Photo News: Third Dhaka Art Summit opens next month in Bangladesh

Safiuddin Ahmed, Receding Flood, 1959, soft ground etching, aquatint, 37x50cm, courtesy of the Ahmed Nazir Collection, Dhaka

Safiuddin Ahmed, Receding Flood, 1959, soft ground etching, aquatint, 37x50cm, courtesy of the Ahmed Nazir Collection, Dhaka

News from around the world today and visual art in other places. Coming up next month is the chance to see a diverse selection of art works at the third edition of the internationally acclaimed Dhaka Art Summit (DAS), the world’s largest non-commercial platform for South Asian art. The exhibition takes place at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy from 5- 8 February, (details at end of post). It’s good to see that art work by Dayanita Singh will be included in the exhibition which also includes the work of many other visual artists who are unfamiliar to me.

“The 2016 edition of DAS showcases some of art from South Asia. Led by Samdani Art Foundation Artistic Director and DAS Chief Curator, Diana Campbell Betancourt, the Summit brings together artists, curators and thinkers to explore and share artistic work and practices from the region, provoking reflections on transnationalism, identity and time.

“Through its unique format and innovative curatorial approach, DAS is known for creating a generative space where participants can reconsider the past and future of art and exchange within South Asia and the rest of the world. Considered a central meeting point for art professionals from the region and further afield, those participating include over 300 emerging and established artists, internationally renowned curators and writers.

“The number of visiting institutions and partners from the United Kingdom this year reflect the flourishing support and interest in DAS and include Tate Modern, Tate Britain, V&A, Serpentine Galleries, Hayward Gallery, Delfina Foundation, The Tetley, Fiorucci Art Trust, Manchester Art Gallery, Whitworth Art Gallery, New Art Exchange, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Liverpool Biennial and the Manchester International Festival, to name but a few.

“Also attending are internationally renowned institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Museum and Museum of Modern Art in New York; Centre Pompidou in Paris; Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane; Artspace Sydney Visual Arts Centre; documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel; Art Gallery of New South Wales; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art; M+ in Hong Kong; Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan; CSMVS Museum in Mumbai; Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, and many others, including biennales and festivals from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the UK.

“In addition to exciting new commissions and exceptional curated group exhibitions, DAS events include talks, performances, films, book launches and more.

“Projects are curated by Diana Campbell Betancourt and include 13 newly commissioned works, as well as four works reconfigured within the Bangladeshi context. These celebrate the region’s pluralism and examine the fluid continuum of birth and experience in becoming an individual. The exhibition includes works by Lynda Benglis, Tino Sehgal, Shumon Ahmed, Tun Win Aung and Wah Nu, Simryn Gill, Waqas Khan, Shakuntala Kulkarni, Prabhavati Meppayil, Haroon Mirza, Amanullah Mojadidi, Sandeep Mukherjee, Po Po, Dayanita Singh, Ayesha Sultana, Christopher Kulendran Thomas, Munem Wasif and Mustafa Zaman curated by Daniel Baumann.

“From the over 300 applicants, curator Daniel Baumann, the Director of the Kunsthalle Zurich, Switzerland, and his team of local curatorial assistants have selected 13 finalists for the 2016 Samdani Art Award Exhibition. Their work will be showcased at DAS, in partnership with Pro Helvetia Swiss Arts Council and the Delfina Foundation. The exhibition presents an exciting opportunity to see the work of emerging artists from South Asia, and the winner – which will be announced during the DAS opening dinner on February 5 – will receive an all-expense-paid three-month residency at the Delfina Foundation in London. The finalists are Ashit Mitra, Atish Saha, Farzana Ahmed Urmi, Gazi Nafis Ahmed, Muhammad Rafiqul Islam Shuvo, Palash Battacharjee, Rasel Chowdhury, Rupam Roy, Salma Abedin Prithi, Samsul Alam Helal, Shimul Saha, Shumon Ahmed and Zihan Karim.

“The jury comprises professionals from some of the world’s most important museums, including Catherine David (Deputy Director, Centre Pompidou), Aaron Seeto (curator, Queensland Art Gallery I Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane), Beatrix Ruf (Director, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam) and Cosmin Costinas (Director, Para/Site Art Space, Hong Kong).”

The Missing One curated by Nada Raza.
The Missing One was published in 1896 by J. C. Bose, and is thought to be one of the first science fiction stories in the Bengali language. Using the tropes and technologies of science fiction as a thematic beginning, Tate Modern’s Nada Raza has created an intergalactic, intergenerational exhibition that brings together artworks from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Architecture in Bangladesh curated by Aurelién Lemonier.
Aurélien Lemonier, architect & curator at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, explores the contemporary architecture scene of Bangladesh via the legacy of Muzharul Islam (1947-2017), who is known for his pursuit of “humanist modernity” in his contributions to the city’s architecture.

Mining Warm Data curated by Diana Campbell.
Betancourt with collaboration from Ruxmini Choudhury and Shabnam Lilani. This evocative group exhibition features works from artists from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Tibet, Nepal and Bangladesh. Mining Warm Data exposes the emotional history radiating from Chitra Ganesh and Mariam Ghani’s The Index of the Disappeared, a physical archive of post-9/11 disappearances, and a new chapter has been commissioned and realised for this show by Samdani Art Foundation, Yale University Law School’s Schell Center for Human Rights and Creative Time Reports.

The Performance Pavilion, curated by Nikhil Chopra, Madhavi Gore and Jana Prepeluh.
Shifting Sands, Sifting Hands is curated by visual artist Jana Prepeluh, Nikhil Chopra and Madhavi Gore, visual artists and founders of Heritage Hotel explores the notion of the now in the context of time and duration and the idea of everything being in a constant state of becoming, in the slippage(s) of time through movement or stillness, of the body in the recognition of death present in every moment as it passes.

Film Programme curated by Shanay Jhaveri.
Shanay Jhaveri, assistant curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, presents a thoughtful selection of films called Passages, which includes hourly screenings of Ismail Merchant and James Ivory’s 1972 documentary about the writer-scholar Nirad C. Chaudhuri, Adventures of a Brown Man in Search of a Civilization, and a programme of films committed to exploring certain colonial and postcolonial conditions.

Rewind, the Summit’s first historical exhibition.
Curated by the Samdani Art Foundation’s Artistic Director Diana Campbell Betancourt, with a team including Beth Citron (Rubin Museum), Sabih Ahmed (Asia Art Archive) and Amara Antilla (Guggenheim), Rewind highlights the practices of South Asian artists active before 1980. Many of the works come from the Bangladesh National Collection and private collections from the region, with several exhibited for the first time in over 20 years.

Critical Writing Ensemble curated by Katya García-Antón and Antonio Cataldo.
Art writing has endured challenges that vary in nature around the world. Curated by Katya García-Antón, director and curator of the Office of Contemporary Art Norway, with Antonio Cataldo, a senior programmer at OCA, and the collaboration of Chandrika Grover Ralleigh (Pro Helvetia – Swiss Arts Council), Diana Campbell Betancourt (Samdani Art Foundation), Katya García-Antón (OCA) and Bhavna Kakar (Take on Art), the Critical Writing Ensemble seeks to foster a community of art-writing peers by breaking the isolation that characterises much writing practice and creating a lively environment for intellectual exchange that culminates in a publication with international distribution.” From the press release.

Panel discussions
This programme of talks and discussions features renowned curators and artists ranges from topics that explore cross-border art histories and off-centre art initiatives to the challenges of protecting the past while building the future and navigating regional group shows.

Workshops
An array of programming and workshops are also on offer throughout the summit, including Asia Art Archive’s Live Feed Station, an on-site junction for viewing an array of some of the most interesting publications, art magazines, books and catalogues that have been published in the past century, and VAST Bhutan, a children’s workshop that works with the youth of Dhaka to make an immersive installation from local waste products.

Full programme as a PDF: Click HERE

Dhaka Art Summit
5–8 February 2016
10 am to 9 pm every day
Free entry. No registration.
Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy
14/3 Shegunbagicha, Ramna Dhaka – 1000, Bangladesh

Photo show review Simon Roberts’ Pierdom Brighton & Photofusion SALON/15 award night

Today, here are some links to work published online recently—a review of Simon Roberts‘ photo exhibition, Pierdom on at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery until 21 February.

http://www.photomonitor.co.uk/2016/01/pierdom-3/

And another post, The Big Night Out, over at Photofusion‘s website covering the Photofusion SALON/15 PV in December. I also write about my selection process, special mentions and the winner of the Hotshoe Photofusion Award 2015, Anthony Carr.

http://www.photofusion.org/the-big-night-out-photofusion-salon15-hotshoe-award/

 

Photofusion contributor – Photography & Censorship, Photobook and Project Reviews

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1914 Emmeline Pankhurst being carried away by Superintendent Rolfe outside Buckingham Palace. 20,000 suffragettes gathered to demand votes for women.

Happy New Year 2016 to you all.

I’m starting the year with a historic photo and a quick catch up of my recent writing over at Photofusion before posting more content. Today I’m pointing you to my bimonthly theme/opinion piece on Photography and the Removal of Images and bimonthly Photofusion Members’ Project Review, plus two, monthly photobook reviews. Follow the links below.

YOU CAN’T SHOW THAT! Photography and the Removal of Images
“At a recent group art exhibition, ironically titled Passion for Freedom held at The Mall Galleries in London, I was handed a sealed envelope by one of the organisers of the event. Inside there was a postcard with a photograph from a series of seven photographic light box images ISIS In Sylvania by London-based artist Mimsy that had been removed because they were deemed by the police to have “potentially inflammatory content”. (continue by following the link).
http://www.photofusion.org/blog-post-photography-and-the-removal-of-images-by-miranda-gavin/

Plus two more photo book reviews:
Photobook #4
Francesca Moore’s self-published book, Bhopal: Facing 30
http://www.photofusion.org/photobook-review-bhopal-facing-30-by-miranda-gavin/

Photobook #5
The new Thames & Hudson book Lee Miller: A Woman’s War by Hilary Roberts.
http://www.photofusion.org/miranda-gavin-photobook-review-5/

Photofusion Members Project Review #1
The first of a bimonthly post, Love Rocks by Amanda Jobson.
http://www.photofusion.org/blog-post-members-project-review-1-by-miranda-gavin/

Female World War II reporters – No Job For a Woman historical documentary

“Get that woman out of here!” screamed the North African bureau chief for The AP when wire service reporter Ruth Cowan arrived in Algiers to begin her war reporting career. Cowan and nearly 140 other American women reporters were accredited to cover WWII, but journalism, military and social conventions were against them.”

One of the upsides of social media is that it allows people, who may never have had a chance to meet, to make contact. Just after I had posted on the exhibition at the IWM London Lee Miller: A Woman’s War, and wrote that I knew nothing of Toni Frissell and Dickey Chapelle and would need to do some research, I received a lovely and informative email from Michele Midori Fillion (Hurry Up Sister Productions), director of the documentary No Job For a Woman: The Women Who Fought To Report WWII.  

Midori Fillion emailed me about some of these women saying: “Before World War II, war reporting was considered to be ‘no job for a woman’. But when the United States entered the war, American women reporters did not want to miss covering the biggest story of the century so they fought for and won access. But there was a catch: women reporters would be banned from the frontline, prevented from covering Front Page stories about generals and battlefield manoeuvres, and assigned ‘woman’s angle’ stories about nurses and female military personnel. Several refused to abide by these journalistic conventions and military restrictions and, instead, brought home a new kind of war story: one that was more intimate yet more revealing. They reached beyond the battlefield, and deep into human lives to tell a new story of war.

“This 60-minute historical documentary film focuses on three American reporters—photographer Dickey Chapelle, magazine writer Martha Gellhorn, and wire service reporter Ruth Cowan. Margaret Bourke-White is a main secondary character and Lee Miller and Toni Frissell are honorable mentions in the film through the use of their photographs and an ID photo of each them. Miller and Gellhorn were good friends.

“Needless to say, this subject— women war reporters—has been my passion for many years since first discovering the incredible life of Dickey Chapelle while I was in journalism school in 1990. I met Toni Frissell’s daughter and gained her permission to use Frissell’s photos in the film. Both she and Miller, being fashion photographers first, were incredible war photographers for the light and detail they captured in their images.

“The women, therefore, had to figure out how to work within the restrictions (Ruth Cowan) or by-pass them altogether (Martha Gellhorn) or a combination of both (Dickey Chapelle). Margaret Bourke-White was in a different reporter category altogether, male or female. Being Life Magazine’s star reporter, she had a path paved for her, but even still, she was treated differently because she was a woman. For example, she was sent by boat to North Africa along with the nurses because it was thought to be safer to send the women on a nice big boat and not with the male reporters who were flown over. The boat the women were on was torpedoed. But because Margaret Bourke-White had the reporters knack of being in the right place at the right time, she got an incredible story out of being in a torpedoed boat. Her male colleagues were furious not to have such ‘luck’.

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“American women reporters had to fight every step of the way to report the war: from getting accredited to fighting the restrictions imposed on women reporters once they were accredited. The restrictions included no access to Jeeps or mess halls, no going to the front lines in the war zone, no sitting in on press conferences etc. In other words, all of the things that a reporter would need access to in a war zone to cover the war and/or report career-changing stories.

“There were so many stories that I would have loved to include in the film and so many other reporters whose work I would also have liked to highlight, but I was constrained by funding and the parameters of making a contained 60-minute story. The film combines rarely seen archival footage and stills, actors reading the written words of the three main characters—they read from the women’s reports, letters, notes from their diaries, or selections from their memoirs—as well as interviews with contemporary female war reporters. Julianna Margulies narrates the film. No Job For a Woman is distributed by Women Make Movies and has been aired on PBS channel over the last three years.”

Photo Show Stroll – Lee Miller: A Woman’s War IWM London

Miller’s most important legacy is without doubt her photography of the Second World War. Hilary Roberts, Research Curator of Photography, IWM.

As promised, here is a Photo Stroll through the exhibition Lee Miller: A Woman’s War at the Imperial War Museum in London. The show runs until 24 April 2016 and is billed as “a new major exhibition of 150 photographs depicting women’s experience of the Second World war by acclaimed photographer Lee Miller.”

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The photos may not be in chronological order, all have been taken with my iPhone and are an attempt to capture the journey and the atmosphere of the show. Walking through the show with my mum, my impression was of a city street taking me on a journey back to past eras—pre-Second World War, Wartime Britain and Europe and Post-Second World War. Set against muted red, grey, blue and green walls the various photos, paintings, objects, audio, film, text panels, pull quotes and glass-fronted vitrines, not dissimilar from shop-front window displays, encourage the viewer to look inside and out, to left and right, above and around corners, and to reflect on the women whose lives were affected.

Observations from my mum: “Incredibly interesting shots and angles; the intimacy of daily life such as a photograph of women’s pants and stockings hanging on a washing line which a male photographer would not have taken; the use of light; the naturalness and the breadth of the work both in image and text”.

The United States War Department accredited 127 woman as official war correspondents during the war, of these only four were photographers: Lee Miller, Margaret Bourke-White, Dickey Chapelle and Toni Frissell. I didn’t know of the last two women so now it’s time to do some more research.
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From the press  release: “2015 marks 70 2015 marks 70 years since the end of the Second World War. When war broke out in 1939, women embarked on a continuous process of change and adaptation. For some, including Miller herself, the war brought a form of emancipation and personal fulfillment, but its many privations caused widespread suffering. Miller’s photography of women in Britain and Europe during this period reflects her unique insight as a woman and as a photographer capable of merging the worlds of art, fashion and photojournalism in a single image.

“Lee Miller: A Woman’s War will trace Miller’s remarkable career as a photographer for Vogue Magazine and for the first time will address her vision of gender. Miller was one of only four female professional photographers to be accredited as US official war correspondents during the Second World War.
Recognised today as one of the most important female war photographers of the twentieth century, through her work Miller offers an intriguing insight into the impact of conflict on women’s lives, detailing their diverse experiences and her own world view.

“Comprising four parts, this exhibition will document Miller’s evolving vision of women and their lives as she travelled between countries before, during and in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War.

Women before the Second World War considers the origins of Miller’s wartime vision of women and her evolution as a photographer in the years preceding the Second World War; drawing on early life experiences, such as childhood trauma, her brief career as a fashion model, her involvement in the Surrealist art movement, the influence of early mentors such as Man Ray, and her two marriages.

Women in Wartime Britain explains how Miller, in her new role as photographer for British Vogue,documented the gradual but inexorable transformation of women’s lives in wartime Britain between 1939 and 1944. Illustrating how wartime privation and suffering was offset, in some cases, by enhanced opportunities outside the home.

Women in Wartime Europe examines Miller’s coverage of the impact of war on women in Europe as a US official war correspondent for Vogue magazine, 1944 – 1945, highlighting the diverse and distinctive nature of women’s experience of liberation, defeat and military occupation. Here the exhibition considers the emotional and physical toll of war on women, including Miller herself, reflecting too on the capacity of war in the front line to temporarily dissolve established divisions between the sexes.

Women after the Second World War focuses on Lee Miller’s coverage of women in Denmark, Austria, Hungary and Romania in the immediate aftermath of war, contemplating the lasting legacy of war, the difficult process of recovery from wartime experiences and the adjustment to post-war changes.

The show is sponsored by Barclays and produced in collaboration with the Lee Miller Archives. See my previous post for photos and the Audio Interview I did with Hilary Roberts, Curator of Photography at IWM, and Lee Miller’s son Antony Penrose at the press preview.