Nadia Samdani, Founder of the Dhaka Art Summit, on the Samdani Artist Awards

Nadia Samdani, Founder of the Dhaka Art Summit, on the Samdani Artist Awards
Mohammad Wahiduzzaman’s, “Country of Rising Sadness” is among the work to be featured at Dhaka Art Summit 2012
(Mohammad Wahiduzzaman)

There’s barely two weeks to go until the two Samdani awards are announced at the Dhaka Art Summit. ARTINFO caught up with Nadia Samdani, Founder and Director of the Summit and Trustee of the Samdani Art Foundation. She told us more about the reason behind the awards and how the Samdani Foundation is doing its bit to introduce the world to contemporary art from Bangladesh.

What was the idea behind the awards?

The Samdani Art Foundation is committed to the development of education and infrastructure for the arts in Bangladesh. Keeping this objective in mind, we have announced two awards, namely, Samdani Artist Development Award and the Samdani Young Talent Award which will help us discover and encourage young talent within the country. This award will give emerging artists international exposure to showcase their artworks. The award is only eligible for artists within the age range of 25 to 30 years. 

What was the kind of feedback the award received? Did you have a lot of entries?

The response for the Samdani Art Award is overwhelming. We have received over 400 applications out of which 29 have been shortlisted by our esteemed jury.

Do you think the quality of the entries is in any way a reflection of the kind of art being created in Bangladesh?

 I am amazed to see the quality of the entries which have been submitted for the Samdani Art Award. The applications show a diverse range of paintings, sculptures, installations, photography and digital art.

Definitely, the quality of the entries we have received is a true reflection of the kind of art and next-generation of artists being created in Bangladesh.

Tell us more about the jury?

The Jury consists of Deepak Ananth, Professor at the Ecole des Beaux Arts Paris; Elaine W Ng, Editor & Publisher of Art Asia Pacific which is one of the largest circulated art magazines, Kyla McDonald, Assistant Curator of International Art at Tate Modern Museum, Ravinder Reddy, a renowned Indian artist, Bose Krishnamachari, founder of the Kochi Muziris Biennale and the Paris-based renowned artist of Bangladesh Shahabuddin Ahmed.

All the jury members are related to the South Asian art world and mainly with Indian art. We strongly believe that when we are talking about showcasing the vibrant art scene of Bangladesh, it should start from our neighboring country India, considering their strength in the international art arena.

Tell us more about the value of the award?

The prize money of the Samdani Artist Development Award is BDT 1 million, over 6 lakh Indian rupees, and Samdani Young Talent Award of BDT 0.5 Million, over 3 lakh Indian rupees. This award will also include a residency program of six months which will take place in Bangladesh where the artists will be provided a studio and all required art materials to work with. After the completion of this program, the foundation will organize a solo exhibition for the winning artists.