Welcome readers to our exciting April 2019 issue, “Art of Movement”, which focuses on performative and new media art. As always, we have brought in a collection of essays covering exciting interviews and international fairs including, Art Dubai 2019 and the Sharjah Art Biennale. The issue looks at the extensive careers of the director, writer and producer Jamil Dehalvi, and Basir Mahmood, a national and internationally acclaimed artist, who uses photography and film to weave poetic narratives. Also included in this issue an exclusive interview with Producer Akbar Allana, who provides an in-depth insight into his award-winning film ‘Raani’. We pay tribute, this month, to Pakistan’s master painter Abdur Rehman Chugtai with a Retrospective detailing his journey, artworks and achievements.
I am excited to announce that VOL IV of our quarterly ArtNow print edition is finally out and available at Liberty Books stores in Karachi and Lahore. Titled ‘Connecting Flights’, the paper focuses on degree shows of the recent art graduates of 2018 and covers Pakistan’s leading art institutions as well as, profiles of acclaimed Pakistani artists, Rashid Rana, Faiza Butt and Adeel-uz-Zafar and curator Arshad Faruqui. The guest editor for this edition is Amna Naqvi, an avid art collector, philanthropist and the Director of AAN Gandhara Art Space Karachi and Hong Kong.
March is an exciting month as the 13th edition of Art Dubai takes place with an exciting line up of galleries and artists. More than 41 countries congregate in Dubai to celebrate the biggest art fair in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. This year Art Dubai opened up new sections and performance programmes that focused on community building and providing a reading on historical art. The brand-new ‘Bawawaba’ section focused on conceptual works, including videos, murals and installations to give viewers a feel of the Global South, while the ‘Residents’ section featured a dialogue between the UAE and Latin America. The ‘Modern’ section of the fair presented works from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa that have influenced the 20th century and was overseen by a committee of leading academics and curators including, Dr. Iftikhar Dadi, Catherine David, Vali Mahlouji and Dr. Nada Shabuoth. Among the huge array of artworks of international artists on display, there was an impressive lineup of Pakistani artists showcased by multiple international galleries, which included, Muhammad Ali Talpur, Basir Mahmood, M F Husain, Adeela Suleman, Saba Qizilbacsh, Rasheed Araeen and Waqas Khan. Karachi’s Canvas Gallery displayed the works of Hamra Abbas and Muzzamil Ruheel at the fair which was very well attended.
The 14th Sharjah Biennale titled ‘Leaving the Echo Chamber’. The curators this year were Omar Kholief, Clarie Tancons and Zoe Butt. This year the Biennale has added intellectual programmes such as film screening in the open air cinema of the Sharjah Art Foundation. Schools hosted an art education program and provided art education and training programs throughout the Biennale. Pakistani artist Khadim Ali is among the participants of this prestigious event. His project, Flowers of Evil (2019), features a mural and installation at Emirates Fine Arts Society that addresses weaponry and the normalization of violence in Afghanistan.
Art Basel inaugurated its latest fair at Hong Kong this March and had featured galleries from across Asia. Art Basel is a premier art show that sheds light on the diversity of the region through both a historical and contemporary perspective and showcasing the unique talents of established and upcoming contemporary artists.
Heartiest congratulations to Imran Qureshi for his recent exhibition opening in Kennington, Corvi-Mora art gallery and to Dr. Veeda Ahmed for the successful opening of her exhibition, ‘In the absence of shadows’ in Gallery at Minaret in an Education City Mosque, Doha, Qatar.
Abdul Jabbar Gul, a renowned name in the art world, has again presented a remarkable work in an art exhibition ‘Art in Coinage” arranged at the State Bank Pakistan Museum on Pakistan Day. In 2004, Gul installed an iconic huge coin at the Learning Resource Centre, State Bank of Pakistan in a period of four months. This exhibition highlighted the history and importance of coins in Pakistan.
Karachi Biennale’19 will take place later this year and I would like to congratulate Karachi Biennale Team on all their immense effort. Kudos to Arsalan Nasir, a graduate of Beaconhouse National University, for winning the KB’19 Peak Freans ‘Emerging Artist Prize’ after an extensive selection process. KBT welcomed all the artists under the age of 30 to submit their works and Nasir was selected. His work will be displayed at the upcoming Biennale. The 3rd and final Karachi Biennale Discursive Roundtable concluded this March and focused on the pertinent issue of ‘Fake News’. Dostain Baloch, through his short documentary ‘Don Akhbar’, brought this issue to light, along with Sofyan Sultan, Zahid Hussain and Zohra Yusuf who were on the panel and discussed how fake information is molded and effectively used to generate public misconception. KBT is a prominent platform and plays a crucial role in rejuvenating city’s environment.
‘Raani’, a short film written and directed by Hammad Rizvi, has won the hearts of its audience. The film breaks barriers by tackling the mistreatment of the transgender community and is a recipient of several international awards including, the Fox Inclusion Award at Outfest, Los Angeles. The film has been screened at numerous international platforms such as the Newport Beach Film Festival, Rhode Island International Film Festival, New York Asian American Film Festival, in Lahore for LB02 as well as the recent Karachi Literature Festival. My heartiest congratulations to Producer Akbar Allana and his team!
The curatorial collaboration of Amin Gulgee, Zarmeene Shah and Sara Pagganwala have set yet another milestone by organizing an exhibition ‘The Quantum City’ at the Karachi Port Trust as part of the International Public Art Fair. The three-day event marked the first ever opening of the KPT to the public since its creation and exhibited the works of 50 local and international artists within the space of shipping containers. The local artists included Syed Ammad Tahir, Omer Wasim, Muhammad Zeeshan, Muzammil Ruheel, as well as the late Madiha Aijaz. Congratulation to Amin Gulgee and his team, I AM KARACHI, Martin Dow Group and KPT for sponsoring this successful event that crafted a space of peace and art for the public. Events like these are a refreshing welcome for Karachi.
VM Art Gallery’s signature emerging talent exhibition highlighted the works of local artists. ‘The Emerging Talent Exhibition 15’ was one of a kind event and this time it featured more than 70 artists from 14 institutions across the country. The show creates a platform for recent graduates where their initial interaction with the art world begins. Another interesting exhibition took place at Art Citi gallery and showcased the works of Iqbal Durrani.
I would like to extend my Deepest Condolences to Marjorie Hussain on the passing for her husband Hamid Hussain. Husain was a supportive pillar in the art community.
Bye for NOW!