Samdani Art Awards
Sabah Rahman Arts & Culture

Spotlight on the up-and-coming artists of Bangladesh

    Photo- Atish Saha
    Photo- Samsul Alam Helal

The Samdani Art Award is a crucial part of the Dhaka Art Summit. Fresh local talent from the artist community between the ages of 20-40 are selected and featured in an exhibit at the summit. 

 What the winner gains is quite the prize, to say the least – a three month residency at the Delphina Foundation, an independent, non-profit foundation dedicated to facilitating artistic exchange and developing creative practice through residencies, partnerships and public programming. 

The collection on display at this exhibition showcases singular examples in painting, printmaking, film, photography, performances and sculptures. You can expect a reflection of developing, local contemporary art.

Narrowed down from 300 applicants, curator Daniel Baumann, was asked to pick only 10 candidates, but ended up insisting on 13, as he was positively overwhelmed by the high quality of the work. 

When choosing the shortlist, the curator said looked for individuals who had something to say and the courage and conviction to develop and use a language of their own. His advice to emerging artists is to organise themselves by delving into the history and languages of art without feeling intimidated by both. 

“Being an artist is a tough thing, but I don’t know of any other place where there is as much space for freedom,” Baumann told the Dhaka Tribune. 

“New wealth has been created in many parts of the world, including South Asia. The Western art market is most probably overrated, so people are looking for new territories to invest. This may sound a bit cynical, but it is probably true. I do believe that more and more people realize that there is more interesting art than those coming from Paris, Berlin, London, and New York. We live in a rich world, so let’s expand our horizons!”


Participating artists

Ashit Mitra 
Where There is No Title: A series of etchings that express the hidden resilience of the spirit of life.

Atish Saha
Water: Portraits of people in the water of the Buriganga River. 

Farzana Ahmed Urmi
Lines in Mood: A series that represents self-denial and mental dysphoria.

Gazi Nafis Ahmed
Inner Face: Photographs based on “the collective denial about sexual diversity in Bangladesh.” 

Muhammad Rafiqul Islam Shuvo
Communal Aliention and Faster Satiation, but Only for Nevertheless Behavior: Photographs that reflect random situations with dramatic sound and pauses, creating a curious aftermath.

Palash Battacharjee
Filter: Video installation work inspired by daily life events which are used in a repetitive way to re-emphasise the meaning of our mundane acts. 

Rasel Chowdhury
Railway Longings:  A contemplative approach to the railroad.

Salma Abedin Prithi
Dear Love: A monologue of ordinary people who express thoughts about their intimate relationships with families and loved ones on camera.

Shumon Ahmed
When Dead Ships Travel: From the Metal Graves photographic series, a journey through one of the world’s largest ship graveyards in Chittagong, Bangladesh. 

Shimul Saha
Rebirth: Exploring the metaphor for the two lives the artist lived, in this world and in his mother’s womb.

Zihan Karim
Habitat: Film projections that hope to create a dialogue between the real and the virtual.

Samsul Alam Helal
Open Stage: An ongoing series of  work that engages the people from the “Sweeper Colony” from Old Dhaka.

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