By Gayatri Rangachari Shah

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Bangladesh, a country ravaged in recent years by mass protests, typhoons and factory fires that killed hundreds, may seem like an unusual place for a global arts event. But an ambitious initiative driven by a local entrepreneurial couple is looking to change that.

“This is the time for South Asia, there is huge interest, the world is looking at us,” said Rajeeb Samdani, 39, a self-made businessman in Dhaka whose interest in art developed seven years ago when he met his wife, Nadia, 31. “We wanted an event that would attract people from around the world to come and see and discover artists from the region.”

The couple, and their Samdani Art Foundation, are behind the Dhaka Art Summit, which drew 50,000 people to its inaugural event last year. The next edition, scheduled for Feb. 7 to Feb. 9, will focus on artists from South Asia and seeks to increase the visibility of Bangladesh and the region on the global arts radar. [Read more…]