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Dhaka Art Summit Details 2020 Edition, with Focus on ‘Seismic Movements’

Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy before and during Dhaka Art Summit 2016.

COURTESY SAMDANI ART FOUNDATION

The fifth edition of the Samdani Art Foundation’s Dhaka Art Summit, a biennial event focused on South Asian art and architecture, will be themed around the notion of “Seismic Movements,” in reference to artistic upheaval in the region over years. Set to take place next year from February 7 to 15 at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, the event will be free and open to the public. A full list of participating artists will be released in September.

Diana Campbell Betancourt, the artistic director of the Samdani Art Foundation, will act as chief curator of the summit’s 2020 edition. She will work with curators, artists, and academics to organize the presentation, which “connects widely across the Global South based on shared struggles rather than current geopolitical definitions,” according to a release.

Campbell Betancourt said in a statement, “Inspired by the 1414 gift of a giraffe by the Sultan of Bengal to Emperor Yongale of China, I hope this summit will widen its view to look at historical layers of connectivity across Asia, Africa, and the Indian Ocean, becoming a platform where former colonial subjects can come together without a western intermediary to imagine new features from Dhaka inspired by similar utopian movements of the past.”

The title of the upcoming Dhaka Art Summit is drawn from art historian Zahia Rahmani’s “The Seismography of Struggles,” an inventory of non-European critical and cultural journals produced between the end of the 18th century and 1989. Rahmani’s project will make its debut in Asia as part of the 2020 Dhaka Art Summit, which will gather more than 30 collectives from Asia, Australia, Africa, Central and South America, and Oceania. The event will also include a film program curated by the collective Otolith Group titled “To welcome the end of the world as we know it,” as well as a historical exhibition—curated by Bangladeshi writer Mustafa Zaman—about art produced under martial law in Bangladesh during the 1980s.

Also set to appear at the event is a presentation showcasing contemporary artists’ interpretations of the Bangladeshi architect Muzharul Islam’s designs. Campbell Betancourt will organize that show, along with Sean Anderson, an assistant curator in the department of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Nurur Khan, the director of the Muzharul Islam Archive.

Additionally, an exhibition of new commissions from the 12 artists shortlisted for the Samdani Art Award, which comes with a funded residency at the Delfina Foundation in London, will be curated by Philippe Pirotte, rector in the art history and culture education department at the Städelschule in Frankfurt. The winner of the prize will be selected by an international jury that will be chaired by Aaron Cezar, the director of the Delfina Foundation, and include artist Adrián Villar Rojas; Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, director of the Castello di Rivoli in Turin; artist Julie Mehretu; and Sunjung Kim, president of the Gwangju Biennale Foundation.

The full list of artists shortlisted for the Samdani Art Award follows below.

Ariful Kabir
Ashfika Rahman
Faiham Ebna Sharif
Habiba Nowrose
Najmun Nahar Keya
Palash Bhattacharjee
Promoti Hossain
Soma Surovi Jannat
Sounak Das
Sumana Akter
Tahia Farhin Haque
Zihan Karim

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