British-Bangladeshi philanthropist Nadia Samdani has been awarded an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for her services to global art philanthropy and for supporting the arts in Bangladesh, South Asia and the United Kingdom.
The Birthday Honours list recognises the achievements of a wide range of extraordinary people across the UK.
A passionate supporter of the arts, Samdani is the co-founder of the not-for-profit Samdani Art Foundation in Bangladesh. Through her efforts with the Foundation, she has brought attention to Bangladeshi contemporary artists both at home and internationally. This has resulted in their works being included in major international public institutions and collections.
Samdani also co-founded the Dhaka Art Summit (DAS), the highest visited art summit in the world which welcomed 477,000 visitors in 2020. A key part of the Foundation’s remit to make art accessible to all, it provides opportunities for the local community to engage with art by bridging the gap between the local art scene and the international art world. Under her continued leadership, DAS will celebrate its tenth anniversary from 3 to 11 February 2023.
"It’s an extraordinary honour to receive recognition for over a decade of supporting and nurturing artistic talent. It’s been heartening to see the huge levels of public engagement with our work, and how the Foundation has fostered new cross-cultural dialogues between Bangladesh and the rest of the world. I am thrilled that this honour comes as part of celebrations for Her Majesty the Queen’s 70-year reign, and her length of service and commitment is something I hope to emulate in my ongoing work," said Nadia Samdani.
Nadia Samdani MBE is the Co-Founder and President of the Samdani Art Foundation and Director of the Dhaka Art Summit. In 2011, with husband Rajeeb Samdani, she established the Samdani Art Foundation to support the work of Bangladesh and South Asia’s contemporary artists and architects and increase their exposure. As part of this initiative, she founded the Dhaka Art Summit - the highest visited art summit in the world - which has since completed five successful editions under her leadership and welcomed a record 477,000 visitors for its last edition in 2020.
She is a member of Tate’s South Asia Acquisitions Committee, Tate’s International Council, Alserkal Avenue’s Programming Committee and the Delfina Foundation’s International Council, and is one of the founding members of The Harvard University Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute’s Arts Advisory Council. In 2017, with her husband Rajeeb, she was the first South Asian arts patron to receive the prestigious Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award.