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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The East Side Story

The Venice Biennale is arguably one of the most prestigious contemporary art extravaganzas in the world. So when last year,Bangladesh made its debut,alongside India,with an official pavilion at the venue,there was a sudden spotlight on art from the country.

Written by Vandana Kalra | April 12, 2012 12:00:22 am

The Venice Biennale is arguably one of the most prestigious contemporary art extravaganzas in the world. So when last year,Bangladesh made its debut,alongside India,with an official pavilion at the venue,there was a sudden spotlight on art from the country. Less than a year later,Bangladesh is hosting its first art festival — the Dhaka Art Summit. “The biennale helped in bringing attention to art from Bangladesh. With the summit,we hope to provide a domestic platform to our artists,” says Nadia Samdani,Trustee & CEO of the Dhaka-based Samdani Art Foundation,which is organising the summit in collaboration with Bangladesh National Museum and Shilpakala Academy.

Starting today,the four-day event will see artwork by over 249 artists on display,and participation of 19 galleries from across Bangladesh. The work of Indian artists will be absent,but India will have a sizeable representation at the event. Art collector Lekha Poddar is flying to Dhaka,so are artists Bose Krishnamachari and Ravinder Reddy,and Maithili Parekh,director,Business Development India at Sotheby’s. “I have been interacting with the Samdanis for a couple of years and I think it’s great that things are happening in the subcontinent. We should encourage such events,” says Neha Kirpal,founder of India Art fair.

“We want to focus on local art in the first year. Bangladesh artists are not represented by galleries,so an avenue like this can help them reach out to a larger audience,” adds Nadia. In January,she was in Delhi at the India Art Fair with husband Rajeeb Samdani. Between buying art — including works of Saravanan Parasuraman and Rashid Rana — the couple,in their thirties,also gathered opinion on holding the Dhaka Art Summit. “Everyone was very excited at the proposition,” recalls Nadia.

The preparations were made over a span of four months. On the lines of the India Art Fair,the Dhaka summit will also see a video lounge,speakers forum and public art installations. On display will be the works of some of Bangladesh’s most acclaimed artists,including Mahbubur Rahman and Tayeba Begum Lipi,who were part of the Venice Biennale,besides Berlin-based Bangladeshi artist Wakilur Rahman and photographer Dr Shahidul Alam,the founder of Chobi Mela — a biennale of international photography that is held in Dhaka. “Mahbubur will present a performance art piece in an aquarium,which will be interesting to watch,” shares Nadia.

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