Dhaka Art Summit 2020 in Bangladesh explores vocabularies of social organisation

STIR @ DAS 2020
Curator Diana Campbell Betancourt explains her idea of 'Seismic Movements', picking four works reacting to the theme as she gives us a walkthrough at the Dhaka Art Summit 2020.

by Rahul Kumar Published on : Feb 29, 2020

How does one engage the uninitiated into the arts? Over the years, various formats have been introduced with this objective - fairs, biennials, triennials, festivals, the traditional art gallery and museum structures. Recently, the Dhaka Art Summit (DAS) concluded its fifth edition (February 7-15, 2020). It sits at the intersection of various non-commercial presentations. While it showcases modern and contemporary art from the region and beyond, many interventions are experimental, and many installations temporary in nature - something one usually looks forward to seeing at biennials/ triennials. The Summit hosted performances on almost all the days of its duration, along with discourses through panel discussions and talks that were part of the formal programming.

STIR had the distinct opportunity to interview the curator of the edition, Diana Campbell Betancourt, at the Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh (the main venue for DAS 2020). "This is the first time in eight years that we have a singular theme to the summit – Seismic Movements," explains Betancourt. Referencing the dictionary meaning of the word 'summit' itself (top of a mountain), the theme considers the various interpretations of ruptures and realignments with fundamental shifts. These have been explored by global practitioners shown at the event, both metaphorically and more literally. Interestingly, the exhibits did not reveal the country of origin for the participating artists. "If you look at the labels, I have removed the countries of the artists. You have artists who were born in British-India, educated in Pakistan, and died in Bangladesh, but never left their house," she adds.

Watch the video to explore different forms of art from across the world, under one roof.

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