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A First-Timer’s Guide to Dhaka Art Summit

Art NewsRezaul HaqueComment

Dhaka Art Summit returned to the heart of Dhaka this month with 300 talented artists. It’s the first time we attended the summit and we’re so excited. We’ve prepared this first timer’s guide so you know some of what to expect next time. These were Artist Trekker's must-see. 

The Dhaka Art Summit is held at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The Dhaka Art Summit is held at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Hasan Elahi, 'Thousand Little Brothers v3', 2015. 

Hasan Elahi, 'Thousand Little Brothers v3', 2015. 

The self-taught Burmese artist, Po Po describes his photography, not as a visual record. It is a means to reflect his thoughts on political, social and cultural concerns. 

In 2010, Po Po created his first “VIP Project” in Yangon, placing VIP signs in public bus stops across the city. South Asia has an entrenched “VIP Culture” where certain individuals are given preferable treatment. Even in the public sector, with special entrances in airports. Standing across the street from bus stops, Po Po took a series of photographs. He captured the reactions of people to the VIP signs. In almost all cases, the commuters saw the sign as more important than them. They yielded their seats to the signs. This demonstrated their thoughts of their place in society.

Po Po, VIP Project (Dhaka), 2014-2015. 

Po Po, VIP Project (Dhaka), 2014-2015. 

Dhaka Art Summit 2016 introduced a historical section called "Rewind." This highlighted practices of South Asian artists active before 1980.

"Soul Searching" considers where modern Bangladeshi art started. Influenced by Zainul Abedin, S.M. Sultan, Qamrul Hassan and Safiuddin Ahmed. To discover their own identities, they relied on the cultural heritage of Bangladesh. The river was Zainul Abedin's muse. S.M. Sultan’s artistic search took him to the remote village of Narail. Qamrul Hassan discovered himself as a folk painter.

In this exhibit 50 Bangladeshi artists consider the last generation’s approach to discover themselves.