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25 Oct 2018

Samdani Art Foundation

The Samdani Art Foundation (SAF) is a private arts trust based in Dhaka, Bangladesh founded in 2011 by collector couple Nadia and Rajeeb Samdani to support the work of the country’s contemporary artists and architects. 

SAF seeks to expand the audience engaging with contemporary art across Bangladesh and increase international exposure for the country’s artists and architects. Its programmes support Bangladeshi artists and architects in broadening their creative horizons through production grants, residencies, education programmes, and exhibitions. To achieve this, SAF collaborates with the Bangladeshi government through official partnerships with the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, People’s Republic of Bangladesh, and the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.   

SAF’s motivations are articulated through a variety of initiatives, the largest being the bi-annual Dhaka Art Summit (DAS), which it founded in 2012. A non-commercial research and exhibition platform for art and architecture related to South Asia, DAS rejects the traditional biennale format to create a more generative space for art and exchange that re-examines how we think about these art forms in a regional and wider context. In an effort to encourage international arts professionals to travel to Bangladesh for research and to develop exhibitions which include the work of South Asian artists, SAF has supported travel for curators from institutions 

SAF launched the DAS Research Fellows programme to formalise this effort and to support and facilitate artistic research in Bangladesh throughout the year. SAF also supports the exhibition of Bangladeshi artists in the cases where institutions have meaningfully engaged with Bangladesh in their research about South Asia. 

The bi-annual Samdani Art Award, organised in partnership with the Delfina Foundation, has created an internationally recognised platform to showcase the work of young Bangladeshi artists to an international audience at the Dhaka Art Summit. 

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