears. His early works, nature held a prominence that gradually turned toward conceptual abstraction. He completed his MFA and BFA in printmaking from the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka and has recently participated in artist residencies at Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop in New York and at Visva Bharati, India.
Atish Saha (AKA. Ayon Rehal) (b. 1990, Dhaka) works in the field of photography and performance art. His work explores and exposes a deep understanding of people’s individuality; the private space that is violated by society; his motherland’s independence; the struggle of being a minority; identity crises; and religious extremism; which he often relates to his own personal experiences. He has an advanced diploma in photography from Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, and has more recently been awarded the Overseas Press Club of America Award and the VQR Prize for Photography.
Farzana Ahmed Urmi’s (b. 1980, Khulna) practice focuses on printmaking and painting. Heavily influenced by the people she encounters in her daily life, her canvases are full of human histories--some from people that she has known only from a glimpse on the street, or from television, and others of the people close to her--with personal contact in variable proximity remaining the central focus of her work. She completed her MFA and BFA in printmaking from the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka and has participated in several art camps and residencies in Bangladesh, Spain, and Japan.
Photographer Gazi Nafis Ahmed's (b. 1982, Dhaka) artistic practice deals with his complex childhood memories and departs from moments that took place in the past. During his artistic journey, Ahmed realised the power of photography: its role in changing society and ability to change the collective mind states of the audience. He is known for his work with drug-addicts and the LGBT community who remain a minority in many global societies. He attempts to take photographs of many things at the same time; things that are interconnected by nature; non-linear and intuitive; and not necessarily fitting into the context of one single 'project'. The artist first pursued degree in art and design, later switching photojournalism and going on to study Photography at Istituto Europeo de Design (IED) in Madrid.
Rafiqul Shuvo (b. 1982, Dhaka) propels his artistic sensitivity forward through the mediums of illustration, video art, collages, photography and installation. His work mainly focuses on the ontological influence of time and the evolution of human behaviour, looking with concern on the policies and the politics of art’s language. His video works represent unspoken or non-communicative thoughts and theories through sudden cuts, pauses and juxtaposed editing. His drawings and collages have the identical effect on the viewers. He studied sculpture at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka but broke through academic barriers creating his own artistic language. He is the founder of the alternative artist initiative OGCJM.
Palash Bhattacharjee (b. 1983, Chittagong) bridges performance, installation, and video within his practice. His works present aesthetic experimentations derived from personal experience, set in relation to human sensitivities and emotion. These are conscious and unconscious expressions of his everyday behaviours, excitements, and obsessions within the context of a society where narratives of a human’s existential reality seems to lose meaning in the face of larger political, social concerns. His work and performances have been included in numerous group exhibitions throughout Bangladesh as well as South Korea, Argentina, and the United States. Bhattacharjee received a Master in Fine Arts from the University of Chittagong (2006).
Rupam Roy's (b. 1983) sculptural interest relies on the physical nature of sound. Sounds that surround him in nature, reminiscent of the small village where he was born, eventually become part of his artistic experimental practice. Conceptually categorising the sources of sound, he creates visual images of direct, and indirect, sounds and echoes. Roy completed his MFA in sculpture at Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka.
Salma Abedin Prithi (b. 1985, Dhaka) works with visual language using text and performance to overcome social limitations. Taking intimate portraits of ordinary people, her practice opens up a portal into her subject's inner struggles and shares the affection that people have towards one another. Her early work with burn patients in a hospital in Nepal focused mainly on psychological rather than physical trauma, with her later portraits creating psychological fantasies of nostalgia and the inner ordeal of the female experience. Beginning her career as a news anchor, she later enrolled at the Pathshala South Asian Media Institute where she studied photography.
Samsul Alam Helal’s (b. 1985) photography pushes the boundaries of rigid, stereotypical thoughts about people their identity. He photographs Hijra (transgendered people) and working-class people in a traditional, vernacular studio, choosing interpretive, dramatic stage portraits to ensure the visibility of his subjects beyond documentary photography. By creating a space where people can freely perform their dreams for daily life, Helal aims to bring up the extremely important social issues found in the realm of reality and fantasy. Ordinary working-class people’s dreams, hopes and desires are beautifully represented in his photography. Helal’s passion for photography started when his older brother became a professional photographer. To enhance his artistic approach, he studied photography at the Pathshala South Asian Media Institute.
Shimul Shaha’s (b. 1983) work spans installation, video, sound and drawings. His art practice is constructed around experimentation and deep material research to create his work. Illustrations, videos, ready-made objects, acrylic sheets, lights, digital manipulation as well as X-ray prints are part of the visual language of his recent body of work. He explores psychological questions such as the creation of gender roles, lucid dream theory, and existential moments found in last stages of the human life. He completed his MFA from Beaconhouse National University in Lahore and his BFA in sculpture from Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka.
Shumon Ahmed (b. 1977, Dhaka) explores the fusion between video, photography and text, creating stories that, while seemingly contradictory, are private yet collective. Ahmed studied photography at the Pathshala Academy and participated in various exhibitions including the 2014 Kochi Muziris Biennale, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Chobi Mela, Fotomuseum, Winterthur, and Dhaka Art Summit 2012 and 2014.
Zihan Karim (b. 1986) looks to create a dialogue between the real and the virtual. He stages interventions in the city-scape using film projections that complicate the nature of the site. Deploying the capacity of emotion, the sensible image-movement, and our ability to imagine, Karim tries to lead viewers to a perceptual world, to evoke meaning rather than just describe it. Karim studied painting at University of Chittagong, and continues to live and teach there in the city. He is a founder member of the Jog collective.