Curated by Diana Campbell Betancourt, Artistic Director, Samdani Art Foundation
Assisted by Ruxmini Choudhury, Shabnam Lilani & Nivriti Roddam
Produced by Eve Lemesle, Emily Dolan & Mohammad Sazzad Hossain
Seventeen Solo Projects, curated by Samdani Art Foundation Artistic Director Diana Campbell Betancourt, will include thirteen newly commissioned works and three works reconfigured within the Bangladeshi context, reflecting the productive nature of DAS. The first DAS project commissioned by the Samdani Art Foundation, VIP Project (Dhaka) by Po Po, will first be unveiled at the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial in Brisbane. The solo projects will celebrate pluralism and look at the fluid continuum of birth and experience in becoming an individual, book-ended by Lynda Benglis and Tino Sehgal and with Shumon Ahmed, Tun Win Aung and Wah Nu, Simryn Gill, Waqas Khan, Shakuntala Kulkarni, Prabhavati Meppayil, Haroon Mirza, Amanullah Mojadidi, Sandeep Mukherjee, Po Po, Dayanita Singh, Ayesha Sultana and Christopher Kulendran Thomas, Munem Wasif and Mustafa Zaman.
Shumon Ahmed (B. 1977, Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Shumon Ahmed is a Bangladeshi artist who explores the fusion between video, photography and text, creating stories that while seemingly contradictory, are private yet collective. He is recognised as one of Dhaka’s leading contemporary photographers. Ahmed studied photography at the Pathshala Academy and participated in various exhibitions including the 2014 Kochi Muziris Biennale, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Chobi Mela, Fotomuseum, Winterthur, and Dhaka Art Summit 2012 and 2014.
Lynda Benglis (B. 1941, Lake Charles, Louisiana, USA)
Lynda Benglis is recognised as one of the most important living American artists, known especially for her wax paintings and poured latex sculptures that reflect her radical re-visioning of painting and sculpture in her innovative and prolific practice. Over the past 50 years, Benglis has divided her time between studios in New York, Santa Fe, Ahmedabad in India and Kastelorizo in Greece, with each diverse location having subtle, yet discernible, influences on her practice. Benglis has received numerous awards and her works are held in leading institutional collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Tate, and the Guggenheim and she has recently exhibited in major career survey exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum, Storm King, and the Hepworth Wakefield.
Simryn Gill (B. 1959, Singapore)
Simryn Gill works with a range of media including photography, sculpture, making collections, writing and drawing. Her work could be described as a sorting of the residue of her immediate environments, making archives and records of the unstable meanings of things such as objects, images, language or actions. Working with simple materials, Gill translates and expands the elusive qualities of her local places and her habitation of them, and she currently works between Sydney, Australia, and Port Dickinson, Malaysia. Gill represented Australia at the 55th Venice Biennale, and her works have been exhibited by Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Tate Modern, the Sharjah Biennale, Documenta, and the NTU Center for Contemporary Art in Singapore.
Waqas Khan (B. 1982, Akhtarabad, Pakistan)
Waqas Khan is an emerging Lahore based artist who trained in printmaking at the National College of Arts, Lahore. His minimalist ink drawings are made from extensive networks of dots and lines that measure less than a centimeter each. Inspired by Sufi mysticism, Khan creates primarily monochrome compositions that resemble complex webs and celestial expanses referencing infinity, eternity, and other sublime, heterotopic spaces. His works are in the permanent collections of the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Kiran Nadar Museum, Devi Art Foundation, and many others.
Shakuntala Kulkarni (B. 1950, Dharwad, Karnataka, India)
Shakuntala Kulkarni is a Bombay based multidisciplinary artist whose work is primarily concerned with the plights of urban women who are often held back due to patriarchal expectations. Kulkarni’s work inspires and creates a space for women’s empowerment. She explores the fear and vulnerability women feel in urban landscapes and analyses the interaction between the two. She often collaborates with theater practitioners and indigenous craftsmen who collaborate with her to create armor-like structures out of cane. The armor in her work not only functions as a protective barrier for the female protagonist but elevates her to a goddess-like stature, a warrior. Shakuntala Kulkarni’s work is also inspired by history and historical locations, and the role of her own body within these locations. For example, she often creates happenings around historical landmarks in Bombay that are in danger of being destroyed. Kulkarni has exhibited at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly Prince of Wales) museum, Art Unlimited at Art Basel, and the Museum of Contemporary Art and MMKA in the Netherlands. She has participated in many workshops across the region, including at Britto Arts Trust in 2003.
Haroon Mirza (B. 1977, London, UK)
Haroon Mirza is a London based artist of Pakistani origin who has won international acclaim for installations that test the interplay and friction between sound and light waves and electric current. He devises kinetic sculptures, performances and immersive installations. An advocate of interference (in the sense of electro-acoustic or radio disruption), he creates situations that purposefully cross wires. He manipulates electricity to make it dance to a different tune and calling on instruments as varied as household electronics, furniture, video footage and existing artworks to behave differently. Mirza asks us to reconsider the perceptual distinctions between noise, sound and music, and draws into question the categorisation of cultural forms. Mirza received the Silver Lion Award in 2011 for the most promising young artist at the 54th Venice Biennale ILLUMInations, the DAIWA Art Prize in 2012 and the Zurich Art Prize and Nam June Paik Art Prize in 2014, and his works have been exhibited at the many leading institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, Museum Tingueley, and the Hepworth Wakefield.
Amanullah Mojadidi (B. 1971, Jacksonville, Florida, USA)
Amanullah Mojadidi is a North-American artist of Afghan descent currently based in Paris. Mojadidi often uses contemporary, post-modern ideas of conflict and globalisation combined with traditional narratives rooted in culture, belonging, and identity in his work. The artist takes a sarcastic approach toward the Afghan and American culture and stereotypes surrounding identity and the capitalism around conflict. “We are all at conflict,” shares Mojadidi, “Whether with others or ourselves, with our own ideas, thoughts, desires, history, present, future. We are all at conflict as we try and navigate ourselves through a life we understand only through our experiences, through our confrontation both internal and external with social, political, cultural, and personal strife.” His works have been exhibited in many international exhibitions including the Havana Biennale, dOCUMENTA (13), the Asia Triennial in Manchester, and the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
Prabhavati Meppayil (B. 1965, Bangalore, India)
Prabhavathi Meppayil’s art practice draws on traditional craft and values the truth of materials and tools as well as simple forms, colours and shapes. Lines are a leitmotiv in Meppayil's work and corresponding with Minimalist principles, she expresses the necessity of a work that comes back to the pureness and essence of the material: copper is often used in her work for example. The oxidation process of copper, and other marks of time, are important elements of her work. Meppayil’s pieces combine artisan practice coming from her family’s traditional goldsmith business in Bangalore, as well as modernist concerns using recurring features such as walls and floors on which she repeats lines and intermissions. She lives and works in Bangalore and recent exhibitions include The Encyclopedic Palace, 55th Venice Biennale, a solo exhibition at the American Academy in Rome, and group exhibitions at the Mori Art Museum and Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.
Sandeep Mukherjee (B. 1964, Pune, India)
Sandeep Mukherjee is a Los Angeles based artist who is globally renowned for his abstract paintings and installations that follow multiple paths through portraiture, the performing body, architecture as folding, and erasure as abstraction. Mukherjee’s multi-layered works explore the tension between process, image, emotion, meaning and its relationship to the body as an attempt to understand human experience. Improvisation is key to Mukherjee’s process oriented painting, and he considers material to be something more than its physical qualities. He looks at material as a force with vitality, relationality or difference that renders it active, productive and unpredictable. Mukherjee’s works are in numerous public collections, including those of MoMA, New York; LACMA; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Jumex Collection; Mexico City, and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art; New Delhi.
Po Po (B. 1957, Pathein, Myanmar)
Po Po is a self-taught conceptual artist from Myanmar, truly visionary in his forms and execution in a country that was completely closed off to the rest of the world when he began practicing in the 1980s. Pedagogy and enabling others to be autodidacts continues to inform the artist’s practice. In his over 3 decades of working, he has gone from painting to assemblage, from monotype to installation, and from design to architecture, often challenging audiences to see ideas through five senses, willing a concept out of shape and following Buddhist traditions to make the viewer look inward. Trying to get around censorship, his works are provocative, humourous and playful, ironic, sociable and impulsive. He often presents regional and religious identities, and explores global issues through local problematics. The artist has exhibited in leading exhibitions such as the Asia Pacific Triennial, Gwangju Biennial, Yokohama Triennial, and the Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale
Tino Sehgal (B. 1976, London)
Tino Sehgal is a Berlin based artist who creates constructed situations that challenge and confront conventional art and spectator relationships, often exploring the subtleties in gestures and social constraints. His work is primarily focused on the experiential instead of material objects. Sehgal does not document his work with photographs, videos or film stating that it inadvertently creates material objects which could then be sold or bought, however, Sehgal does believe in financial exchanges and his works can be sold and bought and are infinitely reusable. His work consistently challenges the function of art and it’s value. In 2013 he won the prestigious Golden Lion, at the 55th Venice Biennale. Sehgal’s artworks have been exhibited at a number of institutions, museums and galleries including Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2006–07), MMK Frankfurt (2007), Stockholm Konsthall (2008), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010), Tate Turbine Hall, London (2012), dOCUMENTA 13 (2012), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2014), and the Stedelijk Museum (2015).
Ayesha Sultana (B. 1985, Jessore, Bangladesh)
Through sound, drawing, object, painting and photography, Jessore born and Dhaka based artist Ayesha Sultana is interested in the poetics of space and the relationship between material and process in notions of making. Within the context of drawing, her recent body of work is an investigation into the rudiments of form through architectural constructions, often derivative of the landscape. Counter tendencies of movement and stability are also evident as an attempt to generate emptiness by filling up the surface. Through other elemental gestures and implications of plotting, measuring and erasure, merging and filling in, Sultana makes whole, an otherwise fractured image. Sultana was the winner of the 2014 Samdani Art Award and was featured as one of ArtReview’s ‘Future Greats’ in 2015. She is a member of the Britto Arts Trust and a graduate of Beaconhouse National University in Lahore.
Dayanita Singh (B. 1961, New Delhi, India)
Dayanita Singh is an artist currently based in New Delhi and Goa. Her medium is photography and the book is her primary form. She has published twelve books: Zakir Hussain (1986), Myself, Mona Ahmed (2001), Privacy (2003), Chairs (2005), Go Away Closer (2007), Sent A Letter (2008), Blue Book (2009), Dream Villa (2010), Dayanita Singh (2010), House of Love (2011), File Room (2013), and Museum of Chance (2014). Singh’s photographic work often presents a curious view of the seemingly everyday, often presenting a landscape that exists as much in the artist’s imagination as in the real world. Singh experiments with different ways of producing and viewing photographs, and she represented Germany in the 55th Venice Biennale and recent exhibitions include a solo exhibition at the Hayward Gallery and the MMK Frankfurt, the Kochi Biennale, and she will soon be a part of the 20th Sydney Biennale.
Christopher Kulendran Thomas (B.1979, London)
Christopher Kulendran Thomas is an artist who works through collaboration and/or exploitation to manipulate the processes through which art is distributed in order to set in motion the mechanisms of social change. His ongoing enterprise 'When Platitudes Become Form' takes as its materials some of the cultural consequences of 2009’s genocidal violence in Sri Lanka and the consequent economic liberalisation that has followed. Thomas was born in London in 1979 after his parents left the beginnings of Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict. Since graduating from the MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths (University of London) in 2012, solo exhibitions of Thomas' work have been held at Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler (Berlin), the Centre for Contemporary Art (Tel Aviv) and Mercer Union (Toronto). Amongst numerous international exhibitions, his work has been included in Tate Liverpool's historical survey 'Art Turning Left: How Values Changed Making' and in 'Co-Workers: Network As Artist' at Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Tun Win Aung (B. 1975, Ywalut, Myanmar) & Wah Nu (B. 1977, Yangon, Myanmar)
In addition to working individually as visual artists, this Yangon based husband and wife duo works collaboratively in a range of media including painting, video, performance, and installation. In 2009, the artists began the multicomponent work 1000 Pieces (of White), gathering and producing objects and images to assemble a portrait of their shared life. Their work often reflects politically inflected experiences and through their Museum Project, they collaborate with artists all over Myanmar and exhibit their work in rural contexts, imagining possibilities of what a museum in Myanmar might be. While Tun Win Aung's practice frequently focuses on local histories and environments, Wah Nu is inspired by her interest in psychological states. They have showcased their work in international venues such as the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, the Singapore Art Museum and Guggenheim, as well as at art festivals including the Asia Pacific Triennial, and Guangzhou Triennial.
Munem Wasif (B. 1983, Comilla, Bangladesh)
Munem Wasif is a Dhaka based artist who studies stark black & white photography, investigates complex social and political issues by getting close to the people, physically and psychologically, dealing with multiple questions and contradictions through his artistic language. Wasif often experiments beyond tradition and tests the possibilities of fiction, while still using familiar documentary language. His interests lie with the concept of ‘documents’ and ‘archives’ and their corresponding influence on politically and geographically complex issues, and the artist takes a long-term approach with his research methods. Teaching and collaborating with a new generation artists and curating experimental works is an organic and integral part of his own work as a visual artist, which keeps him on the edge of experimenting and extending beyond photography into video and sound and often in collaboration with the acclaimed Pathshala South Asian Media Academy. Wasif's work has been exhibited by Musée de l'Élysée, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Palais de Tokyo, Whitechappel Gallery, Visa pour l’image, Noordelicht Photo festival etc.
Mustafa Zaman (B. 1968, Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Born 1968, Mustafa Zaman’s work rests between the two interconnected, yet separate realms -- the human body as a subject in flux and the representation/objectification of the body in both art and non-art context. Often working across media, Mustafa unspools images, objects and texts from within the subject-object nexus. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1989 from the Institute of Fine Arts (now, Faculty of Fine Arts), University of Dhaka. Trained as a printmaker, he soon veered into multidisciplinary practice turning his attention to contemporary human condition often observed in relation to the instruments of power, the medicalisation of the body being a major theme to observe the effect(s). Mustafa had his first solo in 2002, where sourced images were placed alongside texts to interrogate the order of knowledge, an exhibition which set the tone of his current praxis. He is now focused on his projects where images are treated with natural and industrial substances before making the photograph, thereby recontextualising the sources to effectuate a meditative gaze.