The Samdani Art Foundation (SAF) is a private arts trust based in Dhaka, Bangladesh founded in 2011 by collector couple Nadia and Rajeeb Samdani.
Founded in 2011 by collector couple Nadia and Rajeeb Samdani, the foundation has enabled Bangladeshi artists to expand their creative horizons through production grants, residencies, education programs, and exhibitions. The foundation produces the bi-annual Dhaka Art Summit, which is the world’s largest non-commercial platform for South Asian Art. The foundation also collects art from all over the world, and the collection is available for Bangladeshi audiences to view (by appointment). The founders have also donated works from their collection to institutions such as Tate and the Metropolitan Museum of Art to put Bangladeshi modern art in a wider international context. The foundation is led by American curator Diana Campbell Betancourt who is the artistic director of the foundation. Through the works it has produced, research it has supported, loans from its collection, sponsorship, and traveling exhibitions it has commissioned, Samdani Art Foundation has been associated with some of the world’s leading institutions in the Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, and North America including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Swiss Institute and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the Getty Foundation in Los Angeles, Para Site, M+, and the Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong, the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Alserkal Avenue and Art Jameel in Dubai, the Venice Biennale, Documenta in Athens and Kassel, the Kunsthalle Zurich, the Kunstalle Basel, the Liverpool Biennial, Tate Modern and the Delfina Foundation in London, Singapore Biennale, the Kochi Biennale in India, The Asia Pacific Triennale at QAGOMA in Brisbane, the Shanghai Biennale, the Times Museum in Guangzhou, OCA in Oslo and the Kunsthall Trondheim in Norway, the Fiorucci Art Trust’s Volcano Extravaganza in Stromboli, Berlin Biennale, Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Sri Lanka, Museum MAIIAM in Chiang Mai, the Lahore Biennale, TS1 in Yangon, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Artspace Sydney, RAW Material Company in Dakar, and Gudskul,in Jakarta, among others.
Committed to increasing art-engagement in Bangladesh, SAF runs the annual Samdani Seminars, a free lecture and workshop programme that facilitates engagement between internationally renowned arts professionals and local communities across Bangladesh through participatory artworks, lectures, and workshops. The Seminars complement the syllabi of Bangladesh’s leading educational institutions by covering the mediums and subjects not currently included, accessible to those of all ages, to encourage an inclusive dialogue around art.