Reetu Sattar

Reetu Sattar, HARANO SUR (lost tune), 2016. Performance. Photo: Farhad Rahman

Reetu Sattar, Harano Sur (Lost Tune), 2017-2018. Performance at Dhaka Art Summit. Image courtesy Pranabesh Das

Reetu Sattar, HARANO SUR (lost tune), 2016. Performance. Photo: Farhad Rahman

Reetu Sattar (b. 1981, Dhaka, Bangladesh) lives and works in Dhaka. A performance artist working with video, text, objects and photography, she makes time-based pieces exploring presence and absence, memory, loss, resilience and the ephemerality of existence. Sattar is interested in the similarities, overlaps and clashes of forms in theatre and performance art, and the relationship between the body and ego. She dissects the traditional tropes of theatre through conversations, space and sculptural elements. 

Reetu Sattar’s work for the Liverpool Biennial, Harano Sur (Lost Tune), draws together many performers, each of whom will play a single note of the seven notes of the harmonium, an instrument that is tightly integrated into the traditional culture of Bangladesh. The artist uses these sustained droning sounds as a way to explore the violence and social upheaval that has recently affected Bangladesh and also as a wider metaphor for issues of cultural control, diasporas and partition. The harmonium is in danger of disappearing in Bangladesh due to much stricter interpretations of Islam. In the face of modernity, traditions become increasingly sidelined and at risk of not being passed on from older to newer generations. By playing a sustained note, the performers make a powerful statement that they and their traditions are here to stay.

Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial and Dhaka Art Summit, as part of the New North and South, the work will take the form of a film presentation of the performance that took place at the recent Dhaka Art Summit 2018, which involved 33 musicians, 29 harmoniums and four oboe-like instruments called shehnais.

Recent exhibitions and performances include Para/Site, Hong Kong, China (2017); Jim Thompson Art Centre, Bangkok, Thailand (2017); Fierce Festival, Birmingham, UK (2017); Chobimela ix, International Photography Festival, Bangladesh (2017); 16th and 17th Asian Art Biennale, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2014 and 2016); National Art Exhibition, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2015); South Asian Media Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2014); and Dhaka Art Summit, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2014). 

Reetu Sattar is co-commissioned with Dhaka Art Summit, as part of the New North and South


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