A mammoth public art project by an India-based collective is slated to occupy prime space at the second Dhaka Art Summit, an event aimed at bringing together artists and artworks from South Asia. The project, spread over 160 billboards and roadside signs in Bengali and other South Asian languages created by Delhi- based Raqs Art collective, is part of the showcase scheduled between February 7-9 in 2014 in the capital of Bangladesh. "Raqs Media Collective will commission its largest public art project to date during the Summit.
The project will expand over 160 billboards and road side mega signs, transforming these surfaces into an artwork that explores ideas of time and space with their unique use of language, including Bengali," Nadia Samdani, Founder and Director, Dhaka Art Summit told PTI in an email interview. The non-profit Dhaka Art Summit (DAS) is an initiative of Samdani Art Foundation founded, by Nadia and her industrialist husband Rajeeb Samdani in 2011, as an alternative to the art fair model and to promote Bangladeshi contemporary art. Artists from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar and Afghanistan will be shown at the second DAS, a move away from the summit's inaugural edition in April 2012, where over 240 Bangladeshi artists were shown. Diana Campbell Betancourt and Mahbubur Rahman are part of the curatorial committee overseeing the Art Summit. Leading artists from India like Jitish Kallat, Shilpa Gupta, Mithu Sen would present artworks that are part of 12 solo art projects by celebrated South Asian artists. "The Summit will have a gallery participating segment as well as keeping the collectors in mind, 17 Bangladeshi galleries and 15 international South Asian Art focused galleries will be participating including galleries from Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Karachi, Islamabad, Colombo, Istanbul and Barcelona at the invitation of the foundation," says Nadia.