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Climb to the summit

Previously a homegrown affair,Dhaka Art Summit spreads its wings for its second edition to other Southeast Asian countries,including India

Every year since 1981,Dhaka would host the nondescript Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh,and every year,the international exhibition,which involves the participation of over 30 Asian countries,ruffled no feathers. Thus,when Dhaka Art Summit (DAS) took place last year,it was seen as a potential Bangladeshi equivalent to India Art Fair. Organised and funded by Samdani Art Foundation in collaboration with Bangladesh National Museum and Dhaka-based Shilpakala Academy in 2012,DAS involved 249 local artists,including contemporary art torchbearers Mahbubur Rahman

and Tayeba Begum Lipi.

Taking off from its modest beginnings,the second edition of the summit that will commence on February 7 will comprise artists from other Southeast Asian countries such as India,Myanmar,Pakistan,Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. “Most art fairs focus on buying and selling of works,but this has been visualised as a summit,where we want to show the best from the region,” says Nadia Samdani,Founder-Director,DAS.

So the summit will showcase mostly commissioned works by more than 250 international and local artists and over 30 galleries. With the calendar packed with events,ranging from seminars,performances and presentations to film screenings,DAS also boasts 12 solo projects curated by Diana Campbell Betancourt,director of the Hyderabad-based Creative India Foundation. This will feature Jitish Kallat,Shilpa Gupta and Mithu Sen among other Indian artists.

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Also representing India will be Delhi-based Raqs Media Collective,which will create a public art project using road signs and billboards from the city,“transforming these surfaces into an artwork that explores ideas of time and space with their unique use of language,including Bengali”. “The project will begin a month before the summit. Billboards across the city will lead one to the summit,where the final artwork will be on display,” says Samdani.

The Shilpakala Academy,meanwhile,will host six curated exhibitions of contemporary art from different countries. The Indian contemporary exhibition will be spearheaded by Veerangana Solanki. “It will comprise works of 16 emerging and semi-established artists (Reena Kallat,Prajakta Potnis and Manjunath Kamath to name a few) and their works will reflect the theme of the show,“Citizens of Time”. Time has a special relationship with contemporary art. Also,the artists represent the second generation of contemporary Indian art and they’re important in the globally recognised Indian art scene,” says Solanki.

While more details about the summit will be announced later this year,Samdani notes that the summit itself is a work in progress.

First published on: 18-07-2013 at 04:09:30 am
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