Top200-2015-Samdani

COURTESY 2014 DHAKA ART SUMMIT

The Samdanis, young Bangladeshi investors, are not only prodigious collectors of art of their region—their vast collection includes modern and contemporary Bangladeshi artists as well as artists from India and Pakistan—they are also avid supporters of it. Rajeeb is co-chair and a founding member of Tate’s South Asian Acquisition Committee, but the Samdanis have become best known for their biennial, Dhaka Art Summit, which brings together curators, artists, and other arts professionals from around the globe. The third edition of the summit, in February 2016, attracted 138,000 visitors, putting it on par, attendance-wise, with a major international art fair. It’s an event that supports art from the region—as Rajeeb points out, “Bangladesh doesn’t have a dedicated contemporary art museum”—and also plays host to new works and commissions from international artists, like Lynda Benglis and Simryn Gill. Their Samdani Art Foundation, in partnership with the Delfina Foundation, gives out the biannual Samdani Art Award to a young Bangladeshi artist. At the Venice Biennale in 2015, the Samdanis’ foundation supported the work of Naeem Mohaiemen and Raqs Media Collective, both included in the curated exhibition “All The World’s Futures.” In 2014 they were nominated for the Forbes India Art Award in the Young Collector of the Year category in recognition of their collection of Indian artists such as Anish Kapoor, Bharti Kher, Jitish Kallat, Ravinder Reddy, Chitra Ganesh, and Subodh Gupta.

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Nadia and Rajeeb Samdani

Location:
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Source of wealth:
Conglomerate interests (Golden Harvest Group and Gulf International Finance Limited); philanthropy (Samdani Art Foundation and Dhaka Art Summit)

Collecting area:
Antique silver; Design; Modern and contemporary South Asian and international art

Top 200 appearance:
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Fun fact:

The first work Nadia Samdani collected was a watercolor by the Bohemian Bangladeshi modernist, SM Sultan, the only Bangladeshi artist to exhibit alongside Picasso, Dalí, and Braque at the Victoria Embankment Gardens, Hampstead, London, in 1950.