Kiran Nadar Museum of Art has announced the launch of a collaboration with Samdani Art Foundation, Dhaka. Very Small Feelings, an exhibition and platform co-produced by the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) in Delhi and the Samdani Art Foundation (SAF) in Dhaka, will be central to the 2023 edition of Dhaka Art Summit (DAS).
The depth and breadth of this collaboration is unprecedented in the South Asian region, with extensive facilitation and exchange between contemporary artists through exhibition-making, publishing, co-commissioning, and loans of artworks between Bangladesh and India.
Kiran Nadar, Chairperson, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art comments, “ The collaboration with Samdani Art Foundation advances our goal of providing a platform for emerging and younger voices from India and the subcontinent. It will be the first time that two major South Asian contemporary art institutions collaborate on such a scale, and we are excited to create this space for learning and exchange for people from both countries and around the world.”
Co-curated by Akansha Rastogi (Senior Curator, KNMA) and Diana Campbell (Chief Curator, Dhaka Art Summit) with Ruxmini Choudhury (Assistant Curator, Samdani Art Foundation), Very Small Feelings will travel to KNMA for an expanded iteration in July 2023. As KNMA builds its permanent museum building in New Delhi and SAF looks towards opening Srihatta in Sylhet, this partnership aims to address and engage the younger voices of the subcontinent, bringing them into the fold and forming new forms of institutional collaboration. Very Small Feelings is the fourth exhibition under KNMA’s multi-part, long-term program ‘Young Artists of Our Times’ which was initiated in 2019.
Conceived as a ‘spread’ where stories, rituals, characters, memories and actions provide a space for intergenerational conversations and entanglements, Very Small Feelings sees youth as a conceptual category, not defined by age, but as a place of possibility. Akansha Rastogi elaborates: ‘Childhood is a formative period where the origin of self begins, and Very Small Feelings treats it as a transformative energy and state of being that one always carries within the self. It becomes a place where one can enter and exit at will, and deposit remembered lived experiences. Very Small Feelings seeks to become a generative space for learning and exchange, and encounter our ‘inner child’ and bind us strongly to it.’
Some of the highlights include, a new commission work by Mumbai-based architect duo Rupali Gupte and Prasad Shetty, sculptural installation by Delhi-based artist Murari Jha, a performance work by Shillong-based artist Lapdiang Syiem (co-commissioned by Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, the Samdani Art Foundation, and Art Dubai) that connects India and Bangladesh via the folklore of the Shillong’s Khasi hill tribes, and a presentation by the Anga Art Collective focuses on the memories of village elders in western Assam close to the Bangladesh border, who were forced to abandon their homes as their village drowned in Bramhaputra due to erosion. Many of these works highlight the closeness of Bangladesh and East and Northeast India, through language, shared borders, stories and climate challenges. Focusing on the experience of indigenous communities, a panel on the opening day will widen out these perspectives, and introduce the Transcultural Folklore Research Forum as an initiative of the exhibition and a long term project between the two institutions.
Renowned author Amitav Ghosh’s Jungle Nama, an adaptation of a legend from the Sundarbans which speaks to nature, human boundaries and balance, will come to life through its audio-visual presentation and collaboration with Salman Toor and Ali Sethi. Ghosh says, ‘This is a collaborative project and there could be no better way of bringing the different aspects of the work together than in an installation for this exhibition, which celebrates the role of storytelling in society.’
Programming To Kick Start With Dhaka Art Summit 2023 Edition
Taking place at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy from 3-11 February 2023, Dhaka Art Summit will bring together over 140 local and international artists and architects including: Rana Begum, Bhasha Chakrabarti, Simon Fujiwara, Antony Gormley, Yasmin Jahan Nupur, Ashfika Rahman, Joydeb Roaja, Rupali Gupte and Prasad Shetty, Lapdiang Syiem, Sumayya Vally and Anpu Varkey. The Summit will also present collaborative, artist-led community projects by Anga Art Collective, Gidree Bawlee Foundation for the Arts and Shwasmul Arts, and TransEnd with Ghazaleh Avarzamani. Over 50% of the works on view will be new commissions, exhibitions and performances, which will be shown alongside historic works by artists such as Chittaprosad Bhattacharya, Leela Mukherjee, Benode Behari Mukherjee, Satyajit Ray and Lala Rukh. 85% of the participants will come from across the Global South and its diasporas, over 60% from Bangladesh and 50% will be women.
This sixth edition, titled Bonna, will explore the theme of Bangladesh’s climate, and how this has shaped the country’s history, identity and culture. As both the word for ‘flood’ and a girl’s name in Bengali, Bonna will examine the multiplicity of meanings around weather and water through the lens of Bangladeshis, as both life-givers – bringing regeneration and renewal – and takers. To explore these ideas, the Summit invites participating artists to engage with the country’s relationship to flooding from a contextual perspective. Set amid a region facing the realities of climate change and the ongoing debate about our global futures, the Summit will also engage younger voices to respond to this critical theme.