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  • Monika Sosnowska at Zachęta – National Gallery of Art

    ALL PROJECTS Monika Sosnowska at Zachęta – National Gallery of Art 24 July - 25 Oct 2020, Warsaw, Poland Monika Sosnowska's first extensive monographic exhibition in Poland at Zachęta – National Gallery of Art in Warsaw includes works inspired by her multiple visits to Bangladesh from 2017-2020, contextualized within her ongoing interest in deconstructing and reconstructing diverse histories of architecture across the world. We facilitated her research visit for the Dhaka Art Summit 2020 and her commission 'Concrete River' 2020 at the Srihatta: Samdani Art Centre and Sculpture Park which encouraged her to create new works for the summit as well as her solo exhibition at Zachęta. Monika Sosnowska's sculpture draws from the modernist architecture of Dhaka, in that particular case the inspiration comes from Muzharul Islam’s faculty of Fine Arts and the spiral staircase that he designed. Sosnowska transforms, modifies and distorts basic architectural elements. She deforms metal constructions, guardrails, staircases, beams and angle profiles, giving them unusual shapes. Deprives them of their original function and rescales them, creating expressive sculptures. These architectonic installations are meant to affect our senses, distort our sense of gravity, weight and hardness of matter, and instill anxiety with their rescaled forms, unnatural deformation. Image: Monika Sosnowska, Stairs, concrete and painted steel, 110 x 185 x 150 cm, 2020. Courtesy of the Foksal Gallery Foundation.

  • Interview | SamdaniArtFoudnation

    Since it was founded in 2012, the Samdani Art Award has steadily developed into an internationally recognised platform, highlighting the most innovative work being produced by young Bangladeshi artists. Created to honour one talented emerging Bangladeshi artist, the award does not issue the winner with a monetary prize, and instead funds them to undertake an all-expenses paid, six-week residency at the Delfina Foundation in London: a career-defining moment for the artist to further their professional development. The award’s latest winner, Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury, travelled to London earlier this year in July to undertake his residency. Providing him with the time and space to revisit old ideas, and explore new, while expanding his networks. I caught up with Chowdhury while he was in residence to discuss his ongoing practice and how winning the award has impacted his career to date. Samdani Art Award 2020 INTERVIEW: MIZANUR RAHMAN CHOWDHURY Emma Sumner: You initially studied printmaking, how did your practice evolve to become what it is today? ​ Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury: It is very interesting for me to talk about this shift. When I studied printmaking at Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka. I tried to embrace the fact that many of the printing processes I learnt were all steeped in tradition, but no matter what I tried, I never felt that the process fitted with what I wanted to achieve and communicate within my practice. While I was studying, I tried to experiment with mixing and matching various print making techniques and introducing found photography into my lithograph prints, although it was prohibited in our academy at that time, so in parallel to my studies, I continued my own experimental art practice. ​ ES: So, printmaking did not allow you to communicate what you wanted to get across to your audience? Did this change at all after you graduated and had more freedom with the way you were able to work? ​ MRC: Even after graduating I was never really convinced that printmaking would give me the tools to communicate what I wanted through my practice. The sensibility of printmaking was a way to develop my ideas, but the outcome always became something else, like a form of assemblage, or an installation. During my study, I became interested in the moving image—especially the genres of psychedelic and experimental film—and wanted to explore them in my practice. Later, after graduation, I also began to experiment with performance, photography, collage, object sculpture and video installation. These multiple approaches helped steer my practice into the direction it has taken today. ​ ES: Do you still make prints now? ​ MRC: I love woodcarving, and I did begin working in this way during my graduation but my lifestyle doesn’t allow me to practice like this anymore. Its partly for this reason, and the limitations of the media itself, which have moved my practice in a very different directioN. ​ ES: Your practice today is interdisciplinary and embraces installation and many other media. How do you decide what media you want to work with? Do you keep objects of interest to you in stock that you feel you might use later, or you source everything after you have devised an idea for a project? ​ MRC: My work has always been sensitive to the time and space in which I create it so my processes are never fixed and I allow my intuition to guide me when developing new works. I usually find an object which forms the basis of an idea which I then begin to ‘open-up’ through my working processes to explore its core subject in greater depth I only ever select objects that appeal to me, a process which is very subjective as the same object might not appeal to others in the same way it does to me, making the process very much about my connection to the objects I work with. ​ ES: Where do you go to source your materials? Is there anywhere particular where you feel more inspired? MRC: I find my materials in all sorts of places but generally I never go looking for things as I tend to just come across things as I go about my daily tasks, making most of the objects I source ephemeral. For one of my more recent projects I collected a lot of boxes over the period of Ramadan. The boxes contained oranges which had been imported from Egypt, but I was drawn in by the striking logo on the front of the box. Ramadan was the only time that the boxes had been in stock in my local market. As I was already familiar with the store owners, I took the time to talk to them and gained a lot of information about how the boxes had come from Egypt to Bangladesh, making me question the ideas of globalisation and international trade and how these matters might affect the everyday person. This formed the foundation for a new work which I am still developing the work in my studio now. ES: So the conversations that you have with other people as you develop your ideas are also a key part of your working process? ​ MRC: In my project The Soul Who Fails to Fly into the Space (2017), which I exhibited during the Dhaka Art Summit, the chairs on which the television was placed were rented from a local company in Dhaka. The man who owned the company was very open and welcoming towards me, and he was very excited to be playing a small part in my project. But when he showed the chairs to me, every chair had a very shiny sticker of his company logo placed prominently in the centre of the back rest, which wasn’t part of how I’d originally envisaged the work. I thought about it all night but slowly realised that I couldn’t remove the logos, as the interactions between us had helped us to build a relationship of respect, a love that had an impact on my decision making and led to me keeping the logos as they were and allowing in the unexpected. In the end, the logo fitted magically on that installation. All the interactions and discussions that I have with the people I meet during my working process are very important to me and often influence my work in positive ways. The curator, Simon Castets also played an important role while installing the works as we discussed at length about how my work could respond to the space to create a more meditative and playful exhibit. ​ ES: Since arriving in London for your residency at the Delfina Foundation have you started work on any new projects? or is there anything that you are working on now? ​ MRC: I lived in London previously back in 2014 when my wife was undertaking her MA. During that time, I was struck by how many road signs there were and I began taking photos of the streets. I had began working on a project called Land, and now I am back in London for this residency, I have had a chance to restart and develop the ideas I was working on further. While I have been here, I visited the National History Museum and I saw that they had analysed Bangladesh by looking at the structure of our land, particularly our rivers, and the types of our soil. What interested me most about this display, was seeing how Bangladesh is divided by a tectonic plate that goes through the centre of the country which means that my native land could, at some point in the future, be shifted by nature dispelling the concept of land that we conventionally perceive through mapping. Overall, I am more interested in the land inside us, our spirituality and how this connects us to the cosmos and defines who we are and which land we ultimately belong to. SAF: After you have finished your residency at Delfina Foundation and return to Dhaka, what’s next for you? Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or are you planning to work on any new projects? MRC: It’s a big question, currently I’m a little overwhelmed by the spotlight of winning the Samdani Art Award and having many curators and fellow artists wanting to meet me, but it has been a great opportunity to develop my network which I know will be helpful in moving forward with my career. I am very thankful to Samdani Art Foundation and Delfina Foundation for establishing such a valuable platform for young artist in Bangladeshi artists. While I have been here, I’ve had the time and space to open up new critical perspectives on my practice and developed my approach to research and new projects. After developing them further in Dhaka, I am hopeful to show them in exhibitions soon.

  • Art Award 2023 | Samdani Art Foundation

    SAMDANI ART AWARD 2023 SHORTLIST Sumi Anjuman Sumi Anjuman, হাওয়ায় নেওয়া চাঁদ, Winds carry moon, 2021-2022. Interdisciplinary medium. Commissioned and Produced by Samdani Art Foundation for DAS 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Samdani Art Foundation. Photographer: Farhad Rahman b.1989 Sohorab Rabbey Sohorab Rabbey, Almanac of an eroded land, borrowed from our children 2022-2023. Installation b.1994 Rasel Rana Rasel Rana, একজন বাগানির স্বপ্ন , The Gardener’s Dream 2023. Acrylic on canvas. Commissioned and Produced by Samdani Art Foundation for DAS 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Samdani Art Foundation. Photographer: Farhad Rahman b. 1995 Rakibul Anwar Rakibul Anwar, মহানগর, Mohanagar, 2023. Drawings on paper. Commissioned and Produced by Samdani Art Foundation for DAS 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Samdani Art Foundation. Photographer: Farhad Rahman b.1993 Mojahid Musa Mojahid Musa, Assimilated Musing VI, 2022-2023. Sculptural installation using recycled materials, clay, machinery parts, wood, metal, hair, jute, ornaments, found objects from nature, adhesive. Commissioned and Produced by Samdani Art Foundation for DAS 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Samdani Art Foundation. Photographer: Farhad Rahman b. 1990 Habiba Nowrose Habiba Nowrose, Salvation, 2023. Photography. Commissioned and Produced by Samdani Art Foundation for DAS 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Samdani Art Foundation. Photographer: Farhad Rahman b.1989 Faysal Zaman Faysal Zaman, (অ )পূর্ণ, (un)filled, 2021-2023. Installation. Commissioned and Produced by Samdani Art Foundation for DAS 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Samdani Art Foundation. Photographer: Farhad Rahman b. 1996 Dipa Mahbuba Yasmin Dipa Mahbuba Yasmin in association with Md.Solayman, Md. Dulal & Jagannath Das, ঠাউর, Gaze, 2022-2023. Pinting on canvas, paper, wood. Commissioned and Produced by Samdani Art Foundation for DAS 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Samdani Art Foundation. Photographer: Farhad Rahman b.1989 Dinar Sultana Putul Dinar Sultana Putul, A space without a ship, 2023. Mixed media. Commissioned and Produced by Samdani Art Foundation for DAS 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Samdani Art Foundation. Photographer: Farhad Rahman Commissioned and Produced by Samdani Art Foundation for DAS 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Samdani Art Foundation. Photographer: Farhad Rahman b.1989 Ashfika Rahman Ashfika Rahman, Death of A Home, 2023. Installation. Commissioned and Produced by Samdani Art Foundation for DAS 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Samdani Art Foundation. Photographer: Farhad Rahman Commissioned and Produced by Samdani Art Foundation for DAS 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Samdani Art Foundation. Photographer: Farhad Rahman b. 1988 Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. Fazla Rabbi Fatiq, মরীচিকা, Mirage 2022-2023, Photographs. MD Fazla Rabbi Fatiq b. 1995 Cumilla; lives and works in Cumilla WINNER Mirage is a series of photographs that attempts to highlight the corruption that lies behind many construction projects in Bangladesh. Focusing on numerous bridges that started to be built in canals, open fields, and agricultural lands over the past two decades - but that now lie abandoned and unused – Fatiq draws attention to the ongoing impact and the sheer scale of this predicament. In several instances, his works depict bridges that have collapsed, with their approach roads in ruins if they were ever made at all. These monumental, almost surreal forms now dominate landscapes across the country, symbolising for Fatiq the systemic corruption in the construction industry where huge budgets are misused and projects left unfinished. Although this series of photographs is devoid of people, it nonetheless conveys lost hopes of connectivity between places and communities, particularly in rural areas where local populations have no option but to move around by water for much of the year. While his works can be hauntingly beautiful, Fatiq’s approach to his subject matter is shaped by an acute social and political sensibility. In Mirage, he deftly combines aspects of traditional photography with elements of abstraction, symbolism and ambiguity, giving rise to the question of what lies underneath the surface of an image. Samdani Art Award 2023 The Samdani Art Foundation has announced Bangladeshi artists Purnima Aktar and Md Fazla Rabbi Fatiq as joint winners of the biannual Samdani Art Award. It is the first time two finalists have been awarded the prize which aims to support, promote and highlight the country’s emerging contemporary artists. Purnima Aktar and Md Fazla Rabbi Fatiq were selected from a shortlist of 12 artists whose work is part of an exhibition curated by Anne Barlow (Director at Tate St Ives) currently on view at DAS. The members of the international jury included Ibrahim Mahama, artist; Tarun Nagesh, Curator of Asian Art at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) in Brisbane, Australia; Roobina Karode, Chief Curator, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art; and Simon Castets, Former Samdani Art Award Curator and Director of Strategic Initiatives, LUMA Arles. Md Fazla Rabbi Fatiq is the recipient of the residency at the Delfina Foundation and Purnima Aktar is the recipient of the residency in Ghana, hosted by Ibrahim Mahama’s Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art and Red Clay. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar,আঠারো ভাটির দেশ, A Tale of Eighteen Tides, 2022-2023. Installation. Purnima Aktar b. 1997, Narayanganj; lives and works in Dhaka. WINNER The Sundarbans mangrove forest, known as the ‘land of eighteen tides’, is host to a vast range of flora and fauna, including the Bengal tiger. According to local folklore, the Sundarbans is watched over by Bonbibi, a revered female deity. It is said that for hundreds of years, woodcutters, honey collectors and others whose livelihoods depend on the forest, have prayed to Bonbibi to protect them from harm. Despite being a UNESCO World Heritage site, the fragile ecosystem of the Sundarbans is increasingly under threat due to climate change and environmental pollution. A Tale of Eighteen Tides is an allegorical work that explores this loss of biodiversity in the forest alongside the cultures and traditions that are in danger of dying out with it. Comprising eighteen parts, the installation depicts the figure of Bonbibi alongside a Bengal tiger and other wild animals, with those species that are already extinct painted in monochrome. Aktar’s work is inspired by nature and the myths and symbols of the Bengal Delta, as well as by artistic source including Mughal miniatures, Tantric paintings and Bangla folk art. She often combines these in her work to address issues around social and environmental justice. 2023 2020 2018 2016 2014 2012 Award Archive

  • Samdani Art Award | Samdani Art Foundation

    2023 2020 2018 2016 2016 Samdani Art Award The Award aims to support, promote, and highlight Bangladeshi contemporary art, and was created to honour talented emerging Bangladeshi artists between the ages of 22 and 40. In the year between each Dhaka Art Summit, the Samdani Art Foundation, in partnership with the Delfina Foundation —with whom the Samdani Art Award has partnered since 2013—sends an open call for applications. The Delfina Foundation then identifies twenty semi-finalists, and the guest curator selects the shortlist of ten finalists following one-to-one sessions with each of the artists. The winner is selected by an international jury board. The winner of the Samdani Art Award receives an all-expenses-paid, six-week residency at the Delfina Foundation in London. A residency at the Delfina Foundation can be a career-defining moment for an artist to develop their ideas, sharpen their practice, and widen their networks. The Samdani Art Award, Bangladesh's premier art award, has created an internationally recognised platform to showcase the work of young Bangladeshi Artists to an audience of international arts professionals. Samdani Art Award 2023 The Samdani Art Foundation has announced Bangladeshi artists Purnima Aktar and Md Fazla Rabbi Fatiq as joint winners of the biannual Samdani Art Award. It is the first time two finalists have been awarded the prize which aims to support, promote and highlight the country’s emerging contemporary artists. Purnima Aktar and Md Fazla Rabbi Fatiq were selected from a shortlist of 12 artists whose work is part of an exhibition curated by Anne Barlow (Director at Tate St Ives) currently on view at DAS. The members of the international jury included Ibrahim Mahama, artist; Tarun Nagesh, Curator of Asian Art at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) in Brisbane, Australia; Roobina Karode, Chief Curator, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art; and Simon Castets, Former Samdani Art Award Curator and Director of Strategic Initiatives, LUMA Arles. Md Fazla Rabbi Fatiq is the recipient of the residency at the Delfina Foundation and Purnima Aktar is the recipient of the residency in Ghana, hosted by Ibrahim Mahama’s Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art and Red Clay. EXPLORE The 2020 Samdani Art Award was curated by Philippe Pirotte, supported by Goethe Institut. The winner was selected by a jury chaired by Aaron Cezar of Delfina Foundation with Adrián Villar Rojas, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Julie Mehretu, and Sunjung Kim. The 2020 Samdani Art Award was curated by Philippe Pirrote and the winner was Soma Surovi Jannat. This was also the first time a Jury Award was provided to Promiti Hossain. Samdani Art Award 2020 EXPLORE ​ ​ EXPLORE ​ ​ EXPLORE For the 2018 edition of the Samdani Art Award, each of the eleven shortlisted artists exhibited newly commissioned work in an exhibition at the Dhaka Art Summit (DAS) from February 2-10, 2018, guest curated by Simon Castets, Director of the Swiss Institute, New York. During the summit, the jury selected Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury as the recipient of the 2018 award. Announced during the DAS 2018 Opening Celebratory Dinner on the 2 February by Tate Director, Dr. Maria Balshaw, Rahman Chowdhury will receive a six-week residency with the Delfina Foundation in London. In association with the Liverpool Biennial, each of the shortlist artists have also received curatorial mentoring support from the New North and South network. Samdani Art Award 2018 EXPLORE The 2016 edition of the Samdani Art Award exhibition was guest curated by Daniel Baumann, Director of the Kunsthalle Zurich, assisted by Ruxmini Choudhury, Assistant Curator Samdani Art Foundation, and artist Ayesha Sultana. During the Summit, the jury selected Rasel Chowdhury as the recipient of the 2016 award. Announced during the DAS 2016 Opening Dinner on the 5 February by Kiran Nadar, Chairperson of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and Trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation in New Delhi, Chowdhury received a six-week residency with the Delfina Foundation in London which he undertook in the Autumn of 2016. Samdani Art Award 2016 EXPLORE The ten shortlisted artists for the 2014 edition of the Samdani Art Award exhibition were selected by the Delfina Foundation's Director, Aaron Cezar. During the Summit, the jury selected Ayesha Sultana as the recipient of the 2014 award. Announced during the DAS 2014 Opening Dinner on the 5 February, Sultana received a three-month residency with the Delfina Foundation in London which she undertook in the Autumn of 2014. Samdani Art Award 2014 EXPLORE The first edition of the Samdani Art Award had two prize categories: the Samdani Artist Development Award and the Samdani Young Talent Award. From 29 shortlisted artists, the jury selected artists Khaled Hasan and Musrat Reazi as the recipients of the 2012 awards. Samdani Art Award 2012 EXPLORE

  • Bearing Point 5 - Residence Time

    ALL PROJECTS Bearing Point 5 - Residence Time Curated by Diana Campbell Bearing Point 5 - Residence Tim e Standing in the air on scaffolding, laying telecommunications cables while submerged under the sea, or manning call centres while suspended on a foreign time zone– the toiling bodies of the over 20 million migrant South Asian workers around the globe are mostly invisible, and yet instrumental in creating many of the world’s most picturesque cityscapes as well as to the simultaneous socioeconomic development of South Asia through the money they send home. Bangladeshis are moving beyond the countries geopolitically comprising South Asia, further west to the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and further east to Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. These people are often treated as bodies without souls, having no culture of their own beyond their otherness. They are often written out of the narratives of the very nations they help to build, as reflected by the sparse South Asian cultural discourse in Southeast Asia. Works by Subas Tamang, Gan Chin Lee, Liu Xiaodong and Shahidul Alam attempt to humanise this issue through technique of portraiture. South Asian culture is present all over the world via complex relationships of labour, and this Bearing Point serves to reorient our thinking about South Asia away from land-bound definitions - no longer sufficient markers of where a culture lives. Even if you watch a Hollywood 3-D film such as Harry Potter, the film was post-produced via a global assembly line running from Los Angeles through Bombay and beyond, capitalizing on low labour costs and government subsidies to supply the painstaking work going into each frame of a film. These digital networks are beautifully captured in the work of Lucy Raven and Anoka Faruqee, and the diversity and complexity of these interwoven movements can be seen Nabil Rahman, Yasmin Jahan Nupur and Pratchaya Phinthong’s work.Overseas workers often inhabit a suspended condition of statelessness, literally going underground as in Charles Lim’s haunting video or being forced to cross unfamiliar black waters as in Andrew Ananda Voogel’s chronicle of the pain of indentured labour. Bangladesh has its own migrant labour situation now that over half a million Rohingya refugees have entered Bangladesh. Just as there are instances of Bangladeshi workers being trafficked or falsely enticed into exploitative labour contracts in Southeast Asia, there are also cases of Rohingyas being trafficked in Bangladesh as a cheap labour source as chronicled in Kamruzzaman Shahdin’s monumental quilt made from material traces of displacement.We build the world around us through our labour, and it is important to remember that the post-industrial economies in which many of us participate are built on the backs of cheap, often coerced, migrant labour in the Global South. Transnational flows of labour create new cultural economies, which need to respected and celebrated as having as much legitimacy as national narratives. Artists Andrew Ananda Voogel (b. 1983 in Los Angeles, lives and works in Taipei) Kalapani: The Jahaji’s Middle Passage (2014) Video installation Courtesy of the artist Andrew Ananda Voogel chronicles the legacies of longing from exile in his work, much of which explores the history of the Jahaji’s of Guyana. Through a new form of debt-bound slavery termed indenture, about 3.5 million South Asian workers (primarily from Bengal), including Voogel’s great-grandmother, were tricked, forced, or manipulated by the British before being loaded on boats and sent to Britain’s 19 colonies including Fiji, Mauritius, Ceylon, Trinidad, Guyana, Malaysia, Uganda, Kenya and South Africa between 1834 and the end of World War II. As our eyes adjust to the darkness of the room in Kalapani: The Jahaji’s Middle Passage (2014), we enter a state of uncertainty about the ground we stand on, thrust into the trauma of being separated from loved ones on alien lands across the “black waters.” Anoka Faruqee (b. 1972 in Ann Arbor, lives and works in New Haven) 2016P-08 (Wave), 2016 2017P-08 (Wave), 2017 2017P-10, 2017 2017P-27 (Circle), 2018 2017P-05, 2017 2017P-11, 2017 acrylic on linen on panel Courtesy of the artist and Koenig and Clinton. Photographer: Pablo Bartholomew Anoka Faruqee’s hypnotic technicolour paintings create uncanny surfaces reminiscent of digital screens. The glitches and bruises break the illusion, speaking to the imperfect and unpredictable translations from the virtual to the physical, and the role of the human hand in this translation. In the context of Bangladesh, Faruqee’s patterns and motifs also call to mind the histories of the textile industry, where it is said the fear of superior craftsmanship lead British administrators to cut off the thumbs of weavers; today, this once venerated industry feeds a global cycle of cheap fast fashion and accelerated consumption. Faruqee creates delicate topologies in her hand-combed paintings, where the imperfection, or glitch, plays a crucial role in the formation of otherwise smooth-milled surfaces. Charles Lim Yi Yong (b. 1973 in Singapore, lives and works in Singapore) Sea State VI, Phase I, 2015 Single Channel HD digital video, 7 minutes, sound Courtesy of the artist Presented here with additional support from National Arts Council Singapore and technology support of Sharjah Art Foundation Singapore continues to grow, both above and under the sea. The Jurong Rock Caverns are Southeast Asia’s first underground liquid hydrocarbon storage facility. Located at a depth of 130 metres beneath the Banyan Basin on Jurong Island, the Caverns provide infrastructural support to the petrochemical industry that operates on Singapore’s Jurong Island, a cluster of islets reclaimed into one major island and connected to the mainland in the 1980s. Opened in September 2014, Phase 1 of the caverns holds some 1.47 million cubic metres of oil storage tanks. This is about the size of 600 Olympic swimming pools. The volume of undersea rocks excavated from Phase 1 equals 1.8 million cubic metres, enough to fill 1,400 Olympic swimming pools. The SEA STATE, which exists as the frontier of a climatic and ecological complex, takes us to places that were until recently only a thing of oneiric theory. This place is occupied by submerged migrant workers from Bangladesh whose labour here contributes to the residual climactic effects plaguing their country back home. Gan Chin Lee (b. 1977 in Kuala Lumpur, lives and works in Kuala Lumpur) No Place for Diaspora, 2015 Oil on linen Private collection, Kuala Lumpur Post-Colonial Encounter, 2015 Oil on jute Private collection, Kuala Lumpur Photographer: Pablo Bartholomew and Noor Photoface Gan Chin Lee’s paintings grapple with the changing urban landscapes of Malaysia, tracing demographic and cultural shifts that accompany the influx of international labour and capital. He examines the lives of diasporic South Asian communities, tracing their occupation of already-existing urban infrastructures and creating new spaces of cultural hybridity. The patterns evoked in these mesmerizing paintings also call to mind batik fabric techniques which carry histories from South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, and also Africa, speaking to the wealth of existing cultural memory found in these hybrid spaces reactivated by the movement of labour. Labour and conditions of precarity, where the circumstances of citizenship often become murky, become the basis of the invention of new ways of living together. Kamruzzaman Shadhin (b. 1974 in Thakurgaon, lives and works in Dhaka) Haven is Elsewhere, 2017-2018 Used clothing, embroidery, video Commissioned by Samdani Art Foundation for DAS 2018 Produced by the artist and Samdani Art Foundation Courtesy of the artist. Photographer: Noor Photoface Kamruzzaman Shadhin’s work Haven is Elsewhere (2017-2018), the newest iteration of an ongoing community project, embodies the common quest of most migrants and refugees: the search for a “safe haven.” In Kamruzzaman's work, internally migrated people in Thakurgaon in Northwest Bangladesh, create a quilt from the used clothes of displaced people from Southern Bangladesh - the border demarcating South and Southeast Asia. Many of these clothes and narratives of displaced people were collected over a period of a year and a half by the artist from people who were illegally trafficked as forced labourers into Thailand and Malaysia, some of these were abandoned by the newly arrived Rohingya refugees who accepted new clothes given by local people in Bangladesh and NGOs. These are then sewn together by the internal migrant community in Thakurgaon and embellished with the traditional Bengali kantha embroidery techniques through a therapeutic ritual. These monumental quilts form a projection surface for video documentation that attempts to capture the stories of displacement through these once-used clothes. This quest for freedom often continues as the new migrants and refugees become targets for illegal trade and trafficking, continuing a cycle where the safe haven shifts its axis further and further out of reach. Liu Xiaodong (b. 1963 in Jincheng, lives and works in Beijing) Steel 8, 2016 Oil on canvas, diptych Courtesy the artist and Massimo De Carlo, Milan/London/Hong Kong Refugees 7, 2016 Oil on canvas Courtesy the artist and Massimo De Carlo, Milan/London/Hong Kong Refugees 8, 2016 Oil on canvas Courtesy the artist and Massimo De Carlo, Milan/London/Hong Kong Photographer: Pablo Bartholomew Liu Xiaodong’s portraits of refugee and migrant workers from South Asia in Europe intervene in the narrative of what is often termed “the refugee crisis” – of the “non-Western Other” arriving in droves on the shores of “Fortress Europe”. He produces intimate encounters that disrupt the dehumanisation of these men, where often the only self-image allowed to them are stamp-sized photographs on identity documents that no longer hold validity in the countries where they have arrived. Secrecy often surrounds the sites where migrant labourers live and work. Chinese migrant workers are a growing force in Bangladesh with heavy Chinese investment in infrastructure projects. In 2016, Xiaodong created hopeful portraits of Bangladeshi workers at infamous ship-breaking yards in Chittagong, encountering difficulty in the process as his presence as a Chinese artist created a sense of heightened tension in the workplace in an industry fearful of being shut down. Lucy Raven (b. 1977 in Tucson, lives and works in New York City) Curtains, 2014 Anaglyph video installation, 5.1 sound, 50 min looped. Courtesy of the artist Technology supported by Sharjah Art Foundation In Hollywood, the incredibly labor-intensive process of creating visual effects for our 21st-century cinema is called “post-production.” But the industry still relies on 20th-century modes of industrial production: its global assembly lines run from Los Angeles through Bombay, Beijing, London, Vancouver and Toronto, capitalizing on cheap labor and government subsidies to supply the countless hours of painstaking work going into each frame of a film. Viewed with anaglyph 3D glasses, Lucy Raven’s video installation Curtains explores the digital creation of location and space insofar as they relate to contemporary movie-making. The work brings real-world geographies (and real workers) back into the computer-generated virtual spaces today’s moviegoers inhabit. Nabil Rahman (b. 1988 in Sylhet, lives and works in Dhaka) Old Bond Street, 2017 Found cigarette foils from Bangladesh Commissioned by Samdani Art Foundation for DAS 2018 Courtesy of the artist Richmond, 2017 Found cigarette foils from the Philippines Commissioned by Samdani Art Foundation for DAS 2018 Courtesy of the artist and Bellas Artes Projects. Photographer: Noor Photoface During a residency at Bellas Artes Projects in the Philippines in 2017, Nabil Rahman was surprised to learn that several of the artisans with whom he was collaborating spoke a few words of Bengali due to their time as migrant workers in Dubai, during which time they had Bangladeshi friends. The artist has woven together found cigarette foils from both countries into two sculptural forms reminiscent of emergency blankets. Cigarette foils are gleaming golden motifs that indicate the depth of colonial traces in Bangladesh and the Subcontinent, stamped with subtle symbols on their surfaces such as the Benson & Hedges (a British Tobacco company) logo. The patterns proliferate in terms of psychological preference to foreign branded products, even if the tobacco itself is grown locally. Nicotine is consumed during breaks- so whether working for foreign companies abroad or smoking foreign tobacco – there exists a problematic addictive cycle, manipulating human behavior rather than selling an actual product. Pratchaya Phinthong (1974 in Ubon Ratchathani, lives and works in Bangkok) Untitled (Jeans), 2016-2018 Jeans, performers Courtesy of the artist and gb agency Produced by the Bétonsalon, Paris for the exhibition Anywhere But Here (2016) In Untitled (Jeans), Pratchaya Phinthong questions ideas of value, localizing transnational flows of workers and capital by producing a participatory system of exchange. The artist borrowed pairs of jeans from two migrant Cambodian construction workers residing illegally in Thailand. They had purchased these jeans at the Bangkok weekend market, known for selling items stolen or cheaply bought from the stocks of clothing donated by charity organizations in the West to NGOs in Cambodia. Much of the clothing for sale had previously been intercepted by middlemen, who sell them to Western tourists and local workers alike for profit. These jeans purchased in Thailand were sent to Paris to be worn by the staff of the exhibition Anywhere But Here (2016) at the Bétonsalon, Paris, which originally commissioned the work this work was originally commissioned. In return, Phinthong used the production budget of that exhibition to buy bicycles for the workers back in Thailand, as they had requested. These jeans are now worn by DAS staff working as art mediators in Bearing Point 5. Jeans are a powerful symbol of the networks which we are forced to participate in everyday in a global economy, and carry the material history of denim’s association with industrial capitalism, including with Indigo in Bengal. The Levi’s jeans used in this work are themselves knock-offs, alluding to out-sourced assembly-lines, where garment workers in countries such as Thailand, Bangladesh and Mexico, work to produce cheap clothing which feeds the international demand for fast fashion. Bangladesh alone produces one of every seven pairs of Levi’s jeans, so it may be speculated that the jeans were originally produced here. Knock-offs feed a parallel economy of needs, where items such as Levi’s jeans are status symbols, despite being unaffordable to many who want them, particularly those from the very class that produces them. By introducing these knock-off jeans into the space of an exhibition, Phinthong raises the question of the value of copying, particularly in the context of contemporary art, where the idea of originals still holds considerable importance. Through this process-driven artwork, the artist brings to the surface the already-existing entanglement between two unregulated spaces of labour – of the migrant labourer and the cultural worker, both frequently working contract-to-contract jobs, with no fixed working hours – and the precarious conditions within which they operate. The work becomes a system through which both sides are able to imagine possibilities for their own parallel economies of exchange. Shahidul Alam (b. 1955 in Dhaka, lives and works in Dhaka) The night before a migrant is about to depart, his family members pray for his safe return, 1988 A woman bids goodbye to her man, unsure of whether they will meet again, 1996 Workers and relatives wave at each other unaware that they are too small to be visible, 1996 Giclée prints on Hahnemühle Digital Fine Art Paper Courtesy of the artist. Photographer: Noor Photoface Shahidul Alam chronicles the moment before the departure of Bangladeshi migrant workers, in the suspended state of Dhaka’s international airport. Migration is often a collective experience, where entire villages contribute to raising the funds necessary to pay the recruiting agencies, and extended family and friends accompany the to-be migrants to the airport. He unpacks the almost ritualized gestures that accompany this journey, in the moments before dislocation, as men are herded through the theatre of airport security, and these families reconfigure the in-between space of the airport to act as spaces of intimacy, of prayer, of hope. Subas Tamang (b. 1990 in Amardaha, lives and works in Kathmandu) I Want to Die in My Own House, 2017 Carved slate with metal armature Commissioned and produced with support from Samdani Art Foundation for DAS 2018 Courtesy of the artist and Samdani Art Foundation. Photographer: Noor Photoface Subas Tamang’s work I Want To Die In My Own House (2017) uses the traditional form of a slate roof – a motif of vernacular architecture formerly prominent in his native Nepal and elsewhere in South Asia – when immortalizing his parent’s labour and dreams by carving their image into stone. This is an autobiographical commentary on the dreams of thousands of family members in Nepal who move from small villages to bigger towns and cities or even abroad in the search of a better life. When people move, they usually rent a room as part of the struggle for survival. The continuous challenges of securing their daily needs and a decent livelihood for their families while nursing a hope to have a permanent roof above their heads, often traps such families in an unending cycle of struggle. The money that overseas Nepali workers send home keeps the country afloat, and the dreams of one day being homeowners help them to endure adversity. Yasmin Jahan Nupur (b. 1979 in Chittagong, lives and works in Dhaka) The Long Way Home, 2011 Fabric with embroidered maps Courtesy of the artist and Exhibit320. Photographer: Pablo Bartholomew and Noor Photoface Yasmin Jahan Nupur is inspired by multicultural connections forged across linguistic barriers in spaces created by the transnational flow of labour. Nupur spent six months immersed in the community of migrant workers in Mauritius, which was once of the destinations for debt-bound labourers during the British colonial period from 1833-1920 when about 3.5 million South Asians were transported to Africa, the Caribbean, and islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In the miserable housing conditions Nupur encountered, occupied today mostly by Chinese and Bangladeshi migrant workers, the artist found that strong community bonds formed when people from different countries were forced to occupy a single small room , leaving them no choice but to find ways to survive together. In the suspended fabric sculpture The Long Way Home (2011), Nupur sewed and embroidered the routes of connections that forged this vast network of friendships.

  • Srihatta | SamdaniArtFoudnation

    Srihatta Rising from the red tinted alluvial soil of Sylhet , Northeast Bangladesh, Srihatta is the future home of the Samdani Art Foundation, rooted in the plurality found in Bangladesh’s history to conjure a more inclusive future through art, architecture , and culture. A unique combination of sculpture park, exhibition, residency, and education programme , Srihatta imagines what an experimental artist-centric institution can be in the 21st Century, beyond of western-centric paradigms. Founded by Nadia and Rajeeb Samdani and led by Artistic Director Diana Campbell, this art centre and sculpture park will also feature works from their collection and will be free and open to the public in 2025. A lush and green rural tea district approximately 250km (or a 45 minute flight) from the capital city of Dhaka, and Sylhet International Airport has direct flights from London, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. There are nearly 800,000 people living in Sylhet, and Sylhetis form a significant part of the Bangladeshi diaspora in the United Kingdom, United States, and Middle East. Founders Nadia and Rajeeb Samdani are both from Sylhet and Srihatta is part of their long-term dream to share their love of art and this region with artists and the public. ​ The roughly 40-minute drive to Srihatta from the airport is a journey through the agriculture landscapes of Sylhet through villages built around winding rivers and tea plantations built on hilly mounds punctuating an otherwise flat landscape. The many paddy fields make the landscape appear like a massive waterbody during the rainy season. Srihatta’s landscaping will be inspired by the wild natural wonders of the lands around the site which include gnarled mangrove swamp forests, turquoise rivers, and multicoloured sand hills and the art gallery will appear to float within a lush grassy paddy field. ​ Reflecting the energy and vibrancy of the Bangladeshi people, Srihatta will be a live, active, changing and dynamic space with an emphasis on process, which differs from traditional ideas of sculpture parks and artists will be at the centre of this project via Srihatta’s international residency programme. Srihatta spans across more than one hundred acres of landscape with views of India’s Assam Hills in the distance. ABOUT SYLHET EXPLORE SECTORS Our Focus Areas Sectors Aga Khan Award winning Bangladeshi architect Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury (URBANA) has envisioned the initial phase of Srihatta as an open plan design that references the vernacular brick architecture of Bangladesh, a practice dating back to 3rd Century BC. The architecture looks to the modernist legacy left by visionary architects such as Muzharul Islam and Louis Kahn, who built some of their best work in Bangladesh, including the Dhaka University Library (1953-1954) and Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban (Parliament House, 1961-1982). Aligned with the ideology of the Samdani Art Foundation, Chowdhury’s architecture is born from the land of Sylhet: the brick-dyed concrete found in Srihatta’s built environment is derived from the colour of the soil on site. Architecture 01 A 10,000-square-foot residency space houses eleven brick-dyed, cast-concrete apartments, with windows facing Srihatta’s landscape. Created as a meditative space to inspire creativity and mesmerize the senses, these apartments have 11-foot ceilings – each with a different species of local scented tree to grow inside. The apartments, dining, recreation, and reading spaces are visually linked by plazas and walkways made of local green-tinged grey Kota stone. Blending the residency space with the surrounding landscape and sculpture park, the complex will exhibit works from the Foundation’s collection on a rotating basis. The first phase of the residency will begin with the Samdani Art Award short-listed artists from 2020 and 2023 as our first invited artists in residence. ​ In addition to residencies with local and international artists, Srihatta will also host writing and curatorial residencies as part of a wider initiative of training a new generation of arts professionals in Bangladesh. The Residency program will be organized by SAF, with additional collaborations with international foundations and cultural councils, and independent from the Samdani’s collecting activities. Residency Spaces 02 Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury has also designed the first of several future gallery spaces at Srihatta. An undulating brick façade welcomes visitors into a 5,000 square-foot gallery with 14-foot ceilings anchored by an immersive installation of video, sound, and expanded cinema works from the Samdani collection by Cardiff and Miller, Olafur Eliasson, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Anthony McCall, and Lucy Raven which challenge boundaries between mediums. These expanded cinema works are also imagined as a teaching tool for artists in Bangladesh, where video/new media is not part of the art school curriculum. Future galleries will be built to allow for rotating temporary exhibitions produced by the Samdani Art Foundation. Galleries 03 Envisioned as a dynamic art centre, Srihatta embraces inclusivity with a welcoming design, an accessible public programme, and outdoor public works which engage the local community in their conception and production. More than just a private art museum, Srihatta aspires to cultivate a new community of art lovers in Bangladesh and the surrounding region. As with all Samdani Art Foundation activities, entry to Srihatta will be free, in an attempt to make art widely accessible to diverse audiences. Srihatta’s programming complements – but remains autonomous from the Dhaka Art Summit ( www.dhakaartsummit.org ). Led by Samdani Art Foundation’s Founding Artistic Director Diana Campbell, Srihatta encourages engagement with Bangladesh’s rural context. The organization will invest its roots locally – and broaden them internationally – by inviting artists, curators, architects, and writers from around the world to participate in its exhibitions, residencies, interventions in the landscape, and to engage in creative workshops with the local community. Srihatta is inspired by the ethos of Rabindranath Tagore, who created Shantiniketan in a village in West Bengal in 1901 – where the whole world could meet in a single nest. ​ Artistic Programme URBANA’s plan for the landscape design embraces the natural phenomena that surround the site: winding rivers, a swamp forest, golden hills made of sand, and flaming natural-gas-fields with views of India’s Assam Hills and Sylhet’s tea gardens in the distance. Site-sensitive commissions by artists from Bangladesh and around the world will further transform the landscape. The first phase of architectural elements of Srihatta takes up less than a half-acre of the 100-acre property, with the majority of the grounds comprising a sculpture park. We don’t imagine a sculpture park as a space hosting static sculptures to be maintained in a landscape. Our expanded vision of a sculpture park invites artistic experiments with the weather as well as the human and non-human forms of life that inhabit our site and collaborate with the vision of artists. Over the past 9 years, Srihatta has been welcoming artists to develop long-term projects for the site, asking that each engage with the site and surrounding community. Once open, Srihatta will include a mix of permanent works, temporary works, and works on long-term loan, in an attempt to make Srihatta a living, evolving entity that changes regularly and welcomes repeat visits. All of the works in the sculpture park will be produced in Bangladesh, as part of the Foundation’s desire to engage the local community with craftsmanship and production, fostering collaboration as a tool for greater understanding. Sculpture Park While Srihatta officially opens in 2025, the first work for the Park, ‘Rokeya’, was completed in February 2017 after two years of development – and speaks to the socially engaged practices that the institution plans to regularly host. As part of the annual Samdani Seminars programme, Polish artist Paweł Althamer – along with members of his community (neighbours) from Bródno, Poland – engaged patients of Protisruti (the Promise) drug rehabilitation centre in Sylhet and the local community in an eight-day-long creative and collaborative Sculptural Congress workshop. This first project at Srihatta was realized in partnership with Bródno Sculpture Park, which Pawel Althamer inaugurated in 2009 with the Museum of Modern Art Warsaw. Bridging understanding across social and cultural divides, they created the communal work of art, ‘Rokeya’, which the village children named after the nineteenth century pioneer of female education in Bangladesh, Begum Rokeya. The resulting sculpture was a reclining woman constructed of locally woven palm fronds over a bamboo frame. She wears a colourful fabric costume stitched from local textiles by nearby village women, who also helped to drape the fabric. ‘Rokeya’ also contains a kiln inside, for village children to use in ceramic workshops. Srihatta continued its collaboration with Bródno Sculpture Park into 2019 with Polish artist Monika Sosnowska who created a monumental concrete river that becomes a walking path through the landscape. Here tributaries meander through and disappear into unexpected places, allowing for contemplation of one’s surroundings. The piece ties back to the natural terrain of Bangladesh, which has over 700 rivers (and is officially the country with the most rivers within its borders). Indian artist Asim Waqif is working on a monumental living sculpture titled ‘Bamsera Bamsi’ (meaning Bamboo flute in Bangla). The sculpture is envisioned as a living bamboo forest, consisting of several bamboo species researched and planted as part of a long-term collaboration with the Bangladesh Forest Research Institute, Chittagong. As it grows, Waqif is sculpting the forest into a sculptural wind instrument reminiscent of a flute, which will emit sound when the wind blows through it. ‘Bamsera Bamsi’ will take nearly twenty years to complete. The initial size of the work is 140 x 100 ft and will expand as the project develops. The interwoven Animist, Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi mystic, and Islamic histories that inform Sylhet’s plurality and distinct language remain powerfully visible in Bengali folk culture. Srihatta’s name is an homage to the multiple layers of history that have shaped this rich landscape; it is the ancient Indo-Aryan term for Sylhet. In this area once there was abundance of rocks know as shila. The hat (bazaar) sat on top of these rocks. The name of Sylhet was derived from the words ‘Shila’ and ‘Hat’ as Shila-Hat - to form Shilhatta. The last Hindu King Raja Gour Govinda kept large stones for protection at the entrance of his capital Shilhatta, whose name was transformed over time into Srihatta – with sri meaning, beauty, charm and wealth. The early 14th century brought the beginnings of Islamic culture and rule to Sylhet via the Middle Eastern Sufi mystic Hazrat Shahjalal and his 313 companions. On his arrival to the capital, Hazrat Shahjalal commanded the rocks to move away by uttering the term ‘Shill Hot’ (move away, stones), and local legend has it that the rocks moved to usher in a new era and the name Silhet came into existence. During the British colonial rule over the region, the word Sylhet was introduced to make ‘Silhet’ sound distinct from ‘Silchar’ (a town in Assam). Sylhet was a strategic location for the British during the colonial era because of its proximity to Burma and China. ​ABOUT THE NAME SRIHATTA

  • Visas to Happiness- Children's Workshop

    ALL PROJECTS Visas to Happiness- Children's Workshop ​ The children’s workshop 'Visas to Happiness' conceptualised by Mumbai-based artist Reena Saini-Kallat is primarily an instrument to spark dialogue and raise questions related to the notion of happiness and how we view the world. There is increasing political interest in using measures of happiness as a national indicator in conjunction with measures of wealth, and findings suggest that smaller countries tend to be a little happier because there is a stronger sense of collectivism. However, Bangladesh has recently slipped behind in its rankings on happiness. This workshop is the third in the series of short courses that were previously held in Chennai and Mumbai and involve specially produced mock-passports and arrival cards. The passports can be filled-in by children who bring their own understanding to the project from their personal and cultural values. As part of the project, Kallat, along with the children, will paint two ambitious murals with a large number of birds collectively forming a text in both English and Bengali, reflecting ideas about movement, flight and freedom. The text reads, “Happiness is not a station you arrive at but a manner of travelling.” Image: Reena Kallat, Visas To Happiness, Children’s Programme, 2014. Courtesy of the artist, the Dhaka Art Summit and the Samdani Art Foundation.

  • Art Pro

    ALL PROJECTS Art Pro Samdani Artist-Led Initiatives Forum 2020 Artpro’s projects mobilise artists to work with less visible segments of society, often working to bridge expressions of urban and rural culture. Nakshi Katha: Interwoven Dialogues (2019–2020) exemplifies their collaborative process. This research-based project involved 4 Dhaka based artists and 24 Jamalpur based Nakshi Kantha embroiderers through storytelling workshops. In the Nakshi Kantha tradition, communities (primarily of women) share stories and pass time together embroidering closely linked linear stitches on found fabrics. Bangladesh once had 6 seasons which are depicted in its songs and folk culture, but climate change has reduced this number to 4 or 5 (depending on who you ask). Artpro engaged with the community in Jamalpur to share memories about these seasons, collaborating with the artisans to then stitch these on a saree that was divided into 6 individual panels. The depictions of Boishahk (Summer), the Rainy Season, Autumn, Winter, and Spring are joined by the ‘missing season’ of ‘Late Autumn’ created by the artisans during the first 2 days of DAS. Visitors share memories tied to this lost period of the year and these are memorialized in textile form through the expressions of the artisans.

  • Planetary Planning

    ALL PROJECTS Planetary Planning Curated by Devika Singh In 1969 visionary architect and designer Buckminster Fuller delivered the Nehru memorial lecture, entitled ‘Planetary Planning’, in which he claimed that South Asia could be conceived as a form of axis-mundi and a cradle for all humanity. Using Fuller’s lecture as a point of departure, this exhibition explored notions of world-making that have been articulated in and from South Asia by three generations of international artists since the 1940s. Planetary thinking, pensée-monde, and worldliness are some of the concepts that have been put forward to describe globalisation as a historical process and the worldview that accompanies it. Sometimes folded into more specific geographical units (Asia, South Asia, and the Indian Ocean), trade, empire, and economic exchanges, as well as scientific innovations, have been some of its crucial vectors. Against this complex and historically unequal canvas of exchanges, but also of imaginary ‘immobile movement’ to use Edouard Glissant’s term, artists have projected alternative, at times utopian thinking, and located themselves within it. By including the works of artists whose trajectory has been marked by travel and migration, this exhibition explored how artistic itinerancy has challenged fixed identities and their inherent hierarchies. Reflecting on trade connections and aesthetic networks, the lines of transfer drawn in this exhibition examined the historical junctures and disjunctures of South Asia. They also looked back at cross-regional exchanges, for example between Bangladesh and Japan, the United States and India, from the 1940s until now. The point is one of convergence. The works that result reflect on the interconnection of geographical spaces. Some of the artists in this exhibition have sustained close relationships, while others were juxtaposed for the first time. Yet they all belong to different stages of an aesthetic exploration on line and architecture. Many exhibited artists conceive of architecture both as a bearer of place and as a language holding the possibility of worldly affiliations. Through the descriptive potential of drawing, photography and film, they probe how architectural imagination can be the repository of cultural memory and planetary planning from South Asia- ARTISTS Amie Siegel Ayesha Sultana Buckminster Fuller Desmond Lazaro Hera Büyüktaşçıyan Isamu Noguchi Lala Rukh Mohammad Kibria Muzharul Islam Novera Ahmed Seher Shah Zarina Hashmi

  • Architecture Award | Samdani Art Foundation

    Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী) Maksudul Karim FIRST PRIZE From 135 registrations, Maksudul Karim’s design, Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী), which translates as Shadow Boat, was selected. A Level 3, B.Sc Architecture student at Premier University, Chittagong, Karim’s design utilised traditional Shampan boat building techniques—synonymous with Bangladesh’s fishing communities—bringing traditional rural Bangladeshi construction techniques into the urban environment. Using bamboo as its primary construction material, Chhaya Tori floated above ground level on bamboo supports, covered with a shade (known locally as choi) erected using traditional bamboo inter-weaving techniques, allowing natural light to fall into the internal teaching space. Bangladesh has one of the largest inland waterway networks in the world with nearly 5,000 miles of navigable waters, making boats a vital mode of transportation to the nation. Despite this, the use of traditional boat building methods is in decline in favour of mechanised mass-produced models. “Maksudul Karim's design embraced themes from the origins of the tectonics as the interlacing of materials and fibres proposing a habitable structure. Exploring local materials and techniques he offers experiences based in the generation and superposition of shadows with different sieves that present an organic changing atmosphere.” - Jeannette Plaut, Co-Founder and Director Constructo Karim was awarded the inaugural Samdani Architecture Award during the Dhaka Art Summit's Opening Celebratory Dinner and received funding towards further studies. DHAKA ART SUMMIT 2018 EDUCATION PAVILION ​ On 2 February 2018, Karim’s winning design was unveiled at the heart of the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy as the Dhaka Art Summit 2018’s Education Pavilion. Curated by Diana Campbell, the Education Pavilion transformed DAS into a free art school, re-imagining the traditional toolboxes used when considering art-making and artistic practices. This free and alternative art school’s curriculum was led by leading artistic practitioners and educators from institutions including: Goldsmiths University (UK); Yale School of Art (USA); Cornell University (USA); Kalabhavan Santiniketan (India); Harvard, South Asia Institute (USA); Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (Switzerland); Open School East (UK); Council (France); and the FHNW Academy of Art and Design (Basel, Switzerland); among others. Programmed across DAS’s nine-day duration, the Education Pavilion hosted a bilingual, collaborative curriculum, developing a timely and productive discussion about art education in South Asia. Samdani Architecture Award In early 2017, the inaugural Samdani Architecture Award invited, through open call, individuals or groups of 3rd and 4th year Bangladeshi Architecture students to propose new models for learning in abandoned urban spaces across Bangladesh, using ecologically sustainable, and locally sourced materials and technology. Participants were required to design an imaginative and innovative open pavilion, both visually stimulating and architecturally flexible for different functions, including lectures, events and workshops. The winning proposal was selected by an international jury: Aurélien Lemonier (National Museum of the History of Immigration, Paris, France); Jeannette Plaut (Constructo, Santiago de Chile); and Shamshul Wares (Department of Architecture, State University of Bangladesh). “I sense a Threshold: Light to Silence, Silence to Light – an ambiance of inspiration, in which the desire to be, to express, crosses with the possible … Light to Silence, Silence to Light crosses in the sanctuary of art.” - Louis Kahn Just under 20 percent of Bangladesh’s land mass is covered with forest, the largest of which are in the Chittagong Hills, covering around 4,600 square kilometres, and the tidal mangrove forests in the Sundarbans, covering around 6,000 square kilometres. Mimicking the layering of foliage in Bangladesh’s lush forests, the pavilion’s two outer mesh layers create a visual barrier to the outside world. A space for public gatherings, lectures and sharing, inside the pavilion, rays of light push through the outer mesh, creating patterns and shapes that will change with the seasons and time of day. Fouzia Masud Mouri (b. 1996) Ahmad Abdul Wasi (b. 1995) Both level 3, B.s.c Architecture students at the Bangaldesh University of Engineering and Technology To Sense The Unseen, Designed by Team Gaia SECOND PRIZE Dhaka, the capital and largest city in Bangladesh, is a city of diversity. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, crammed with educational institutes, government and private offices, markets, industrial units and residences, it is filled with people from all walks of life and backgrounds. A microcosm of the whole country, The Dot Pavilion encapsulates Dhaka’s diversity, creating a space for the city’s people to meet. An omnidirectional circle, representing the city’s diversity, the pavilion’s main vernacular structure uses bamboo and wood. Maintaining an environmental friendly structure, bamboo will keep the inner environment 3° degrees cooler than outside, while the structures longitudinal cross-section hollows absorb co2. An outer layer of lipids, will protect the bamboo structure from rotting. Rahat Ibna Hasan (b. 1996) Nirupam Bakshi (b. 1996) Md. Khalid Hossain (b. 1996) All Level 3, B.s.c Architecture students at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology The Dot Pavilion, Designed by Team Delta THIRD PRIZE

  • Art Award 2012 | Samdani Art Foundation

    Khaled Hasan born 1981 WINNER Khaled Hasan (born 1981) began working as a photographer in 2001. At a young age he realised that photography is not just a camera play but a play of life with light and darkness. He chose to take this path and experience, culture and life at its fullest. Photography then became part of his identity—a force that makes him think, feel and understand human beings, life and more. Since then, Khaled has been working as a freelance photojournalist for several magazines in Bangladesh and internationally. His works were published in the New York Times, Sunday Times Magazine, American Photo, National Geographic Society, Better Photography, Saudi Aramco World Magazine, The Guardian, Telegraph, The Independent, The New Internationalist, Himal Southern, and many more. As an indigenous photographer, he tells narratives of the land that shaped him. Documenting stories about people and their interaction with nature, healing and surviving from times of distress, fighting for rights and toiling for food, and standing against injustice are the primary issues he features in his works. For Khaled, a story never ends; it just continues to develop, fades or becomes part of history but may still be documented through photography. This is why he believes that it is highly important to crystallise changes in life, especially the ones that would transcend times. For Khaled, being a photojournalist is not just being a very good photographer but being a socially responsible person too. He constantly finds fulfilment whenever his works benefit his community and the greater good. His involvement with the National Geographic Society, Inter-Press Service and other non-for-profit organisations in documenting cultural concerns show this passion. Samdani Art Award 2012 INTERVIEW SELECTION COMMITTEE Kyla McDonald (Assistant Curator, Tate) Deepak Ananth (Professor at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, France) Elaine W Ng (Editor and Publisher, Art Asia Pacific) Bose Krishnamachari (Founder of the Kochi Biennale) Ravinder Reddy (Artist) Shahabuddin Ahmed (Artist) The first edition of the Samdani Art Award had two prize categories: the Samdani Artist Development Award and the Samdani Young Talent Award. From 29 shortlisted artists, the jury selected artists Khaled Hasan and Musrat Reazi as the recipients of the 2012 awards. ​ Hasan continues to practice and is now based in the United States. Reazi has recently stopped practicing to pursue other interests. 2023 2020 2018 2016 2014 2012 Award Archive Musrat Reazi born 1981 WINNER Khaled Hasan (born 1981) began working as a photographer in 2001. At a young age he realised that photography is not just a camera play but a play of life with light and darkness. He chose to take this path and experience, culture and life at its fullest. Photography then became part of his identity—a force that makes him think, feel and understand human beings, life and more. Since then, Khaled has been working as a freelance photojournalist for several magazines in Bangladesh and internationally. His works were published in the New York Times, Sunday Times Magazine, American Photo, National Geographic Society, Better Photography, Saudi Aramco World Magazine, The Guardian, Telegraph, The Independent, The New Internationalist, Himal Southern, and many more. As an indigenous photographer, he tells narratives of the land that shaped him. Documenting stories about people and their interaction with nature, healing and surviving from times of distress, fighting for rights and toiling for food, and standing against injustice are the primary issues he features in his works. For Khaled, a story never ends; it just continues to develop, fades or becomes part of history but may still be documented through photography. This is why he believes that it is highly important to crystallise changes in life, especially the ones that would transcend times. For Khaled, being a photojournalist is not just being a very good photographer but being a socially responsible person too. He constantly finds fulfilment whenever his works benefit his community and the greater good. His involvement with the National Geographic Society, Inter-Press Service and other non-for-profit organisations in documenting cultural concerns show this passion.

  • Metropolitan Museum of Art Donation

    ALL PROJECTS Metropolitan Museum of Art Donation The Met, New York, 2019 An untitled tapestry by Rashid Choudhury (1932–1986), recently gifted to The Met by Nadia and Rajeeb Samdani, is the first work of art made by a visual artist in independent Bangladesh to join the Museum's collection. While The Met does hold pre-modern works that are attributed to the region of Eastern Bengal, Untitled (1981) is a significant and major addition to the Museum's collection of modern and contemporary art because it broadens the department's remit of collecting and preserving important modern works from South Asia. Untitled, now on view in gallery 399, presents an abstract and multifaceted twist of earth tones, with hints of orange and sections of light blue. I find that there is an arresting dynamism to the central component of the tapestry: it appears as a symphony of elongated and fragmented vertical shapes, which intertwine with each other in a way that is remarkably evocative of a body—or perhaps numerous bodies—in motion. This important work is a telling example of Choudhury's visual language, which is distinctly modernist and aesthetically innovative, but is also situated within a particular historical and cultural context. Choudhury dedicated himself to the modern art movement in his country through his work as a teacher and community facilitator. In his own work he sought expression through a medium that was very demanding in practical terms and that was less-highly regarded as fine art when compared to painting and sculpture at the time. Nevertheless, he developed his own visual idiom, which drew from the rich, historic traditions of South Asian iconography as well as his studies in Europe. As is evident in his three tapestries at The Met, Choudhury distilled these varied pre-modern and modern forms to create works with a phenomenological impact—one that feels not only effortless, but also transportive. The whole text written by DAS 2016 curator Shanay Jhaveri can be found here. This is the second donation from the Foundation's collection, distributing the knowledge of Bangladeshi art history through the research conducted during the Dhaka Art Summit. Image: Installation view of three tapestries by Rashid Choudhury. At center is a recent addition to The Met collection, and at left and right are two loans from The Samdani Art Foundation. Image credit: MET

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