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  • Liberty

    ALL PROJECTS Liberty Curated by Md. Muniruzzaman assisted by Takir Hossain This exhibition articulates a wide range of emotions and helps visualise freedom, sovereignty and free thought. Liberty -- its analytical significance -- is very much connected to the political, social and economic context of Bangladesh. Since the birth of the country, the people of the state have experienced political turmoil, religious bigotry and natural catastrophe. The people of the country lost their freedom in different periods for varied reasons. Freedom is the birthright of a man. However, we had to suffer under the shackles of slavery for long 200 years under the British colonial rule and about 25 years under the savage domination of the Pakistani rulers. Pakistani rulers treated the Bangalees with very brutal and malicious attitude. An excessive inequality was created by them in the different spheres of national life. These were made simultaneously in political, economical, social and cultural spheres. This exploitation by the Pakistani rulers caused bitterness among the Bangalees. Consequently, at one time, Bangalees crossed the limits of their patience and revolted against the Pakistani rulers. At last, the nation got freedom and relished liberty. Afterwards, the state faced several dilemmas in different phases. Specially, the artists of the country engaged themselves when the country faced any crisis. Their canvases always liberally express their thoughts, common people’s rights, and were in favour of establishing democracy and secularism in our society. The exhibition provides a chronological feature of Bangladeshi contemporary art. The show highlights the wide range of subjects but the theme of the exhibition --- “Liberty” --- is the focal point. The exhibition features several styles of different generations of painters in the country. The styles can be categorised as realistic, semi-realistic, abstract expressionism, abstract impressionism, symbolism, figurative, neo-expressionism, photo realism and more. To maintain individual languages, the painters depict rustic scenic beauty and untainted river and pastoral life, river erosion, daily chores of varied occupations, surrounding atmospheres, social and political crises, folk tradition, urban and rural life and more. A number of painters have concentrated on pure form, composition and architectural lines and texture. The exhibition includes the artworks of the first generation of artists in the country. A few of them were directly involved with the establishment of the first art college of the country in Dhaka in 1948. The exhibition also comprised of the artworks of the painters who first went abroad to take higher education on their preferred fields in the mid 1960s. During that time, these groups of painters were greatly influenced by abstract expressionism, lyrical abstraction, pure abstraction and non-figuration. This time, artists concentrated on textures, forms, tones, especially they concentrated more on technical aspects. Though the movement of the sixties was heavily influenced by internationally prominent Abstract Expressionists like Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Franz Kline and Adolph Gottlieb, it paved the way towards liberalisation. Thus the present accomplishments of Bangladesh’s art owes a lot to the liberalisation. The exhibition also includes the artists of the ‘70s, ‘80s and early ‘90s generations. The 1970s and 1980s were very significant times for the painters of our country. These generations of painters went through political turmoil and most of them were regarded as socially aware painters. It is also very noticeable that after independence, another transformation happened in our art arena. Painters felt free and their artistic creativities flowered. During the time a number of painters went for higher training in different parts of the world. Some stayed there permanently and tried to establish themselves in the new horizon. Their works are also included in the exhibition and some of these paintings highlight the blending of West and East art. Most of these works are colour and composition based. The exhibition also includes the artworks of leading painters of early ‘90s. Their works are experimental in terms of line, form and space. Textural intensity is also emphasised in several painters’ works in the exhibition. Their working styles are bold, thought-provoking and their themes clearly reflect our political instability, religious intolerance, economic hardship and social discrimination. Takir Hossain Artists Abdul Manan Abdus Shakoor Shah Syed Abul Barq Alvi Ahmed Nazir Ahmed Shamsuddoha Anisuzzaman Atia islam Anne Chandra Shekhar Dey Farida Zaman Golam Faruque Bebul Hamiduzzaman Khan Hritendera Kumar Sharma Jamal Ahmed K. M. A. Quayyum Kalidas Karmakar Maksuda Iqbal Nipa Mohammad Eunus Monsur Ul Karim Nasim Ahmed Nadvi Nazlee Laila Mansur Nisar Hossain Ranjit Das Rashid Amin Samarjit Roy Chowdhury Sheikh Afzal Hossain Sawpan Chowdhury Tasadduk Hossain Dulu Kanak Chanpa Chakma Khalid Mahmood Mithu Nasreen Begum Syed Jahangir Monirul Islam Sahid Kabir Rokeya Sultana Abu Taher Mohammad Iqbal Biren Shome Mostafizul Haque Saidul Haque Juise Shahabuddin Ahmed Aloptogin Tushar Shishir Bhattacharjee Zahura Sultana Hossain Wakilur Rahman

  • DAS 2016 Team | Samdani Art Foundation

    Nadia Samdani CO-FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT Nadia Samdani MBE is the Co-Founder and President of the Samdani Art Foundation and Director of Dhaka Art Summit (DAS). 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 increase their exposure. As part of this initiative, she founded DAS, which has since completed five successful editions under her leadership. She is a member of Tate’s South Asia Acquisitions Committee, Tate’s International Council and Alserkal Avenue’s Programming Committee, one of the founding members of The Harvard University Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute’s Arts Advisory Council and member of Asia Society’s Advisory Committee. 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. She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2022 Birthday Honours for services to global art philanthropy and supporting the arts in South Asia and the United Kingdom. She has also received the Knight of the Order of the Arts and Letters by the Cultural Ministry of France.A second-generation collector, she 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 and Live Mint and has been a guest speaker at art fairs and institutions including the Royal Ontario Museum, Art Basel, Frieze and Harvard University among other institutions. Works from the Samdanis’ collection have been lent to institutions and festivals including: Kiran Nadar Musem of Art, New Delhi (2023); Hayward Gallery, London (2022); Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2019); Para Site, Hong Kong (2018); Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2018); documenta 14, Kassel and Athens, (2017); Shanghai Biennale (2017); Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Olso (2016); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2015); Kunstsammlung Nordrhein, Düsseldorf (2015); Gwangju Biennale (2014); and Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2014). Rajeeb Samdani CO-FOUNDER AND TRUSTEE Rajeeb Samdani is a Co-Founder and Trustee of the Samdani Art Foundation, and Managing Director of Golden Harvest Group - one of the leading diversified conglomerates in Bangladesh. Together with his wife Nadia Samdani MBE, he established the biannual Dhaka Art Summit, and Srihatta- Samdani Art Centre and Sculpture Park. Rajeeb is also known for his modern and contemporary art collection. He is a founding member and Co-Chair of Tate’s South Asian Acquisitions Committee, a member of Tate’s International Council and Tate Advisory Board and Alserkal Avenue’s Programming Committee, a founding member of The Harvard University Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute’s Arts Advisory Council, Delfina Foundation’s Global Council member, a member of Art SG and a member of Art Basel Global Patrons 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. He has been a guest speaker at art fairs and institutions including the Royal Ontario Museum of Art, UC Berkeley, Harvard University and the Private Museums Summit. Diana Campbell ARTISTIC DIRECTOR Diana Campbell is a Princeton educated American curator and writer working in South and Southeast Asia since 2010, primarily in India, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. She is committed to fostering a transnational art world, and her plural and long-range vision addresses the concerns of underrepresented regions and artists alongside the more established in manifold forums. Since 2013, she has served as the Founding Artistic Director of Dhaka-based Samdani Art Foundation, Bangladesh and Chief Curator of the Dhaka Art Summit, leading the last five editions of the platform with a global team of collaborators. Campbell has developed the Dhaka Art Summit into a leading research and exhibitions platform for art from South Asia, bringing together artists, architects, curators, and writers through a largely commission based model where new work and exhibitions are born in Bangladesh, adding a scholarly element to the platform through collaborations with the Getty Foundation, Asia Art Archive, Cornell University, Harvard University, RAW Material Company, Gudskul, and many other formal and grassroots educational initiatives around the world. Pacific Islands and Bangladesh are at the forefront of climate change; Campbell’s maternal family is indigenous CHamoru from the island of Guam, and her heritage inspires her curatorial practice and the development of DAS as a platform to amplify indigenous practices both in South Asia and internationally. In addition to her exhibition making and writing practice, Campbell is responsible for developing the Samdani Art Foundation collection and drives its international collaborations ahead of opening the foundation’s permanent home and community-based residency program at Srihatta, the Samdani Art Centre and Sculpture Park in Sylhet. Campbell’s practice specializes in building networks. She is part of the facilitation group of AFIELD, a global network of socially engaged initiatives, and leading the international development of EDI Global Forum, a global network of art education departments as an initiative of the Campania Region of Italy developed by the Fondazione Morra Greco in Naples that is convening over 150 global institutions to address needed change in art education. She is currently curating the 2023 edition of DesertX in the Coachella Valley opening in March 2023, linking the climatic challenges of droughts and floods across California and Bangladesh. Emily Dolan Director of Operations and 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. Since 2012 she has taken on production orientated 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. Mohammad Sazzad Hossain HEAD OF ADMINISTRATION Mohammad Sazzad Hossain 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 6th 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 Adrián Villar Rojas, Nilima Sheikh, Ellen Ghallagher, Huma Bhabha, Bharti Kher, William Forsythe, Damian Ortega, Antonio Dias, Ramesh Maria, Shahzia Sikander, Rashid Rana, Haroon Mirza to name a few. Sazzad Hossain completed his M.A. and B.A. from Stamford University Bangladesh majoring in English Literature. Eve Lemesle PRODUCER Eve Lemesle is an arts producer based between Europe and South-Asia. She started the arts management agency called ‘What About Art’ in Mumbai in 2010. She has produced many exhibitions and consulted internationally for the Venice Biennale, Qatar Museums, Shanghai Biennale, Dhaka Art Summit, Kochi Biennale, the Asia Now art fair at La Monnaie de Paris, Soho House collection amongst others. She is currently a consultant with Reliance for the upcoming JIO World Centre in Mumbai. She is also a researcher at the Institute of Public Art at the University of Shanghai. Eve has been installing some of the most prestigious private and corporate art collections in South-Asia. Tasmia Nehreen Ahmed Manager of Communications Shabnam Lilani Curatorial Assistant and Assistant to Artistic Director Nivriti Roddam Curatorial Assistant and Institutional Relations Liaison Rezaul Kabir Kochi Architect and Project Manager for Architecture in Bangladesh Safiqul Islam Assistant Project Manager for Architecture in Bangladesh Asifur Rahman Assistant Project Manager for Architecture in Bangladesh DAS 2016 Team Amara Antilla ​ Daniel Baumann ​ Katya Garcia Antón ​ Guest Curators Others CHAIRMAN Farooq Sobhan GOETHE INSTITUT BANGLADESH Judith Mirschberger ALLIANCE FRANCAISE DE DHAKA, BANGLADESH Bruno Plasse BRITISH COUNCIL- BANGLADESH Eeshita Azad BANGLADESH SHILPAKALA ACADEMY Liaquat Ali Lucky ​ Rashed Maqsood BARRISTER Anita Gazi DHAKA ART SUMMIT, BANGLADESH Nadia Samdani MBE SAMDANI ART FOUNDATION, BANGLADESH Rajeeb Samdani ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ Organising Comittee Members

  • DAS 2018 | Samdani Art Foundation

    PARTNERS TEAM The fourth edition of the Dhaka Art Summit (DAS) took place from 2 to 10 February 2018, featuring both an Opening Celebration Weekend (February 2–4) and a closing Scholars’ Weekend (February 8–10), and several tiers of new programming. Produced and primarily funded by the Samdani Art Foundation, DAS 2018 was held in a public-private partnership with the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, the country’s National Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, with support from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Ministry of Information of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, the National Tourism Board, the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), and in association with the Bangladesh National Museum. ​ DAS 2018 puts Bangladesh at the centre of its own cartography rather than at the periphery of someone else’s, recalibrating how we think about art in South Asia by focusing on the increased inclusion of minority positions and conflicted terrains. This allowed visitors to reconsider the diversity found in the region beyond national narratives, and to begin to navigate South Asia as a long-standing zone of global contact. The Solo Projects section of the Dhaka Art Summit was replaced with Bearing Points. This new initiative comprised large-scale thematic presentations from artists and architects, orienting the viewer towards lesser explored transcultural histories of the region, curated by DAS Chief Curator Diana Campbell, and weaving together strands of thought from the nine other guest curated exhibitions in the Summit. ​ 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. DAS is unique in its ability to be a true hub for art and architecture related to South Asia. Expanding on the success of past editions, DAS 2018 extended its duration of exhibitions and programming to nine-days, and for the first time, widened its focus to create new connections between South, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean belt, highlighting the dynamic evolution of art in contemporary South Asia and reviving historical inter-Asian modes of exchange. Over three hundred artists were exhibited across ten curated exhibitions, and over one hundred and twenty speakers from all over the world participated in sixteen panel discussions and two symposiums that grounded future developments of art in South Asia within the region’s rich, yet lesser-known, past. ​ This was the third Summit led by Samdani Art Foundation Artistic Director, Diana Campbell, who returned as the Chief Curator of DAS 2018. Exhibitions & Programmes The 4th edition of the Dhaka Art Summit (DAS) produced by the Samdani Art Foundation (SAF) closed on 10th February, having brought together over 300 artists, 120 speakers, and welcomed record attendance with 317,000 visitors over 9 days Education Pavilion DAS 2018 Curated by Diana Campbell CRITICAL WRITING ENSEMBLES | SOVEREIGN WORDS DAS 2018 Curated by Katya García-Antón 2-10 February 2018 | Dhaka Art Summit Bearing Point 5 - Residence Time DAS 2018 Curated by Diana Campbell Bearing Point 4 - There Once Was A Village Here DAS 2018 Curated by Diana Campbell Bearing Point 3 - An Amphibious Sun DAS 2018 Curated by Diana Campbell Bearing Point 2 - Dozakh-I-Puri N'imat (An Inferno Bearing Gifts) DAS 2018 Curated by Diana Campbell Bearing Point 1 - Politics: The Most Architectural Thing To Do DAS 2018 Curated by Diana Campbell The Sunwise Turn DAS 2018 Curated by Shabbir Hussain Mustafa Illustrated Lectures | Imagery, Ideas, Personae, And Sites Across South Asia DAS 2018 Curated by Beth Citron And Diana Campbell Betancourt Displays Of Internationalism | Asia Interfacing with The World Through Exhibitions, 1947-1989 DAS 2018 Curated by Amara Antilla Sovereign Words: Critical Writing Ensembles DAS 2018 Curated by Katya García-Antón Below the Levels Where Differences Appear DAS 2018 Curated by Vali Mahlouji LOAD MORE

  • World Weather Network

    ALL PROJECTS World Weather Network ​ Climate can be seen as a collage of world weathers, and we are a proud member of this global coalition of 28 arts agencies around the world formed in response to the climate crisis and biodiversity loss. Learn more about the World Weather Network. Please watch our recent contributions to the network which include Echoes , a new video contribution by Gidreebawlee Foundation for the Arts, and the Dhaka Art Summit panel discussion on Artistic Process and Climate Change . Echoes is an inter-regional performance project that engaged young people aged 13–18 years from Thakurgaon and Khulna and created a collaborative art performance by exploring their collective voices with their respective experiences of climate change.

  • Gidree Bawlee Foundation of Arts

    ALL PROJECTS Gidree Bawlee Foundation of Arts Dhaka Art Summit 2020 Gidree Bawlee Foundation of Arts in northwest Bangladesh acts as a catalyst for social inclusivity through community-focused activities, bringing together diverse members of their neighbourhood as well as artists to experiment with local cultural traditions. In 2018, they created ‘Hamra’ to develop experimental forms of puppeteering. The presentation in DAS, ‘Golpota Shobar’ performs local history and myths surrounding a small village and the many living and non-living beings that inhabit it – as imagined by a theatre company of children. The handmade puppets made with found materials by the children tell stories of small incidents in the village – natural and/or supernatural that connect to long histories of waves of migration through to recent south-to-north movements of climate change refugees. ‘Golpota Shobar’ is realized in collaboration with Jolputul Puppet Studio and was performed inside of Taloi Havini’s ‘Reclamation’ installation at 4pm on 7, 8, 9, 14 and 15 February, with periodic interventions within the puppet theatre within this amoeba. The children also conducted theatre workshops with Dhaka based children during the DAS school days, performing the results of their workshop from 12.45–1.15pm on 11 and 13 February.

  • To Enter The Sky

    ALL PROJECTS To Enter The Sky Curated by Sean Anderson (Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Director at Cornell University’s Department of Architecture) Weather, when visualized, relies on the interaction of multiple forces enacting potential acts of benefit as well as destruction. Sometimes predictable, and even mapped, more often, spaces inherit weather in unpredictable patterns that suggest tumult, a conjuring or a question, in defiance of the unknown. For example, airplane pilots depend on degrees of turbulence to achieve lift, to enter the sky. Likewise, for architects and builders, turbulence presents a manifold of acts for the body and the landscape to confront, with which to bend and flex, and from which one may achieve improbable balance. With sea level rise and the increased intensity of unprecedented weather systems, the world has witnessed recent devastating floods in Northern Pakistan and Bangladesh, the ongoing strengthening of cyclones in the Bay of Bengal, and the anticipated disappearance of Maldivian atolls as well as those throughout the South Pacific. The invention of land for real estate development adjacent to the oceans and seas simultaneously destroys sensitive ecosystems while displacing vulnerable human and non-human settlements. A perpetuation of cataclysmic events tear at the definitions of geography, of fixed temporalities, for an architecture and urbanism subject to extremes continually redefined on the ground, in the water and the air. Recent years have also shown us that a global pandemic can challenge nearly every aspect of humanity and expressions of collectivity. Refugees and asylum seekers traverse the planet while confronting the fixity of imposed boundaries. Architecture can be reimagined to consider how and with whom we seek common grounds among spaces of repair, comfort and joy. With livelihoods unfolding over screens large and small, and those landless and nationless continue to seek refuge, the built environment presents itself as a backdrop, stage and as an agent for change. We all share one sky. Drawings by children situate both the vulnerability and strength of future selves who, in a spirited display of potential, of beauty, of imagined spaces and buildings, can also aspire to elevate and share possible futures. Just as we navigate the unknown, architecture must activate new encounters with economies of materiality, ecology, community, sovereignty, and citizenship. How do we design and build for the inevitability of conflicts, past and future? How does architecture establish belonging in landscapes of devastation and transit? This exhibition responds to those insecure conditions that allow architects, artists and designers to engage with the dimensioning of turbulence as a catalyst for addressing how we encounter each other. To Enter the Sky brings together examples of architectures and artworks of resilience, of trust, while not discounting fear, entropy, and destruction. The exhibition centers Bangladesh as part of a broader reckoning of what it means to be human in and of the built environment today. We know that various turbulences will persist. Architecture need not be resistant. Rather, the exhibition asserts how a spatial medium, with its multitudes of hope and chance, can begin to disseminate radical stories of becoming to help us understand our own fragile inheritances as individuals, communities, nations. LOCATION: FIRST FLOOR SOUTH PLAZA Sumayya Vally Ceramic vessels activated by performance Performance 7pm daily Commissioned by Samdani Art FoundationCo-curated by Diana Campbell and Sean Anderson as an overlay of “To Enter the Sky” and “Bonna” Pavilion and performance conceptualisation by Sumayya Vally Sound in collaboration with Shoummo SahaChoreography in collaboration with Arpita Singha Lopa oletha imvula uletha ukuphila Translation: “They who brings rain, brings life” IsiZulu proverb Wielding the comings of rain is a tradition practiced by cultures across geographies. To possess the power to command rainfall is by inference possessing the power to dictate the flow of the natural cycle and climatic conditions. Across Southern Africa, rain-making rituals are directed towards royal ancestors because they were believed to have control over rain and other natural phenomena. One of these rare and powerful individuals is the Moroka of the Pedi tribe in South Africa: the traditional rain-making doctor. Here, a series of fired and unfired clay vessels are assembled as a temporal space to hold gatherings. Over the course of DAS, a series of performances which draw on the traditions of rain-making and harvest are performed in the space where the hands that formed the pots also work to un-form them. The rituals include the use of water, which allows the un-fired pots to dissolve over time, revealing areas and niches of gathering contained by the pots, as well as rhythmic drumming that evokes the sound of thunder at the end of each day. Vally’s design, research and pedagogical practice is searching for expression for hybrid identities and territory, particularly for African and Islamic conditions. Her design process is often forensic, and draws on the aural, the performative and the overlooked as generative places of history and work. b. 1990, Pretoria; lives and works in London LOCATION: SECOND FLOOR Agnieszka Kurant Risk Management Commissioned for the New York Times 2020 Post-Fordite Fossilized automotive paint, epoxy resin, powdered stone, steel 2021-22 Sentimentite Digital NFT and physical sculpture Various pulverized objects, powdered granite stone, resin 2022 How can we redefine methods for understanding and responding to precarity at multiple scales throughout the world today? Materials extracted from the ground are but one illustration of how natural resources are continually pillaged in order to support unsustainable population growth and unfair labor practices, which is coupled with environmental devastation. The works in this exhibition speculate about the consequences of economies in parallel with digital capitalism, in which entire societies have become distributed factories of data production and exploitation, where everyone is a worker producing digital and carbon footprints. Risk Management presents a geographical map of a history of outbreaks of social contagions based on fictions spanning the last thousand years. The work draws on the inability of risk-prediction models to consider irrational human behavior and other largely impactful social phenomena. Post-Fordite takes up a recently discovered hybrid, quasi-geological formation created as a natural-artificial byproduct, through fossilization of thousands of layers of automotive paint accumulated and congealed on production lines at automobile factories since the opening of the Henry Ford Motor Company manufacturing plants in the early 20th century. Recently, these fossilized-paint configurations , named Fordite or Detroit Agate, by the former workers of now defunct factories, began circulating online and accruing value. Since Fordite can be cut and polished, it is often used like precious stones to produce jewelry. Post-Fordite embodies more than 100 years of amalgamated human labor and the collective footprints of workers, past and present, translated into geology. S entimentite is a speculative mineral-currency investigating the relationship between digital capitalism and geology in which a future mineral could become more precious than gold and become a currency. Kurant collaborated with computational social scientists who used Artificial Intelligence sentiment-analysis algorithms to harvest data from hundreds of thousands of Twitter and Reddit posts related to recent historic seismic events, including the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Brexit, the Arab Spring, Black Lives Matter, the pandemic global lockdown, and Bitcoin’s meteoric rise. These aggregated emotions of millions of people shaped the forms of 100 sculptures, which were cast in a new mineral created by pulverizing 60 objects used as official and informal currencies throughout the history of humanity: shells, Rai stones, whale teeth, corn, Tide detergent, electronic waste, soap, beads, mirrors, batteries, playing cards, phone cards, stamps, tea, and cocoa pods. Invested in exploring how “economies of the invisible” bolster fictions about humanity’s survival in the face of such destructive socio-political and economic processes, Agnieszka Kurant’s sculptural and mapping works speculate on how value is translated and can transgress conventional definitions. Her work challenges how objects today are mutated through their global circulation and production while also questioning modernist conceptions of aura, authorship, production, and hybridity. Many of her works emulate nature and behave like living organisms and self-organized complex systems. b.1978 Łódź; lives and works in New York Aziza Chaouni Projects Rehabilitation of Modern Public Buildings in Africa Sidi Harazem, Morocco Old Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone (1827) CICES, Dakar, Senegal (1974) Throughout the world today, modern architecture, especially those examples in rapidly developing areas of the Global South, remains at risk of demolition due to economic, political, and societal forces that consider its buildings not worthy of preservation. Modern buildings are often judged unattractive, too far removed from “traditional” architecture and building types while overlaid with memories of a traumatic colonial past. How do contemporary architects reimagine the ways in which modernism is understood today? How can spaces imbued with societal traumas be rewritten with the goal of transforming their value to communities and publics? These three rehabilitation projects are actively engaging with and responding to the design of community-centered spaces that are envisaged as cooperative, reparative and responsive for all that participate in their making. In Morocco, Sierra Leone and Senegal, like in other areas subject to the simultaneity of post-colonial transition meeting neoliberal economic drivers, buildings and landscapes are continually being questioned as productive zones for living today. Designed between 1959 and 1975 by prominent Moroccan architect of Corsican origin, Jean-François Zevaco, the Sidi Harazem Thermal Bath Complex, located near the city of Fez, is the first example of public post-independence leisure architecture designed for Moroccan inhabitants. Unfortunately, villagers whose ancestors had lived on the same land for generations were forcibly moved several miles away to accommodate the new tourist destination.Deploying a long-term phased masterplan that accounted for the memory of these historical events while also attending to environmental sensitivities with the use of water in a drought-prone area of the country, the Complex moves beyond the rehabilitation of the buildings themselves to adaptively reuse the spaces for the local population. Since 1827, Old Fourah Bay College was a laboratory and educational setting in which western ideas of governance, political organization and public service were shared as experiments with populations across Sierra Leone and West Africa. The onset of conflict throughout the 1990s radically altered this building and it was occupied by displaced families fleeing a brutal ground war. Working with local school and university groups to rethink what a “dream school” might look like, new methods of design centered in active conversations and designed interactive spatial exercises have established new shared narratives from which the College can once again return to being a space of civic and educational learning. Designed by the architects, Jean-François Lamoureux and Jean-Louis Marin, the CICES was commissioned by the first president of Senegal Léopold Sédar Senghor, who sought a universal African architectural language, shed from Western referents. The CICES complex uses Modernist principles in its circulation and layout, and simultaneously embraces Senghor’s ‘asymmetric parallelism’ theory, that he defines as "a diversified repetition of rhythm in time and space,” which allows for unique spatial experiences. Working with local stakeholders to reconsider what a “masterplan” for such an iconic complex affected by environmental and economic issues will be, ensures its continued use as a productive site for international exchange and commerce into the future. Aziza Chaouni was born and raised in Fez, Morocco and is trained both as a structural engineer and as an architect. Through the integration of users and stakeholders across the design process, Chaouni’s office, Aziza Chaouni Projects, offers alternative processes for imagining and designing empathetic spaces that move past staid aesthetics to articulate human and material-centered approaches to sensitive areas throughout North and West Africa. b.1977 Fez; lives and works in Fez and Toronto Coral Mosques of Maldives Mauroof Jameel and Hamsha Hussain Among the Maldivian atolls and islands, there are at least 26 documented mosques and compounds that have been constructed using coral stone. Assembled from porite coral stone ( hirigaa ) hewn from the reefs and integrated with interior structures fashioned from timber and crafted by lacquer work, itself a unique Maldivian artform, these buildings represent an architecture of resilience found nowhere else on the planet. Akin to other monumental structures found in India and Southeast Asia, the mosques coalesce building, material and artistic practices that point to the transit of ideas and typologies. While historical uses of coral in building construction have been discovered among the Mayan communities of Central America between 900-1500 BCE and among the coastal communities of the Red Sea between 146-323 BCE, among the Maldives, the coral used is both unique to the islands while the building conveys spatial and spiritual resonances found across the Indian Ocean and its sub-continent. These buildings illustrate how the use of localized materials at any scale can maintain long standing spaces for communities. The continued use of the coral mosques today is emblematic of a nation’s peoples and their unwavering faith in the face of environmental calamity. The images of six primary coral mosque compounds included in this exhibition are in use across the islands today and were nominated for UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2013. Each example embodies architectural forms that are both specific to their island location while also expressing discrete art practices including exterior coral carving, calligraphy, and lacquer work that speak to the movement of Islamic artistic practices across the ocean. With carpentry techniques in the mosques no longer extant and coral mining forbidden for environmental sensitivities, these buildings are recognized for their integration of construction techniques and artforms that speak to the Indian Ocean realm as a space for visual, material, and spatial exchange. Ihavandhoo Old Friday Mosque Miskiy Magu, Ihavandhoo, Haa Alifu Atoll6º 57' 17.33" N and 72º 55' 38.33" EIhavandhoo Old Friday Mosque was completed in 16 December 1701 CE (15 Rajab 1113 A. H.) during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim Muzhiruddin (1701-1705). Meedhoo Old Friday Mosque Hiyfaseyha Magu, Meedhoo, Raa Atoll5º 27' 27.80" N, 72º 57' 16.41"EAccording to local oral history, the mosque was probably built during the reign of Sultan Muzaffar Mohamed Imaduddin around 1705. It is the only surviving coral stone mosque with Indian clay roofing tiles. Malé Friday Mosque Medhuziyaaraiy Magu, Henveiru, Malé, Kaafu Atoll4º 10' 40.77" N, 73º 30' 44.57" EMalé Old Friday Mosque and its compound comprise one of the most important heritage sites in the country. It is also the biggest and one of the finest coral stone buildings in the world. The present mosque was built in 1658 during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim Iskandhar I, replacing the original mosque built in 1153 by the first Muslim sultan of the Maldives. Fenfushi Old Friday Mosque Hiriga Goalhi, Fenfushi, Alifu Dhaalu Atoll3°45′15″N 72°58′35″EFenfushi Friday Mosque was built during the reign of Sultan Mohamed of Dhevvadhu (1692-1701) on the site of an earlier mosque. It is a well-preserved compound with a unique coral stone bathing tank, coral stone wells, a sundial, and a large cemetery with grave markers of fine quality. Isdhoo Old Mosque Isdhoo, Laamu Atoll2° 7′ 10″ N, 73° 34′ 10″ EIsdhoo Old Mosque was built prior to a renovation in 1701 during the reign of Sultan Mohamed of Dhevvadhoo (1692-1701). This is the mosque where the 12th century royal copper chronicles 'Isdhoo Loamaafaanu' was kept in a special chamber. The mosque is built on a pre-Islamic site and analysis of the architectural details of the mosque indicates that the stonework could be even older. Hulhumeedhoo Fandiyaaru Mosque Koagannu, Hulhumeedhoo, Addu City0º 34' 51.6" S and 73º 13' 42" EHulhumeedhoo Fandiyaaru Mosque located in the Koagannu area in the island of Hulhumeedhoo (Addu City) was probably built around 1586 during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim III. The Koagannu area is the largest and the oldest cemetery in the Maldives with more than 500 coral grave markers, a sheltered mausoleum and 15 open mausoleums. It had six small mosques but now four small mosques remain. They are Koagannu Miskiy c.1397, Boadhaa Miskiy c.1403, Athara Miskiy c.1417 and Fandiyaru Miskiy c.1586. Felecia Davis and Delia Dumitrescu Computational textiles are textiles that are responsive to cues found in the environment using sensors and microcontrollers for the making of a textile that uses shape-shifting properties of the material itself to communicate information to people. In architecture, these responsive textiles are transforming how we communicate, socialize, and use space. For instance, they can be used in making temporary and more permanent manifestations of shelter in conflict and environmentally devastated areas. Davis, a trained engineer and architect, with Dumitrescu, a textile designer, asked with this project, ‘How can we design lightweight textiles for use in architecture that can translate responses to their environment? Further, how might we make textiles that dilate if the temperature surrounding the textile becomes hot, or if one wants more transparency in that textile to see the view?’ With her experimental lab, SOFTLAB@PSU, Davis creates responsive textiles that defy conventional structural and representational modes for the material itself and its applications. At the Smart Textiles Lab in Sweden, Dumitrescu has been developing responsive artistic effects in textile design that reshape an understanding of textile as a material that operates at different scales. In this project they consider ‘how’ and ‘what’ textiles can be ‘when’—much like individuals and communities. The first typology of material developed for this work was pixelated, designed with yarn that melts at high temperature; accordingly, the fabric opens or breaks when it receives current. Openings allowed the designers to ‘write’ upon the fabric making apertures, collecting foreground and background through the qualities of the material. The second material has been designed with yarn that shrinks or closes into solid lines in the fabric when it receives current. Shrinking is activated by the material while also revealing more opaque patterning in the textile closing parts of that textile off, transforming the material and the quality of space framed by that material. Davis’ work bio responsive textiles questions how we live while she re-imagines how we might use textiles in our daily lives and in architecture. Davis and her lab are interested in developing computational methods and design in relation to bodies in locations that simultaneously engage specific social, cultural and political constructions. Her collaborative lab is dedicated to developing soft computational materials and textiles alongside industry and community partners to establish a culture of hands-on making and thinking through computational materials not only as a future but also as a holistic approach to living within uncertain circumstances. Central to Dumitrescu’s research is the topic of material and textile design, focusing on new materials expanding from computational textiles to biodesign and biofabrication. Through the notion of textile design thinking, her research expands the textile methodology; it includes systematic work with: colour, materials, texture, structure, pattern, and function to explore and propose new design futures for sustainable living from material to spatial design. b. United States and Romania; Lives and works in State College, Pennsylvania and Borås Marshall Islands Navigation Charts Beijok Kaious The Marshall Islands in eastern Micronesia of the Southern Pacific Ocean consists of thirty-four coral atolls composed of more than one thousand islands and islets spread out across an area of several hundred miles. The islanders have mastered an ability to navigate between and among the almost-invisible islands—since the land masses are all so low that none can be seen except from a short distance away. In addition to closely observing wave and swell patterns, the Marshallese used the celestial constellations to navigate the ocean. They also determined the locations of the islands by observing the flight of the birds that nested on them. Song was also used to estimate the distance that the navigators traveled. Navigation is a form of storytelling and placemaking. For thousands of years Marshall Islanders used complex navigation techniques with charts made from coconut midribs and seashells. There are three kinds of Marshall Island “stick charts”: the Mattang , the Rebbelib , and the Meddo . The mattang was specifically designed to train individuals in the art of navigation while the Rebbelib covered a large section or the entirety of the islands. The charts consisted of curved and straight sticks. The curved sticks represented ocean swells and the straight sticks represented the currents and waves around the islands. The seashells represented the locations of the islands. Marshallese navigators memorized the charts and did not take them with them on their canoes. Each chart was unique and could only be interpreted by the person who made it. Today, different configurations of the charts are still being produced across the islands and used by young navigators learning to “read” the ocean. Beyond maps, the charts are thus built stories that speak to the past, present and future simultaneously. The examples of charts ( meddo ) presented in the exhibition, while made as souvenirs on the island of Majuro by Beijok Kaious and facilitated by others, still speak to the continuities and difficulties of navigating across oceans and territories that are rapidly disappearing with the onset of global climate crises. Olalekan Jeyifous How can one envision and design potential? Rather than observing historically overlooked areas of cities such as Crown Heights, Brooklyn or within megacities such as Lagos, Nigeria as impoverished, exclusionary, and open to demolition, as is commonly depicted for underserved areas throughout the world, Jeyifous’s immersive images and spaces speak to the potential for questioning present conditions and future possibilities. Many of the spaces in such locations are also subject to the extremes brought about by environmental instability. Such alternative futuristic visions are simultaneously based in real spaces and conditions while also shifting the gaze of top-down “development” efforts in the same cities that gentrify, displace and erase. These works recenter individuals and collectives as plural complex communities understood as fundamental contributors to the forging of the built environment. The politics of architecture is presented as an extension of how people build themselves as much as their communities. Recognizing that architecture can be built and imagined by these communities, buildings and infrastructures are configured not in opposition to each other but appended to and effectively built among existing real estate projects, socially-constructed spaces and historical monuments. Trained as an architect, and now working at the intersection of art, spatial practices, and public art, Nigerian-born Olalekan Jeyifous explores how the conventions of immersive digital renderings, collages and videos open spaces for critique and revelation of the contemporary built environment. b.1977 Lagos; lives and works in New York Rizvi Hassan Collaborators: Minhajul Abedin, Khwaja Fatmi, Prokolpo Shonapahar, Rohingya Artisans: Kamrunnesa & Jaber, Khairul Amin, Aminullah, Hosna Akhter & Shofiq, Nurul Islam, Shahabuddin, Imam Hossain, Ali Johor, Faruk, Artisans from Sylhet & Shonapahar: Rehana Akhter, Khatun begum, Rita akther, Nikhil Architecture, for Rizvi Hassan, has the capacity “to connect life, to strengthen mental health, to enhance culture, to mitigate conflicts, to enrich the ground, or just to ensure the basic but very important needs to have a better quality of life.” Among the sustainable structures constructed in the world’s largest refugee camps housing Rohingya refugees in and around Cox’s Bazar, Hassan approached these community-centered designs that amplify quality of life for both non-human and human beings. Each of the buildings is responsive to regional climate and environmental precarities, including cyclones, while also establishing safe spaces for vulnerable women and children. Collaborating with members of these communities as well as those building the structures often without the aid of technical drawings, Hassan deploys tools and processes that may be considered antithetical to conventional Western-based architecture practices. His work is as much a facilitator as a designer. Rather, utilizing regenerative materials such as bamboo and thatch, but also overlooked products including mattresses for insulation, Hassan’s buildings emphasize how the use of non-extractive materials alongside minimal industrial intervention encourages sympathetic design processes, dynamic interior spaces, and much-needed shelter and respite for countless individuals. Rizvi Hassan and his collaborators established their practice to work in precarious zones including camps as well as flood-prone districts in Bangladesh. He has stated that “the nation didn’t prepare me to be just an architect, but to be an educated person who can contribute to society. For that, it is important even just to be present, in places where people will need us.” His work reimagines buildings and spaces that empower all community stakeholders while also creating inclusive spaces for the perpetuation of beauty, belonging and survival. b. 1993 Dhaka; Office based in Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre (RCMC) Camp Life, 2022-2023 Hand-embroidered tapestry with stories of Rohingya refugee camp in BD. Participating Artisans: Yasmin, Shobika, Shomima, Roshida Facilitator: Sadya Mizan, Khurshida Permanent collection of RCMC Future Life, 2022-2023 Hand-embroidered tapestry with dream of future life of Rohingya refugee’s in BD Participating Artisans: Yasmin, Shobika, Showmima, Fatema, Ajida, Hosne Ara, Setara, Shamsunahar, Rokeya Facilitator: Rowson Akter, Asma Permanent collection of RCMC British physician and geographer, Dr. Francis Buchanan-Hamilton, published an article in 1799 that states, “the Mohammedans, who have long settled in Arakan, call themselves ‘Rooinga’, or natives of Arakan… the other are Rakhing … who adhere to the tenets of Buddha.” This early description not only establishes that there was an indigenous Muslim minority in the Arakan province of present-day Myanmar with the name Rohingya, but it further distinguishes them from the majority Rakhine Buddhist population. In 1982, the Burmese government enacted the 1982 Citizenship Law with a document that identifies 135 ethnic groups, which the government asserts had settled in Burma prior to 1823. The Rohingya, however, are not included as one of them. Subsequent decades of displacement and discriminatory policies incited by military coups and political brinkmanship has led to more than a million Rohingya refugees settling across numerous camps in Cox’s Bazar. Underlying their mass exodus into a country and spaces that are not their own, is the risk of negative psychosocial impacts stemming from, among other factors, a loss of cultural identity. Rohingya people have many stories, knowledge and wisdom that are rooted in mutual cooperation and care. “There is a dominant narrative that the Rohingya are poor and simple village people who don’t really have art or a developed material culture, and we want to show the world that this is not true,” describes Shahirah Majumdar. In 2022, the estab lishment of the Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre (RCMC) in Camp 18 was designed in tandem with extensive community participation and led by architect Rizvi Hassan. The RCMC is a Rohingya-led institution that collects, preserves, and disseminates the importance that knowledge narratives create goodwill among displaced communities. Even in the most unsettled conditions, cultural practice expressed through art is a significant mode through which generations of displaced communities can maintain their identity. The RCMC encourages empowerment across gender and social lines. Embroidery workshops provide an essential outlet for women artists, who gather to share personal experiences that are subsequently then stitched into tapestries. These are stories of being and becoming that further confer Rohingya histories into tangible forms. Women are trained by Bangladeshi artists who have helped them expand their artistic repertoire beyond traditional floral and faunal motifs, to even include human depictions. The embroidered tapestries presented here are powerful evocations that move past fear, anguish, and insecurity to illustrate stories of building that cannot be erased or forgotten. Storia Na Lugar / [un]Grounding NarrativesPatti Anahory and César Schofield Cardoso Among the islands that comprise the nation of Cabo Verde in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, increasing territorial segregation, socioeconomic disparities, a general lack of quality of the built environment, are all present despite development indices for the country indicating one of the best performances in Africa. Ongoing phenomena including the rapid and asymmetrical growth of cities, large investments in mass tourism, the lack of alternatives of materials and construction techniques, are having an irreversible effect on people’s lives throughout the world. Coupled with an increasing desire to build tourist resorts on already environmentally sensitive areas of the archipelago, this video work explores how both sea and sky are becoming compromised in the pursuit of unsustainable, destructive economies. Given this, [un]Grounding Narratives focuses on communities facing exclusion, insecurity, or marginalization, while engaged with various forms of negotiation that reflect how social and natural environments can be repaired through cultural practices of affirmation and belonging. Storia Na Lugar merges the analytical visual languages of an architect and a visual artist alongside a joint pursuit of social and environmental ethics with multidisciplinary art and architectural works that explore forms of environmental and structural precarity in West Africa. Through engaging an international network of researchers, social activists, artists and professionals to engender action, Anahory and Schofield Cardoso seek to influence policy makers and promote a more inclusive development approach for the world’s cities and islands. Patti Anahory b. 1969 aboard a ship at Latitude 26o 50’ N Longitude 17o 05’ W; Based in New York City and Praia César Schofield Cardoso b. 1973 Mindelo; Based in Praia, Cabo Verde Suchi Reddy Reddymade Architects Between Earth and Sky Experiences found within architecture and the (built) environment play an essential role in shaping our capacity to engage with agency, equity, and empathy. Suchi Reddy’s guiding principle is “form follows feeling,” privileging human engagement as a mode for conceiving, designing, and building architectures that invite wonder and discovery. While working toward broader yet critical notions of “design justice,” alongside investigations of machine learning, the holistic design of spaces is recognized as an asset for the benefit of all and not just for some. Reddy considers how we, as individuals and collectives, encounter space as both a constructed and imagined phenomenon. The “mirages” installed as part of this exhibition are an exploration of how belief and the reimagining of boundaries through architectural intervention may contain limitless possibilities. Mirages become metaphors for societal rupture and repair. What is a building or space but an extension of who we are and who we wish to become? Uniting the architect’s wide-ranging portfolio of architecture and artistic work is a multidisciplinary approach guided by a belief in the power of architecture and spatial experience to impact how we feel, how we shape society, and the positive contribution we can offer through design. Interested in the complexities of uniting scientific studies of neuroaesthetics with overt spatial and haptic experiences found in building, the experiential works of Suchi Reddy and her office Reddymade, are at once built manifestations of extensive research of the interplay of human behavior with the material, metaphysical and structural forms that build us. b. Chennai; lives and works in New York We Are From Here Collective Conceived with the collective We Are From Here based in the Slave Island (Kompannaveediya) area of Colombo, Sri Lanka, this work highlights how deeply interconnected communities continually find their homes threatened by gentrification for State and corporate interests. Focused on Slave Island, a rapidly developing location in the center of Colombo where Rahman grew up and now resides, the ongoing project explores the threat of socio-political intersections that are gradually being erased for inequitable economic and political drivers that subsequently are displacing residents. While many residents are of Malay origin, the suburb has been home to multiple cultures, languages, and religions for generations. The area was first described under British Colonial rule as a holding area created by the Portuguese to hold slaves from the African continent. Such historically rich yet seemingly overlooked areas are not only disappearing throughout Colombo but also across cities throughout the world due to the misalignment of definitions of value based on land and property and not for humans. The collective’s multi-media work spotlights how entangled threads of multiple narratives that offer both sources for and representations of intimacy, precarity and memory. The project focuses on mobilising a creative peace-making movement that would help participants and beneficiaries alike to socially engage in their own unique realities through artistic and spatial production. We Are From Here is a multidisciplinary artist’s collective formed by Firi Rahman in 2018 including Parilojithan Ramanathan, Manash Badurdeen (and earlier including Vicky Shahjahan) whose work includes drawing, photography and sculpture, considers the threatened codependent relationships that people and endangered species have with their natural, lived and built environments. Their work has questioned the rise of endangered species in Sri Lanka. The collective and Rahman are particularly interested in the interactions between animals and urban environments, and the responsibility societies share in protecting biodiversity. b. 1990(Firi Rahman), Colombo; Collective established in 2018; lives and works in Slave Island (Kompannaveediya), Colombo Jaago Foundation One Thousand Futures Drawing has been a universal language that both children and adults share since time immemorial. From one’s first attempts at drawing, including the random marking with lines and scratches, and even after the first representations of the world around them, individuals are communicating to establish reciprocal meanings through images. Children of all ages use drawing to express their individual interpretations of experiences near and far. Yet, drawings, as language, can also be “read” and translated. For architects in particular, drawings are tools with which to imagine, capture and define ways of inhabitation. They possess scale, contain volumes, indicate varying temporalities, relay environmental considerations and “speak” to multiple audiences through commonly accepted forms. Our eyes and bodies can occupy the spaces found in a drawing. The project at the heart of this exhibition relies on drawing, as both an artform and as perhaps the most widespread language in the world, to transcend age, gender, background, culture, and other markers of identity. One thousand school-age children from schools across Bangladesh were asked by the Curator to respond to one question with their drawings: What might the future look like? According to governmental agencies in 2022, with around 98% of Bangladeshi “children of primary school age” enrolled in school, many students still have difficulty with basic reading skills. While education is essential to improving the economy of any nation, many people lack foundational lessons for living if they do not receive proper schooling. But all children, when provided with the materials, can draw—or at least create a visual means by which to communicate and thus establish complex meanings for both themselves and others. The drawings presented here are not fictional as they are responsive to an individual’s personal experience and vision while also sharing in multiple images of hope, of joy, of the possibility for becoming and living without the fear of environmental catastrophe. The drawings are active reminders that beyond the structures and boundaries that continually define us, we can draw a future for and about ourselves. JAAGO Foundation began in a single room in the Rayer Bazar slum area of Dhaka. In April 2007, Korvi Rakshand and a group of friends rented a room in Rayer Bazar, with a vision of improving the lives of the local youth. Rakshand and his friends began teaching 17 local children from the area. The first project of the JAAGO Foundation was born from providing relief supplies in response to a flood that destroyed part of the Rayer Bazar in 2007. Since then, the JAAGO Foundation has expanded to actively work toward the integration and participation of all youth in nation building through activities that support inclusion, transparency, and accountability. More than 50,000 volunteers today are working across the country in 11 schools and other sectors to ensure the participation of youth to support and ensure equitable access to education, environmental stability, and women’s rights throughout Bangladesh. Neha Choksi Sky Fold 2, 2013 Sky Fold 8, 2013 Folded paper and light cyanogram Collection of the Samdani Art Foundation What might be the dimensioning of the sky? Across time and geography, the sky has been both a backdrop and a foreground for countless civilizations. Centuries of song and poem have accessed the sky as an arbiter for the faithful and is never complete. It can be made invisible and while at other times, it is a preface for events to come. For some, the sky is a limitless expanse, continuous, open. And yet, for many others, the sky cannot be accessed, it is felt as the origin of sorrow, or even imminent danger. These works at once suggest the fragility and difficulty to contain the sky, its temporalities, and its power. While the grid may be understood as an ordering system, a mathematical invention that is supposed to relay equanimity while also potentially demarcating both economic and political conditions upon the ground; when imposed upon the sky, one is confronted with the possibility of its boundaries, both real and imagined. Choksi’s interest in forging temporary presence is, for the artist, “an affirmative act of destruction.” The Sky Fold cyanograms are photographic works that are embodiments of the means of their own production, folded paper, and light. Like a blueprint of the sky, these photographic prints capture those creases in time—perhaps moments of rupture—when the sky which we all share is made a reflection of the multiple worlds in which we live and dream. Neha Choksi deploys interdisciplinary approaches including performance, video, installation, and sculpture to redefine the poetics and transience of everyday life. Often reflecting on absence, her works employ an uncertain gravity that suggests an uneasy groundedness. Centered among logics that respond to the dialectics of socio-cultural contexts and their variable scales, Choski’s interdisciplinary multi-format works are both interventions into and responses to intersections of time, consciousness, and context. b.1973, USA and India

  • Collective Movements

    ALL PROJECTS Collective Movements ​ We have been witnessing movements of people of all ages from Chile, to Lebanon, India, Hong Kong and beyond, all voicing a desire for forms of agency in the context of persistent repressive colonial and authoritarian structures. DAS was formed through the collective building of a grassroots transnational civil space where culture can be shared beyond the limits of the nation state. Together with artists who create situations, build relations, and organise events and institutions, we aim to create a strong sense of community rooted in Dhaka. The word body can also be read as individuals who come together as a group. Like antibodies, individuals within any body need to maintain the ability to disagree with the group and contribute to the dynamic evolution of the fragments, situations, and personalities that make it up. A powerful aspect of groups is that they are dynamic and fluid; they can come together, break up into two or more groups, move when they need to, and dissolve when their work is done, reforming if/when they are needed again. Damián Ortega b. 1967, Mexico City; lives and works in Mexico City Sisters; Hermanas, 2019–2020 Bricks, Corn, Squash, Chiles, Beans Commissioned and Produced by Samdani Art Foundation for DAS 2020. Courtesy of the artist, kurimanzutto, White Cube, and Samdani Art Foundation. Realised with additional support from kurimanzutto and White Cube. A portion of the corn was grown and donated by Shakhawat Hossain In an empty, uninhabited lot covered by wild weeds and grass, a big conical figure is raised. It is made of red bricks and could be described either as a stupa, or a pre-Colombian pyramid. It is a sculptural silo, containing an offering with a sample of one of the native corn species of Mexico, a single seed. Seeds can be deposited on any land, and with some luck and under the right conditions, they multiply in a micro-explosion of fertility. Limits of private property are tested when rituals, knowledge and products are taken from one place to another. A ‘milpa’ is a piece of land that grows from using ancient Mesoamerican agricultural practices that are necessary to produce products to meet the basic needs of a family. A milpa contains a diverse ecosystem that produces corn, beans, squash and chile working in solidarity. This ecosystem is, to a certain point, what has fed us, and one of the most valuable gifts that Damian Ortega wishes to share from Mexico. Ortega uses sculpture, installation, performance, film, and photography to arrive at events of deconstruction, both material and conceptual. In his work, the familiar is altered and re-purposed, leading the viewer to inspect the unexpected interdependence of the components involved. Ortega highlights the complex social, political, and economic contexts that are embodied in every-day objects. Fernando Palma Rodríguez b. 1957, San Pedro Atocpan; lives and works in San Pedro Atocpan ‘Language programmes us’, shares Fernando Palma, indicating that it is possible to be a different person in different languages. Palma is an expert in programming; he has a background as an electrical engineer and he is interested in the transmission of systems, knowledge, and electricity. Part of Palma’s work is preserving the Nahua language, a group of languages related to the Aztec people, settled mainly in the central part of Mexico. ‘It is through indigenous languages that we begin to see a different relationship between people and their environment, their art and culture’, writes Palma. For example, the word for artist in Nahua language is derived from the word for the number five – because the artist is the fifth point connecting the four points on a compass: North, South, East, West. This definition does not contain the triangular axes of fame, power or money. The artist had a formative experience in Bangladesh visiting the Chakma community during a residency at Britto Art Trust in 2003, understanding that the condition of his community in Mexico was linked to that of indigenous people on the other side of the world. He returns to Bangladesh to catalyse transmission of indigenous knowledges of language and ecology through workshops related to his body of work creating Nahua inspired pictograms (found in The Collective Body). Palma makes robotic sculptures that perform narrative choreographies, addressing issues faced by Mexican indigenous communities, such as that in the agricultural region of Milpa Alta in Mexico. These include human and land rights, violence, and urgent environmental crises. He runs Calpulli Tecalco, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation of Nahua language and culture as well as Libroclub Fernando Benitez In Cualli Ohtli, a book club active for over twenty years with Nahua reading groups for children, and Maspor Nosotros AC, an organisation constituted in order to prevent, mitigate and compensate for the environmental and social impact caused by industrial and consumer waste. Olafur Eliasson b. 1967, Copenhagen; lives and works in Berlin Your Uncertain Shadow (Black and White) , 2010 HMI lamps, glass, aluminium, transformers Courtesy of the artist and Samdani Art Foundation Several spotlights project light on a white wall, however these lights only become perceptible when visitors enter and move across the space, blocking the light source and filling the void of the room with the presence of their shadows. The moving shadows of visitors create a sort of choreography and stretch and contract in tones ranging from grey to black, varying based on the movements of bodies in the space. Differences in race, religion, age, and class are flattened in this work as details used to identify individuals are reduced to moving outlines, and we become more aware of the present moment and the patterns we can build by engaging with people around us. Olafur Eliasson’s art is driven by his interests in perception, movement, embodied experience, and feelings of self. He strives to make the concerns of art relevant to society at large. Art, for him, is a crucial means for turning thinking into doing in the world. Eliasson’s works span sculpture, painting, photography, film, and installation. Not limited to the confines of the museum and gallery, his practice engages the broader public sphere through architectural projects, interventions in civic space, arts education, policy-making, and issues of sustainability and climate change. Taloi Havini b. 1981, Arawa; Lives and works in Sydney. Reclamation , 2019–2020 Installation, mixed media Co-Curated by Diana Campbell, Alexie Glass-Kantor, and Michelle Newton. Commissioned and Produced by Samdani Art Foundation and Artspace, Sydney for DAS 2020 with support from the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. Realised with additional support from the Australian High Commission of Bangladesh Reclamation is a new work by Taloi Havini created in collaboration with her Hakö clan members. The artist draws from recent historical movements of conflict as well as acts of resilience and self-determination experienced within the social fabric of her inherited matrilineal birthplace, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. Reclamation is a site-specific assemblage of natural materials, harvested from the artist’s own matrilineal Hakö clan land. Here, Havini traces the significance of impermanence in traditional Hakö architecture. Individual panels have been shaped, cut and lashed within an arched form to reference formal Indigenous knowledges and map-making, echoing temporal spaces created for ritual and exchange to assert aspace for collective agency. Reclamation speaks to notions of lineage and navigation. Underlying the ephemeral installation of cane and earth are questions about the ways in which we relate within temporal spaces; how borders are defined and claimed as well as the value of impermanence and embodied knowledge over fixed historical understandings. Havini weaves together the tensions of precarity and resilience, vulnerability and activism to create a space of encounter and transmission. Havini speaks through geographic and cultural specificity of situations with global implications, working at a time when communities across the globe find themselves at the tipping point of environmental and social change. Havini works with photography, sculpture, immersive video and mixed-media installations. She considers the resonance of space, ceremony, and how material culture can be defined and translated through contemporary practice. Vasantha Yogananthan b. 1985, Grenoble; lives and works in Paris The artist Vasantha Yogananthan photographed SECMOL’s moving Ice Stupa project in Ladakh . Yogananthan's work straddles fiction and documentary, and this project shows how an imagined idea for a utopian future can come into being through creativity and institution building. Yogananthan’s photographic approach has been developed over the last 10 years whilst working on the major independent projects Piémanson (2009–2013) and A Myth of Two Souls (2013–2020) which have been published, exhibited and awarded internationally. Yogananthan is deeply attached to analogue photography for its slow – almost philosophical – process. His interest in painting led him to work around the genres of portrait, still life and landscape. SECMOL/Ice Stupa The Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) engages scientists and engineers with young people growing up in Ladakh (a highly border-contested mountainous zone of northern India bordering China), especially those from rural or disadvantaged backgrounds. SECMOL equips young Ladakhis with the knowledge, skills, perspective, and confidence to choose and build a sustainable future in a high desert, which is increasingly lacking in water. Temperatures in the Indian Himalayas are rising as a result of climate change, causing snow from glaciers to melt faster, negatively affecting local communities that rely on springtime meltwater for agriculture. Resulting from two years of experiments at SECMOL, ‘Ice Stupa’ is a local solution to a local problem. ‘Ice Stupa’ is an artificial glacier created by piping a winter mountain stream down below the frost line, and then cascading it out of a vertical spout in the desert plateau. When gushing water encounters freezing ambient temperatures, it transforms into a conical ice formation with minimal surface area exposed to direct sunlight. The artificial glacier lasts late into the spring, allowing communities extended access to water for irrigation, as opposed to normal ice, which melts much faster. This is a local solution at a human scale. These photographs were taken by the artist Vasantha Yogananthan in 2019 for the New Yorker. SECMOL’s travel to DAS was generously supported by the Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation.

  • Citizens of Time

    ALL PROJECTS Citizens of Time Curated by Veeranganakumari Solanki The future is yesterday’s tomorrow. The ephemeral elements of time are permanent frames that layer perceptions, and everything that one refers to is in context with a time frame that determines the existence of a moment. Whether it be seconds, minutes, hours, centuries or light years, change is an inherent factor of time; nothing can be preserved forever. There is a desire to hold time, to let time go, to want time to stay or to disappear. ‘Citizens of Time’ are the keepers of these universal borders of time. They explore the variables in time folders while realising the crucial existence of an alternative presence and engagement within their time vaults of space and works. The impermanence of time filters in-and-out of landscapes, glass jars, homes, objects and the mind’s perceptions. The contemporary perception of telling time has been transformed from its history of division through sundials, shadow clocks and light. ‘Citizens of Time’ are divided into four time pockets – the residue of time through natural elements, memory traps from spaces and personal environments, translated time maps of imagination and mindnarratives of distorted time. Each of these edited spans of created moments is layered with elements of the artist’s personal rendition of time. They exist as analogies of experience that differ from created utopias to documentations of timed reality. Stephen Hawking’s book, “A Brief History of Time” renders time from the evolution of the Big Bang Theory into the futuristic possibility of time travel and alternative realities. He further explains Einstein’s theory of time as the fourth dimension of our three-dimensional world. The artists of ‘Citizens of Time’ explore the minute details and texture which make up this fourth dimension. These are elements that build up relationships, societies, cities, countries and eventually the universe. Time goes beyond its metaphysical existence to translate into visual forms of a new aesthetic of time in fantasies, nostalgia and memories. These personal capsules of time plant themselves into a universe of subjective interpretations of history and the future. Time, in the form of natural elements, parallels global warming to an unknown land; and bottled time with notes of precise minutes and thoughts captured, converse with an artist’s rendition of personal notes in timeless frames of landscapes of a mountain and lake. The places and works, similar to the nature of time straddle between timelessness and the precision of moments. Taking time into personal spaces, the second pocket explores the location of the body and frozen time frames. Here one experiences a revision of working processes, frozen time and peeled memories from homes and histories. Time seeps in through wallpapers, refrigerators and windows. A visual distortion of created realties follows to change the tradition of the history of time. The third pocket sees time repeating itself in created environments which are subject to the viewer’s imagination. History layers itself with contemporary happenings and loops into renditions of the artists’ compositions. In the final section, there is a departure from the material into a distortion of the present, through the past in time frames of the mind. Here, the property of time and places are blurred to become the ownership of the mind’s soul and time returns back into the personal universe. These time deposits carry forward into memories as experienced time frames, which pulse into the past, history, experienced present and travelled future. Hemali Bhuta Hemali Bhuta (b. 1978) is an internationally recognised artist whose works are closely related to architectural elements. Her interventions in space research through ephemeral materials, time, into the history of sites, and her minimal approach using imitation, deception, impermanence and concealment are seen in ‘The Residual Diameter’. In this work, Bangladeshi muslin cloth is time-consumingly and painstakingly crafted into a wallpaper roll. Bhuta says, “It is a transformation that involves Recycle as a phenomenon… The manifestation enables one to measure time by mapping the history of itself. [Here, it is the] exclusivity of the weavers’ craft, as [opposed to] the mass production of the roll!” Remen Chopra Remen Chopra (b. 1980) combines drawing, photography, painting, sculpture and installation to create works that are visually as layered as their conceptual depth. Elements of Renaissance art and architecture, central to Chopra’s works, are further layered with references to historic time periods merging into contemporary ones, through composed collectives of her imagination, as seen in Lives Within Time If Time Lives Within It . Through the reference of time as a moral concept, where past, present and future merge, Chopra addresses “the New Renaissance”, while drawing strongly from elements of history. Kiran Subbaiah Kiran Subbaiah (b. 1971) includes object assemblages, site/context-specific texts, short stories, videos, and proposals for utilitarian objects in his work. He has been working with digital art / media since 1999 and has constantly questioned the use of objects and their presence, while placing himself as a protagonist in most of his works. The process of the existence of the required object and fictitious realities in his series or videos and in ‘Doing Without’ deliberately places the artist in situations beyond the practical. His works raise existential questions of the necessary presence of another with relationship / relating to procrastination, convenience and time. Baptist Coelho Baptist Coelho (b. 1977) is a multi-media artist whose projects merge personal research with collaborations across cultures, geographies and histories. ‘Gurgaon to Panamik, 2008-09’ (a part of the multi-disciplinary project, “You can’t afford to have emotions out there…”) focuses on the life of the soldier; not as a machine of war but as a man coping with daily complexities of conflict. A collection of bottles and corresponding handwritten notes from soldiers and locals Coelho encountered on his research trip act as time capsules. The works become a testament to existence and the effect on people’s lives due to the Siachen conflict, while also drawing together a strong connection between air, natural space and thoughts of common / ordinary people. Vibha Galhotra Vibha Galhotra (b. 1978) employs various media, from photography to installation and sculpture to create, conceptually and symbolically, experiential spaces. She has worked with dimensions of art, ecology, economy /economics, activism, surreal time and created utopias. ‘15 Days of May’ was realised within a time-frame of 15 days. With a mundane act of leaving a clean white rope outside her studio, the artist documented the effect of the polluted air of her city as displayed on the rope. The harsh alterations of reality through the subtle passage of time are reflected along with the artist’s primary concerns of global warming and its effect on ecology. Nandan Ghiya Nandan Ghiya, (b. 1980) in his practice builds upon his background in fashion, with antiques and new technology. Ghiya refers to the 21st century as one of emulation, competition and pressure. Here one is striving to address routine challenges and adversities, which the artist refers to as ‘Glitches”. Ghiya’s work reflects these ‘glitches” through visual interventions, distortions and transformations of old photographs, sculptures and objects. The set of two wooden figurines in ‘Peer- Pressure Glitch’ is a distortion of ideal beauty, in a state of limbo, evolution, transformation and transition, from old to new or from physical to digital. Sonia Jose Sonia Jose (b. 1982) relates to the environment and personal/social history in her work, and this stems from a need to preserve and acknowledge lived experience that surrounds routine life practices. The ‘Untitled’ (Rug) with the screenprint of hand-written text – So Much to Say – was inspired at a time when the artist was looking for a solution to calm her mind. Jose chose the words ‘so much to say’ as a meditative repetition and response to eclipse her needs, desire or compulsion to have anything to say at that time. Manjunath Kamath Manjunath Kamath (b. 1972), a collector of images, draws his initial inspiration from Indian Nathdwara paintings and collages, juxtaposing them with a living room, animals and displaced imagery. He gathers images from various sources to create narrative panoramas that weave in-and-out of an amalgamation of history, experience and imagination, layered with constructed myth, fantasy and evidence of overlapped time. In ‘Familiar Music from an Old Theatre’ he plays with time and space to create a magical realism that is both subjective and unique in experience. Riyas Komu Riyas Komu (b. 1971) focuses upon the political and cultural history of Kerala; the artist is a co-founder of the KochiMuziris Biennale. ‘The Last Wall’ is a narrative of a man from the artist’s neighbourhood, who lives within time frames of his mind, disconnected from the maze of a city. Working mainly at night, this man’s mind time is seen through his graffiti which is more text based than visual. By documenting this through video, Komu creates a twelve-minute experience of a visually distorted perception of time narrated through sound. Nandita Kumar Nandita Kumar (b.1981) works with a range of media including new-media, technology, video and painting to create immersive environments. Through her artistic research and interactive works, she explores the elemental process through which human beings construct meaning. ‘Birth of a Brainfly’ is a surreal narrative dealing with the process of a person’s individuation of a mental-scape. Similarly, ‘Tentacles of Dimensions’ is a journey of a brain that has unplugged its cultural programming and is indulging in the senses. Both these flights into self-constructed labyrinths of ego and creative utopias deny all construct of time. Ritesh Meshram Ritesh Meshram (b. 1975) is inspired by everyday objects which he explores through painting, sculpture, video, installed assemblage and kinetic work. The series of sculptures and prints are related to the detail of transitional spaces and time in a home, where the residue of time is seen through passages, window frames and photographs. This abstraction and fragility of time is carefully crafted in this series which the artist describes as a process against his temperament. Prajakta Potnis Prajakta Potnis (b. 1980) enquires into the seepage of time, life-span and aura around mundane objects from daily life, through photography, painting and site-specific installations. While ‘Still Life’ explores the process of degeneration, ‘Capsule’ explores the idea of freezing time and age. Potnis uses the refrigerator as a connotation of controlled temperature, which enables one to create a sterile enclosed space similar to the one in a mall or an airport. She likens these capsuled, sometimes transit spaces to zones that are not affected by the outside. They appear to be cloned, sterile centres within a city. Gigi Scaria Gigi Scaria (b. 1973) works with painting, sculpture, photography and film to explore his interest in issues of urban and economic development, issues surrounding migration and urban architecture. The delusion and anonymity of the geographical locations he uses, makes the spaces he works with universal. Further incorporating objects that cannot be attributed to an identifiable time or space, the artist places his works within the frame of timelessness. In ‘Camel and the Needle’, and ‘Clueless’, barren landscapes of salt and sand, void of habitation are mirages of recognition. They go beyond any inclination of recognition of time and place. The large photographs leave the viewer to collect traces of memories in this ‘Dust’, which is the title of the recent series of the artist’s works, to which these photographs belong. Kartik Sood Kartik Sood (b. 1986) creates photographs, paintings and new-media installations that share autobiographical, invented and dislocated memories of a story-teller. The works are patterns of memories through photographs and personal notes, which work themselves into an idea of a timeless setting of space. Sood’s images are constructed with the idea of time -- outside and inside. The artist describes the locations as “spaces of contemplation, where one often stops by to introspect. While the outer time goes on running at the usual speed, there are inner time transitions at such spaces. Is it really an illusion of time shifting, or does time really bend on our day to day lives?”

  • Jothashilpa

    ALL PROJECTS Jothashilpa Dhaka Art Summit 2020 Jothashilpa is a centre for traditional and contemporary arts, which considers itself ‘a melting pot where fine art, folk art, native art, and crafts are juxtaposed and create a new art language.’ The group questions the notion of ‘high art’ and believes art is an integral part of society that emerges from everyday life. They work with cinema banner painters, weavers, and ceramicists among others, and their priorities include fair trade, women’s empowerment, and community development. Through their research and making processes, they collaborated with SAVVY Contemporary and Master Artist of Cinema Banner Painting Mohammad Shoaib and his disciples to realize a timeline that contains exhibitions about collectivity within, grounding us in solidarities of the past and imagining solidarities of the future. Artists involved in this project: Mohammad Shoaib, Shawon Akand, Didarul Dipu, S. M. Sumon, Abdur Rob, Mohammad Yusuf, Rafiqul Islam Shafikul, Md. Rahim Badir, Mohammad Iqbal, Mohammad Dulal, Hamayet Himu, Aftab Alam, Mohammad Javed, Md. Selim.

  • DAS 2012 Team | Samdani Art Foundation

    Nadia Samdani CO-FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT Nadia Samdani MBE is the Co-Founder and President of the Samdani Art Foundation and Director of Dhaka Art Summit (DAS). 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 increase their exposure. As part of this initiative, she founded DAS, which has since completed five successful editions under her leadership. She is a member of Tate’s South Asia Acquisitions Committee, Tate’s International Council and Alserkal Avenue’s Programming Committee, one of the founding members of The Harvard University Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute’s Arts Advisory Council and member of Asia Society’s Advisory Committee. 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. She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2022 Birthday Honours for services to global art philanthropy and supporting the arts in South Asia and the United Kingdom. She has also received the Knight of the Order of the Arts and Letters by the Cultural Ministry of France.A second-generation collector, she 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 and Live Mint and has been a guest speaker at art fairs and institutions including the Royal Ontario Museum, Art Basel, Frieze and Harvard University among other institutions. Works from the Samdanis’ collection have been lent to institutions and festivals including: Kiran Nadar Musem of Art, New Delhi (2023); Hayward Gallery, London (2022); Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2019); Para Site, Hong Kong (2018); Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2018); documenta 14, Kassel and Athens, (2017); Shanghai Biennale (2017); Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Olso (2016); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2015); Kunstsammlung Nordrhein, Düsseldorf (2015); Gwangju Biennale (2014); and Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2014). Rajeeb Samdani CO-FOUNDER AND TRUSTEE Rajeeb Samdani is a Co-Founder and Trustee of the Samdani Art Foundation, and Managing Director of Golden Harvest Group - one of the leading diversified conglomerates in Bangladesh. Together with his wife Nadia Samdani MBE, he established the biannual Dhaka Art Summit, and Srihatta- Samdani Art Centre and Sculpture Park. Rajeeb is also known for his modern and contemporary art collection. He is a founding member and Co-Chair of Tate’s South Asian Acquisitions Committee, a member of Tate’s International Council and Tate Advisory Board and Alserkal Avenue’s Programming Committee, a founding member of The Harvard University Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute’s Arts Advisory Council, Delfina Foundation’s Global Council member, a member of Art SG and a member of Art Basel Global Patrons 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. He has been a guest speaker at art fairs and institutions including the Royal Ontario Museum of Art, UC Berkeley, Harvard University and the Private Museums Summit. DAS 2012 Team Guest Curators Others CHAIRMAN Farooq Sobhan DHAKA ART SUMMIT, BANGLADESH Nadia Samdani MBE SAMDANI ART FOUNDATION, BANGLADESH Rajeeb Samdani ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ DELFINA FOUNDATION, UK Aaron Cezar Organising Comittee Members

  • Bearing Point 1 - Politics: The Most Architectural Thing To Do

    ALL PROJECTS Bearing Point 1 - Politics: The Most Architectural Thing To Do Curated by Diana Campbell Bearing Point 1 - Politics: The Most Architectural Thing To Do “Architecture must inspire the people, for whom it is built, by creating spaces that incite the finer, more gracious aspects of the mind,” said Bangladeshi architect and urbanist Muzharul Islam (1923-2012). When asked why he entered politics, he responded, “because it was the most architectural thing to do.” This Bearing Point considered the entanglement of the history of architecture in South Asia with the quest to undo the effects of imperialist colonisation. Decolonial practice meant re-making the world; re-framing a new attitude to internationalism against the modes created by imperialism. Moving towards the de-hegemonisation and decolonisation of form, Rasheed Araeen’s monumental commission Rite/Right of Passage (2016-2018) used the familiar form of bamboo scaffolding, as well as that of temporary bamboo pavilions, used across South Asia for ritual and ceremonial purposes to destabilise an imperialist idiom of minimalism, with its focus on the machine-made, replicable form, and erasure of the traces of the presence of the human hand. A rite of passage can be described as a ceremony marking when an individual, or individuals, leave one group/society to enter another. Inspired by figures like Araeen, DAS sought to create a space for artists on the periphery of a Western-dominated art historical discourse, but also an India-dominated South Asian cultural discourse. Seher Shah and Randhir Singh’s Studies in Form (2017-2018) was a tribute to a history of internationalist thinking in architecture, while simultaneously imagining a blueprint for cultural hybridity in architecture through a landscape of cyanotypes. The post-independence moment saw the invitation of many pioneering architectural thinkers to the region. Franco-Hungarian architect and theorist Yona Friedman was first invited to South Asia by UNESCO in the 1980s to research into techniques of vernacular architecture, which could be used to respond emergencies where resources were limited. Friedman worked with existing craft practices, such as basket-making and the use of bamboo, to develop what would eventually become the Museum of Simple Technology (1982) in Madras (Chennai). Rebuilt in 2017 in Bangladesh, this project symbolised the spirit of self-reliance, flexibility, and freedom that allowed Friedman’s manifestos for mobile architecture to exist into perpetuity, infinitely translatable. Questioning the hierarchical position of the museum, and the role architecture plays in the creation of its hegemonic position, Dayanita Singh’s Pocket Museum and Shoebox Museum workshops created a different form of a museum without walls – as mobile entity, one in a permanent state of flux. Continuing the Tagorean tradition of syncretism between vernacular and western forms and de-colonial pedagogy, the Education Pavilion, designed by Samdani Architecture Award laureate Maksudul Karim, imagined a space for a nomadic art school at the centre of DAS which hosted free workshops on artistic and curatorial methodology. The Dhaka Art Summit hoped to foster modes of architectural thinking that are able to conceive of located, contextual forms of life, oriented against imperialism, that produce their own syncretism framework that reimagines both built and non-human environments. Artists Rasheed Araeen (b.1935 in Karachi, lives and works in London) Rite/Right of Passage, 2016-2018 Bamboo Construction Scaffolding Commissioned and Produced by Samdani Art Foundation for DAS 2018 Courtesy of the Artist, Samdani Art Foundation, and Grosvenor Gallery A rite of passage can be described as a form of ceremony which occurs when an individual, or individuals, leave one group/society to enter another, a harbinger of impending change. Moving towards the decolonization of form, Rasheed Araeen’s monumental commission Rite/Right of Passage (2016-2018) rises from the entrance of the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, adopting the familiar form of bamboo scaffolding as well temporary bamboo pavilions used across South Asia for ritual and ceremonial purposes to destabilise the American imperialist idiom of minimalism, with its focus on the machine-made, replicable form. Araeen’s sculptural passage into Dhaka Art Summit 2018 is through an improvised space of geometry, fundamental to an Islamic worldview which was developed from the 8th Century. The reference to these forms becomes a conceptual gesture for Araeen, acting in defiance of Western hegemony over regimes of vision, which he believes are enforced through the proliferation and circulation of living images. We invite visitors to embark on a rite of passage into a new mode of thinking with Bangladesh at the centre of its own existence, rather than that periphery of someone else’s, while also looking back at the philosophies that informed the long history of internationalism in the region. Yona Friedman (b. 1923 in Budapest, lives and works in Paris) Museum of Simple Technology, 1982/2018 Bamboo, Woven Baskets, Aluminium Foil Courtesy of the artist Presented here with additional support from Institut Français . The post-independence moment saw the invitation of many pioneering architectural thinkers to the region, such as that of Le Corbusier to design the city of Chandigarh in 1950 and Muzharul Islam bringing his mentor Louis Kahn to Bangladesh to plan the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban in 1962. Franco-Hungarian architect and theorist Yona Friedman was first invited to South Asia by UNESCO in the 1980s to research into techniques of vernacular architecture, which could be used to respond to situations of emergency where resources were limited. Friedman worked with existing craft practices within communities, such as basket-making and the use of bamboo scaffolding, to develop what would eventually become the Museum of Simple Technology (1982) in Madras (Chennai) which was awarded the Scroll of Honour for Habitat from the United Nations. Friedman was equally interested in the modes of transmission of architectural knowledge: he devised instead a sequential visual language to produce scores for the creation of his improvisatory architecture. The Museum of Simple Technology, rebuilt in 2017 in Bangladesh, speaks to the spirit of self-reliance, flexibility, and freedom that allow Friedman’s manifestos for mobile architecture to exist into perpetuity, infinitely translatable. Seher Shah (b. 1975 in Karachi, lives and works in New Delhi) & Randhir Singh (b. 1976 in New Delhi, lives and works in New Delhi) Studies in Form, 2017 Cyanotype monoprints on Arches Aquarelle paper Commissioned and Produced by Samdani Art Foundation for DAS 2018 Courtesy of the artists, Samdani Art Foundation, and Nature Morte, New Delhi Presented here with additional support from Nature Morte, New Delhi Studies in Form is a new collaborative body of work between artist Seher Shah and photographer Randhir Singh exploring overlapping ideas in architecture, photography, drawing and printmaking. A series of cyanotype prints builds on these overlaps to further an ongoing interest into concepts of architectural scale and sculptural intent. Cyanotypes were one of the first photographic printmaking processes developed in the 19th century and a precursor to the blueprint which was an important reproduction method for architectural and engineering drawings well into the 20th century. Working with this printmaking process, Shah and Singh focus on five unique buildings by fragmenting their architectural components through photographic images. These buildings share a number of aesthetic qualities including heavy massing, the sculptural use of concrete and repetitive structural grids along with a visionary intent driven by a desire to break from the status quo. Grouped into chapters, the buildings in this ongoing series are: Akbar Bhawan (Shivnath Prasad, New Delhi. 1969) The Barbican Estate (Chamberlin Powell and Bon, London. 1976) Dentsu Head Office (Kenzo Tange, Tokyo. 1967) Brownfield Estate: Balfron Tower, Glenkerry House and Carradale House (Ernő Goldfinger, London. 1970) Dhaka University Library (Muzharul Islam, Dhaka. 1954) Alongside these five chapters, two smaller series of works, both reproduced as cyanotypes, offer varying perspectives. A series of drawings, titled Flatlands Blueprints, explores notions of incompleteness and uncertainty as a counterpoint to determined architectural expression. The sculptural forms and massing found in the photographs is further explored in a series of woodcut based prints, titled Hewn Blueprints. Working with architectural representational methods, such as the plan and elevation, these prints function between the precise formalism of a blueprint and the intuitive nature of drawing. Dayanita Singh (b. 1961 in New Delhi, lives and works in New Delhi ) Dayanita Singh’s art uses photography to reflect and expand on the ways in which we relate to photographic images. Her recent work, drawn from her extensive photographic oeuvre, is a series of mobile museums that allow her images to be endlessly edited, sequenced, archived and displayed. Stemming from Singh’s interest in the archive, the museums present her photographs as interconnected bodies of work that are replete with both poetic and narrative possibilities. Selected exhibitions include Suitcase Museum, Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai (2017); Museum of Chance Book Object, a solo project at the Dhaka Art Summit (2016); the 20th Sydney Biennale (2016); Go Away Closer, Für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2014). Singh has also authored several books including Zakir Hussain (1986), Myself, Mona Ahmed (2001), Go Away Closer (2007), Sent A Letter (2008).

  • FAQs | SamdaniArtFoudnation

    FAQs What makes the Samdani Art Foundation (SAF) unique? The Samdani Art Foundation is a solely non-commercial entity, which is unique to both Bangladesh and a rarity across the South Asian region. While there are other art foundations in Bangladesh, SAF is the only one not tied to commercial activities within the art world. SAF also rejects the art camp model of other local foundations, which ask artists to produce works for free in return for participating in their programs. SAF is privately funded and does not sell any artworks, nor does it generate income by engaging with the commercial activities of galleries or art fairs. All of SAF’s programmes are free and never require registration or participation fees. In 2012 the Samdani Art Foundation founded the bi-annual Dhaka Art Summit (DAS), an international non-commercial research and exhibition platform for art and architecture related to South Asia, which re-examines how we think about these art forms in a regional and wider context. DAS’s interdisciplinary programme creates a generative space for art and exchange, and is unique in that it commissions, funds, and produces works as opposed to merely exhibiting them. Many projects commissioned and produced by SAF for DAS—such as those by Shilpa Gupta, Rashid Rana, Jitish Kallat, and Munem Wasif—have travelled to international institutions such as the Berlin Biennale, NYU Abu Dhabi, San Jose Museum of Art, Gwangju Biennial, and the Singapore Biennial. This is not a collection building strategy; works commissioned for DAS often travel to other international exhibitions after the event and will continue to belong to the artists. SAF does not recover production money or take commissions pertaining to the work it produces. The Foundation has been successful in providing a non-commercial platform for international institutions to consider art from Bangladesh in their curatorial research process, which has led to the inclusion of work by Bangladeshi artists and architects in international exhibitions. Munem Wasif, Ayesha Sultana, and Rana Begum have recently showcased their work in Korea at the 11th Gwangju Biennale–the Biennale’s first inclusion of Bangladeshi artists. Architect Kashef Chowdhury’s work in the 2015 Venice Architecture Biennale was the Biennale’s first inclusion of a Bangladeshi architect, which speaks to the rising role of Bangladeshi architecture on the international scene. Munem Wasif participated in fifth edition of the Singapore Biennale after its curator reached out to SAF for information about Bangladeshi emerging artists. SAF supported Naeem Mohaiemen’s solo exhibition at the Kunsthalle Basel in 2014, leading to the artist’s inclusion in documenta14. In 2017, Kunsthalle Zürich included two Bangladeshi artists from the Samdani Art Award (Samsul Alam Helal and Raqiful Shuvo) in the group exhibition Speak, Lokal, curated by DAS 2016 guest curator Daniel Baumann. Raqiful Shuvo and Farzana Ahmed Urmi recently participated in the 11th Shanghai Biennale with the support of SAF. There has been unprecedented mobility for emerging Bangladeshi artists in recent years, which SAF is proud to have supported and will continue to do so through its various initiatives. The Samdani Art Foundation has a great number of projects including the Samdani Seminars, the Samdani Artist Led Initiatives Forum, the Samdani Art Award, the Samdani Architecture Award, the Dhaka Art Summit, and the recently launched DAS Research Fellows programme. SAF also supports a great number of global events and the participation of artists from Bangladesh in international exhibitions. For further information about our projects, please visit the dedicated section on our website here. How many artworks are in the collection? There are approximately 2,000 artworks in the Samdani Art Foundation collection. Where is the samdani art foundation collection based? The collection is currently based at Golpo, the Samdani family residence in Gulshan, Dhaka. In 2018, the Foundation will open phase one of Srihatta – Samdani Art Centre and Sculpture Park in Sylhet, Bangladesh on a 100+ acre outdoor site. The term 'art centre' is used rather than museum to create a sense of accessibility for the local community and flexibility for the space to determine its own format rather than conform to a South Asian private museum format. Srihatta will house part of the Samdani Collection and commission new works by South Asian and international artists. A permanent Dhaka exhibition space is planned for after 2020. What are the highlights of the collection? South Asian and diaspora highlights include works by Anish Kapoor, Gaganendranath Tagore, Abanindranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore, Huma Bhabha, Naeem Mohaiemen, Rana Begum, Raqs Media Collective, Shilpa Gupta, Shahzia Sikander, Novera Ahmed, and Zarina Hashimi. The Samdani’s also collect international art, an invaluable study tool for local arts enthusiasts and students. International highlights include works by Lynda Benglis, Chris Ofili, Alighiero Boetti, Paul Klee, Ettore Spalletti, Cindy Sherman, Marina Abramovic, Ai Weiwei, Pawel Althamer, Mona Hatoum, Philippe Parreno, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Cardiff and Miller, and Anthony McCall. Many of these works, and the South Asian works, will be installed at Srihatta – Samdani Art Centre and Sculpture Park opening its first phase in late 2018. What is the Samdani Art Award? The bi-annual Samdani Art Award, organised in partnership with the Delfina Foundation, has created an internationally recognised platform to showcase the work of young Bangladeshi artists to an international audience at the bi-annual Dhaka Art Summit. Inviting applications through an open call, Bangladeshi artists between the ages of 20–40 are eligible to apply. Applications are then shortlisted by an invited jury of international artists and curators who chose ten finalists to receive one-on-one sessions with an invited guest curator. The winner will receive an all-expenses paid, six-week residency at the Delfina Foundation in London. Each short-listed artist will be given an international curator as a mentor as part of the Biennials’ Associate Artists programme and at least two of the short-listed artists will be commissioned for the upcoming Liverpool Biennial. Many past short-listed artists have since shown their work at international exhibitions and institutions including; 11th Gwangju Biennale (2016), curated by_Vienna (2016), 11th Shanghai Biennale (2016), 4a Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (2017), and Kunsthalle Zürich (2017). For further information about the Samdani Art Award, please visit the dedicated section on our website here. Who is behind the Samdani Art Foundation (SAF)? Nadia Samdani is the President of the Samdani Art Foundation, which she co-founded with her husband Rajeeb Samdani in 2011. SAF is led by Diana Campbell, its Artistic Director, an International Advisory Committee, and a local organising committee, chaired by Farooq Sobhan, President and CEO of the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI), an independent research institute in Bangladesh. What is the source of these private funds? Rajeeb Samdani is the Managing Director of Golden Harvest and Chairman of the Dubai-based financial institution Gulf International Finance Limited. Golden Harvest is a diversified Bangladeshi conglomerate with over 5,000 employees, involved in numerous business sectors: food, real estate, information, technology, agro, infrastructure development, dairy, aviation, insurance, commodity, and logistics. Rajeeb Samdani is also the Secretary of the General of the Bangladesh Human Rights Foundation, which is one of the largest Human Rights organisations in Bangladesh. Mr. Samdani is also the Founder of the Taher Ahmed Chowdhury Charitable Hospital in the city of Sylhet. The Samdani family financially supports both of these initiatives as part of their corporate social responsibility efforts. Is there a tax exemption from the sources invested in the Samdani Art foundation (SAF)? Due to local regulations, there is no tax benefit for any of the funds invested in the Samdani Art Foundation or any of its projects. Does the Samdani Art Foundation (SAF) plan to expand outside Dhaka? The Samdani Art Foundation has offices based in Dhaka and Mumbai, which facilitate its work across South Asia. SAF does not currently plan to open any international offices or exhibition spaces, but it is developing a permanent art centre in Sylhet, Bangladesh–a forty-minute flight from Dhaka. The majority of SAF’s funds are spent on activities in Bangladesh in order to support the local art scene. SAF engages with institutions outside the region by supporting curatorial research and exhibition-making in Bangladesh. Such an example is SAF’s Artistic Director Diana Campbell’s current work with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago to lend many artworks from the SAF collection for the exhibition MANY TONGUES: Art, Language, and Revolution in the Middle East and South Asia, curated by Omar Kholeif, set to open in November 2018. This will be the largest showing of work by Bangladeshi and South Asian modern and contemporary artists in the United States. What is the arts centre in Sylhet? Srihatta – Samdani Art Centre and Sculpture Park is currently under development with plans to open in 2021. Srihatta is being designed by Aga Khan prize winning Bangladeshi architect Kashef Mahboob Chowhdury. It will be located in a 100+ acre outdoor site in Sylhet, Bangladesh with a 5,000 square foot indoor exhibition space to house works from the Samdani Collection. Srihatta will also include ten rooms to be used as residency spaces for local and international artists and curators to contemplate art and nature. SAF will also commission new works for Srihatta by South Asian and international artists. This space will aim to improve the existing public art infrastructure in the country, as well as increase accessibility to contemporary art, reaching a wider Bangladeshi audience. The first realised project on this site was Rokeya – an interactive sculpture created by leading Polish artist Paweł Althamer in collaboration with the local community, completed in early 2017. For further information about the development of Srihatta – Samdani Art Centre and Sculpture Park, please visit the dedicated section on our website here. Why Sylhet? Located in northeast Bangladesh, surrounded by rain forests, hills, rivers, and valleys, Sylhet is one of the leading tourist destinations in the country. As the Samdani Art Foundation seeks to promote international artistic exchange between Bangladesh and the rest of the world, Sylhet has proven to be an easily accessible international Bangladeshi city–an ideal location for Srihatta – Samdani Art Centre and Sculpture Park. Sylhet is also the hometown of the Samdani family. What initiatives will Srihatta – Samdani Art Centre and Sculpture Park promote? Once open, Srihatta – Samdani Art Centre and Sculpture Park will house part of the Samdani Art Foundation’s permanent collection and have exhibitions dedicated to contemporary art from Bangladesh and South Asia, as well as to international artists. It will also have a performance programme and a vast outdoor area for sculpture and architectural pavilions. As part of an international exchange initiative, Srihatta will host the Samdani Seminars, which currently take place in Dhaka. Srihatta will also have an international residency program. Visiting the space, as with all SAF’s programmes, will be free. What are the Samdani seminars? The Samdani Seminars are a free lecture and workshop programme, which facilitate engagement between international arts professionals and local communities across Bangladesh through participatory artworks, lectures, and workshops, to engage a broader audience with the arts. The Seminars complement the syllabi of Bangladesh’s leading educational institutions by covering the mediums and subjects not currently included, accessible to those of all ages, to encourage an inclusive dialogue around art. Curated by the Samdani Art Foundation’s Artistic Director Diana Campbell, the first annual Samdani Seminars began in 2015 and focused on exploring the possibilities of the body and the space it occupies. The premise was for artists to consider the body as the primary tool of expression, a tool that also allows the engagement with traditional arts such as painting, sculpture, and photography. The 2017 Samdani Seminars focused on sound and listening as tools for art-making. The Seminars also consider Arte Util, institution-building, and organisational strategies for local artist-led initiatives and collectives. For further information about the Samdani Seminars, please visit the dedicated section on our website here. Who takes part in the seminars? Twelve leading international artists and curators from eight countries participated as visiting faculty in the previous series of Seminars in 2015. They worked alongside individuals from theatre, music, dance, and architecture backgrounds which ensured the programme facilitated collaborations across creative disciplines. Half of the Seminars were open to the public and enjoyed by audiences of over 300 art enthusiasts and students. The other half of the 2015 Seminars were closed-door discussions, each with a group of around 16 participants, selected by the visiting faculty and artists from a strong applicant pool. The current 2017-18 Seminar programme,featured Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Haroon Mirza, Asim Waqif, Pawel Althamer, Susan Philipsz, Tarek Atoui, Sebastian Cichocki, Nick Aikens, Council, and Open School East. Many of the ideas and movements introduced in these sessions fed into the Dhaka Art Summit 2018’s Education Pavilion. Why Dhaka and Bangladesh? Besides being the current home of Nadia and Rajeeb Samdani, Bangladesh and Dhaka, in particular, have a vibrant art scene still in need of support to flourish on both a local and international stage. By producing the Dhaka Art Summit and funding international events to encourage cultural exchange, the Samdani Art Foundation provides an opportunity for leading figures of the international art world not only to engage with South Asian art, but also to become familiar with the Bangladeshi art scene. Furthermore, it is important for SAF to provide opportunities for the local community to engage with regional and international art. Bangladesh does not have a dedicated contemporary art museum, making SAF’s collection an important bridge for Bangladeshi art enthusiasts and students to experience first-hand examples of international modern and contemporary art. What is the Samdani Architecture Award? The inaugural Samdani Architecture Award was launched in 2017, and was open to all third and fourth year architecture students from Bangladesh to propose a design for DAS 2018’s Education Pavilion. Creating much needed opportunities for young architects, the first prize winning entry was realised and animated with the Education Pavilion programme, during the Dhaka Art Summit 2018. For further information about the Samdani Architecture Award, please visit the dedicated section on our website here. What is the Samdani Artist-led Initiatives Forum? The Samdani Artist-Led Initiatives Forum recognises the importance of Bangladesh’s independently established and self-funded art initiatives and collectives. Supporting these initiatives’ ongoing efforts, the Forum will help each to continue to work locally while building their profile internationally through SAF’s network. For further information about the Samdani Artist-Led Initiatives Forum, please visit the dedicated section on our website here. How does the Samdani Art Foundation sustain itself financially? The Samdani Art Foundation is privately funded by Nadia and Rajeeb Samdani.

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