Samdani Art Award

Curated by Daniel Baumann, Director, Kunsthalle Zurich
Assisted by Ayesha Sultana & Ruxmini Choudhury


In partnership with Pro Helvetia Swiss Arts Council & the Delfina Foundation, the Samdani Art Foundation launched a call for applications for its bi-annual art award. Through the open call, the Delfina Foundation identified 20 semi-finalists, which were narrowed down to 13 finalists by the 2016 Samdani Art Award curator, Daniel Baumann, who is the Director of the Kunsthalle Zurich, Switzerland. This is the third edition of the Samdani Art Award, and the first edition with a dedicated curator to help support the artists to exhibit their work in its best light. Applications are closed now. The form can be accessed here.

Baumann, and his team of local curatorial assistants, assisted the 13 finalists in selecting existing works that will be exhibited in the Samdani Art Award exhibition at the 3rd edition of the Dhaka Art Summit at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy from February 5-8, 2016. Each of the 13 finalists will be prominently featured in the Dhaka Art Summit Catalog, and will have their exhibited work(s) and portfolio evaluated by a jury of people working at some of the most importat museums including Catherine David (Deputy Director, Centre Pompidou, Paris), Aaron Seeto (Curatorial Manager, Asian and Pacific Art, QAGOMA, Brisbane), Cosmin Costinas (Director, Para/Site Art Space, Hong Kong), and Beatrix Ruf (Director, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam), chaired by Aaron Cezar (Director of Delfina Foundation, UK).

The winner of the Samdani Art Award will receive an all expenses paid, three-month residency during summer 2016 at the Delfina Foundation in London. The 2014 Samdani Art Award winner was Ayesha Sultana and she was recently named a “Future Great” by the important art industry magazine ArtReview.


"All of the 300 applicants for the Samdani Art Award reflect the development of Bangladeshi contemporary art as it absorbs new ideas and practices into its rich historic contours. The 20 artists that I selected for the long-list represent a snapshot of the present, a new generation of artists using performance, new media, as well as traditional craft and fine art, as their palette to address both local and global concerns. These artists are poised for international exposure through the opportunities provided by the Samdani Art Award, from the group exhibition at Dhaka Art Summit to the residency at Delfina Foundation for the individual recipient. We greatly value our partnership with Samdani Art Foundation in supporting the international careers of Bangladeshi artists, such as Ayesha Sultana who received the award in 2014."
Aaron Cezar, Director of Delfina Foundation

We are thrilled to announce the 13 artists who Daniel Baumann has selected to be on the short-list for the 2016 Samdani Art Award:

01. Shumon Ahmed
02. Gazi Nafis Ahmed
03. Palash Bhattacharjee
04. Rasel Chowdhury
05. Samsul Alam Helal
06. Zihan Karim
07. Ashit Mitra
08. Salma Abedin Prithi
09. Rupam Roy
10. Atish Saha
11. Shimul Saha
12. Rafiqul Shuvo
13. Farzana Ahmed Urmi


About the Samdani Art Foundation

The Samdani Art Foundation is a private foundation based in Dhaka that aims to increase artistic engagement between Bangladesh and the rest of the world. Founded in 2011 by collector couple Nadia and Rajeeb Samdani, the foundation has enabled Bangladeshi artists to expand their creative horizons through production grants, residencies, education programs, and exhibitions. The Foundation produces the bi-annual Dhaka Art Summit, which is the world’s largest non-commercial platform for South Asian Art. The Foundation also collects art from all over the world, and the collection is available for Bangladeshi audiences to view (by appointment). Works from Documenta, the Venice Biennale, Liverpool Biennale have a permanent home in Bangladesh, and the foundation also lends its collection of South Asian art to global exhibitions.

Delfina Foundation (DF) is more than London’s largest international residency programme – it is a home where the next generation of contemporary artists, curators and thinkers are supported and nurtured. Based in two newly renovated Edwardian houses near Buckingham Palace, DF is an independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering artistic talent and facilitating exchange through residencies and public programmes ranging from workshops to exhibitions, both in the UK and with international partners.

Established by arts philanthropist Delfina Entrecanales CBE, DF is the successor to Delfina Studio Trust. From 1988 to 2006, Delfina Studio held an unprecedented record for supporting artists through residencies and exhibitions, including more than a dozen Turner Prize nominees such as Mark Wallinger, Jane & Louise Wilson, Tacita Dean, Martin Creed and Glenn Brown as well as renowned artists such as Chantal Joffe, Michael Raedecker, Haegue Yang, Esra Ersen, Wim Delvoye and Khalil Rabah. DF is proud to build on this history.