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A Focus on Non-Profit Art Foundations in the Global South: The Samdani Art Foundation

Watch Samdani Art Foundation Director Nadia Samdani discuss the Foundation’s new initiative Art Around the Table, which engages with literal and figurative tables across Bangladesh and globally, via contributions by artists, curators and writers including Rana Begum, Habiba Nowros and Gidree Bawlee.


Launched in partnership with the JAAGO Foundation, participating contributors have agreed for food to be provided in their name to be shared around the tables of people in need in Bangladesh in exchange for their contributions.


Throughout the coming weeks, Art Around the Table will continue to publish contributions through their website and their social media channels. Here’s a current selection of projects:



Rana Begum
Collective art-making through fingerprints


The first family art-making workshop for Art Around the Table is presented by Sylhet born/UK based Rana Begum, where she joins her children in creating an artwork using only their fingertips, ink, and paper (or a blank wall at home), shedding light on the notion of collectivity and what the hands of people can achieve together, while still maintaining their individuality. The contribution invites viewers and their families to join the artist and her family in their art-making process and share their results to make a composite collective work.

View the full contribution here.



Habiba Nowrose
Sustenance and sustainability through the lens of a camera


Dhaka-based artist Habiba Nowrose prompts the viewer to consider leftover food and the potential found in waste. Triggered by news by economists in Bangladesh in India anticipating food shortages in their respective countries as well as globally, Nowrose takes photographs of discarded food from her home and examines ways of creating a more sustainable world.

View the full contribution here.

Gidree Bawlee
Puppet-making and storytelling with Balia children


This video workshop is led by seven children from Balia village in Thakurgaon, and inspires to make puppets out of found objects in nature. Each puppet is anecdotal and tells a story of a small incident that took place in the village, usually addressing narratives connected to the long history of migration or to recent south to north movements of climate change refugees. This contribution is spearheaded by the collective Gidree Bawlee, who in 2018 established the initiative ‘Hamra – Community Art Project’ to develop experimental forms of puppeteering in Balia.

View the full contribution here.



Gisela McDaniel
A visual and oral history workshop


As a mixed race artist herself, Gisela McDaniel’s workshop uses painting and audio interviews to subvert traditional power relations by allowing the subject to talk back to the viewer through overlaid audio interviews. McDaniel guides us to create an oral history that we can hold on to using a set of questions and instructions.

View the full contribution here.

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. Led by Artistic Director and Curator Diana Campbell Betancourt, 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 programs, and exhibitions. SAF produces the renowned bi-annual Dhaka Art Summit (DAS), which it founded in 2012.

JAAGO Foundation
The JAAGO Foundation is a registered civil society organization with a vision of eliminating poverty and illiteracy from Bangladesh and rebuilding the nation. JAAGO (founded in April 2007),is among the few organisations which provides free-of-cost schooling exclusively for underprivileged children living in Bangladesh.