The body intrigue and other forms of artistic-ideatic encryptions
Samdani Art Foundation upped their ante yet again by introducing Samdani Seminars, which fetched established names in arts from around the world to the fledgling turf of the Dhaka scene to help the young artists of this terrain to taste what is trending globally. The theme of the seminars was the endemic 'body' question, where body is the vehicle for examining one's on going negotiation with his/her spatiotemporal habitat. The trending concept of traversing across genres/disciples which is verily preconditioned upon involving experts from a diversity of fields was also extensively explored, with Diana Campbell Betancourt, curator, Artistic Director of Samdani Art Foundation as the flagbearer of this propitious project. The limelight was turned predominantly upon performance art in all likelihood for its capacity to encompass multiple approaches to art in order to turn it into a 'salad bowl' of creative efforts.
The project was divided into two consecutive phases, wherein the broader selection of 20 artists from 60 initial applicants were narrowed down to 15 in the second phase, each running between March 20 to March 24 and April 2 to April 8 respectively.
Workshops, presentations and performance acts segued or rather bled into each other in the manner of a cross-border seepage, in an ever widening circle where a curious sense of camaraderie takes precedence in and of itself, when forged between show-runners and participants. Here the South Asian guru-shishsha trickle effect gave way to the all-on-the-same-page structurally democratic, informal arena of learning.
To follow the timeline sequentially, the seminar kicked off with a workshop by French artist Myriam Lefkowitz on March 20-21, that shuttled between old Dhaka and Dhaka University premises. Here is the most intriguing facet of the programme that sought to scoot the entourage to myriad venues across the city, each significant in its cultural resonance. March 21-22 launched a lecture by French curators Sandra Terdjman and Gregory Castera pegged on the 'role of research in ambitious art commissions that can impact society'. They appeared chiefly as a mouthpiece for their organization 'Council' that propagates inter-disciplinary works. Painter Sandeep Mukherjee, made public the invincibility of the 'body' in the creative scheme of his body of works. This artist will be no stranger when he reappears with his solo in the next edition of Samdani Art summit.
On March 24, the celebrated Polish artist Pawel Althamer in this Death Class conducted a high-spirited adaptation of a famed modern Polish sculpture and performance, by supervising a co-option of the public sphere by students of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Dhaka, who spilled out of the classroom hauling their desks out into the surrounding communal space in an intervention of art aimed at blurring boundaries. The performance ended in Draftsmen's Congress, a collective painting, and with it also did the first phase.
Before long, on April 2nd the second phase was set afoot, which found Nikhil Chopra, Madhavi Ghosh and Slovenian artist Jana Prepeluh join forces to carry out a 5 day long workshop with local artists at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. In keeping with the essence of the seminar Nikhil Chopra's performance stood out in the unique way in which he blended his performance with a presentation under the alias of an Italian artist. The same group of participants was brought face to face with Norwegian artist Tori Wranes, with performances at Sydney Biennial and Performa to his credit, in a performance workshop on April 7.
April 8 was the open studio day when each participant presented their performance to a sizeable audience at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, received certificates and again took out a curious procession of eight rickshaws as part of an itinerant performance.
— DEPART DESK
photo Courtesy: Samdani Art Foundation.