What to expect: 2018 Dhaka Art Summit

Details announced for the fourth edition of the international art summit, to take place 2–10 February 2018

Sandeep Mukherjee, The Sky Remains, 2015–16. Courtesy the artist, Dhaka Art Summit, Samdani Art Foundation and Project 88, Mumbai

The Samdani Art Foundation has announced early details of the next Dhaka Art Summit, to take place at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in collaboration with the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, People’s Republic of Bangladesh. After welcoming 138,000 local and 800 international visitors over four days in 2016, this free, non-commercial exhibition and research platform is extending its duration to nine days. This will be the third Summit led by Samdani Art Foundation Artistic Director, Diana Campbell Betancourt, who again serves as the Chief Curator of DAS 2018.

Over the last four years, DAS has drawn together art and arts professionals from across South Asia and the wider world to open up new inquiries into Modern and Contemporary art in the region. Joining Betancourt, the Guest Curators for DAS 2018 are Simon Castets (Director, Swiss Institute, New York), Cosmin Costinas (Director, Para/Site, Hong Kong), Milovan Farronato (Director, Fiorucci Art Trust), Vali Mahlouji (Founder, Archaeology of the Final Decade), Mohammed Muniruzzaman (Director, National Art Gallery, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy), Shabbir Hussain Mustafa (Senior Curator, National Gallery of Singapore), and Devika Singh (Centre of South Asian Studies at the University of Cambridge) assisted by Samdani Art Foundation Assistant Curators Ruxmini Reckvana Q Choudhury, Nivriti Roddam, and Abhijan Gupta. In continued collaboration with the Dhaka Art Summit, the Bangladesh National Museum will present a special exhibition and seminar around the pioneering Bangladeshi modern sculptor Novera Ahmed.

A new focus will be on a section of Bengali language programming for the Talks Programme and the Critical Writing Ensemble will complement the existing English language structures celebrated in past editions. Dr. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is the first confirmed speaker for the 2018 programme.

DAS 2018 will present for the first time large-scale thematic presentations titled Bearing Points, which will draw visitors towards lesser explored transcultural histories of the region. Curated by Diana Campbell Betancourt with a group of invited contributing curators and international institutional co-commissioners, each Bearing Point will have a navigator - a writer who will explore these points with the curator and create new texts and further open up these channels of thought in the public programme. Further information will be released in May 2017.

Between now and the opening of DAS 2018, there will be at least nine large-scale recurring international exhibitions in South Asia. Many are unaware that the oldest surviving biennial in Asia is in Bangladesh – the Asian Art Biennale founded in 1981 – is entering its seventeenth edition. DAS 2018 will feature an exhibition about the history of the Asian Art Biennale drawing from the collection of the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and the archive of the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, dwelling on Dhaka as a longstanding place of innovation within the arts.

In keeping with its status as a research platform rather than a biennial, DAS will formally launch research fellows programme, assisting leading professionals with an interest in South Asia by inviting them to travel to and conduct research in Bangladesh prior to the event, as well as to propose contributions to post (post.at.moma.org), MoMA’s online resource devoted to the histories of modernism and contemporary art in a global context. The first research fellows arrive in February 2017 for the Chobi Mela and include Sean Anderson (Associate Curator, Architecture & Design, MoMA), Doryun Chong (chief curator, M+), Rattanamol Singh Johal (C-MAP Fellow for Asia, MoMA), Clara Kim (senior curator of International Art, Tate Modern), Tarun Nagesh (associate curator, QAGOMA) and Kathryn Weir (director of cultural development, Centre Pompidou), and Shanay Jhaveri (assistant curator of South Asian Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art). Further fellows will be announced in May 2017.

Weir (director of cultural development, Centre Pompidou), and Shanay Jhaveri (assistant curator of South Asian Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art). The first research fellows arrive in February 2017 for the Chobi Mela, and further fellows will be announced in May 2017.The Dhaka Art Summit is committed to nurturing the next generation of artists, and to this regard, DAS 2018 will feature an Education Pavilion at the centre of the exhibition, highlighting the Academy component of the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. Inspired by the teachings of Rabindranath Tagore and the history of transient pedagogy in the region, as well as the ideas of Critical Writing Ensemble 2016 participant Chus Martinez, this free and alternative art school will be led by a curriculum committee comprised of visual artists Nabil Ahmed (Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths College London), Anoka Faruqee (Director of graduate studies in painting/printmaking at Yale School of Art), Naeem Mohaiemen (Ph.D. candidate, Columbia University), Iftikhar Dadi (Associate Professor, Cornell University), Anshuman Dasgupta (Faculty, Art History department in Kalabhavan, Santiniketan), and Bishwajit Goswami (Faculty, Faculty of Fine Arts, Dhaka University) collaborating with leading Bangladeshi and international faculty with a bilingual collaborative reach and opening up a timely and productive discussion about art education in South Asia ahead of the 2019 centenary of the Bauhaus.

A Bangladeshi student of architecture (or group of architecture students) will be commissioned to build the pavilion, proposing ecologically sustainable architectural models using local materials and technology, imagine new potential for learning in abandoned urban spaces across Bangladesh. While the pavilion will be built inside the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, the design will be born from a sitespecific proposal that informs the concept of the structure. The winning proposal will be selected by Aurelien Lemonier (Centre Pompidou), Jeannette Plaut (Constructo) and Shamshul Wares (Department of Architecture, State University of Bangladesh). The winner will be awarded the inaugural Samdani Architecture Award at the Dhaka Art Summit with funds towards further studies. Further details will be released in May 2017.

On December 10, 2016 Diana Campbell Betancourt and Mami Kataoka will be giving the 2016 Artspace Sydney closing keynote lecture. This will be the first public talk about DAS 2018 and will also launch The Dhaka Art Summit 2016 and Critical Writing Ensembles reader.

Click here for more information.

6 December 2016.