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Editorial: December 2014

Just over a month ago, Imran Mir, a dear friend and renowned artist, passed away. Imran, known for his large, mathematically proportioned and classically balanced abstract paintings and decades of work in advertising, was an inspirational figure to colleagues and a mentor to younger artists and will is missed. Imran was deeply involved in the art world, as a founding member of Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture and a Trustee of Fomma, the Foundation for the Museum of Modern Art.

In remembrance of Imran’s many contributions to the world of art and design, Fomma is holding a memorial at the Fomma DHA Art Centre, the renovation of which he oversaw, in December. Please join us as his friends and colleagues pay tribute.

This year also saw the passing of another towering figure in the art world, sculptor Shahid Sajjad. His wood and bronze pieces, some of them monumental in size, others small and delicate, were imbued with a philosophy he developed travelling and learning from tribal peoples. Shahid was a unique figure, thoughtful and mindful, who stayed above the fray of the commercial art world, and like Imran, remained true to his vision of art.

While we remember these losses, 2014 was also year of strong growth in the Pakistani art world, which is coming together in highlighting the value and necessity of the arts. Some of our premier galleries have begun showing at international art fairs and collaborating with foreign galleries. More artists and curators are participating in residencies and exchanges abroad than ever before. New organizations such as Sanat Initiative, which offers residencies and exhibitions for young artists, have been established. The Clifton neighbourhood were Koel and Canvas have been located for years is now coalescing as Karachi’s art district, as new galleries are gravitate towards the area.

Our inaugural Art Sections at this year’s Karachi and Islamabad festivals were the launch of what we hope is a long and fruitful partnership with Oxford University Press. Feedback from attendees at both events this year was extremely positive, with many agreeing that the Art Sections were an exciting development, adding a new depth and dimension to these dynamic and energetic festivals. Extensive press coverage pointed to the high attendance in the art spaces and suggested the need for “more ambitious endeavours” at future events. At Fomma DHA Art Centre, we expanded our programme to include art films, playing weekly films over a period of months. We also began holding exhibitions at FDAC of artists ranging from recent graduates to modern masters.

A few months ago, we updated the magazine to enhance the reader experience and create a more meaningful, multidimensional online platform. Our redesign has taken inspiration from both home and abroad, since it is only through exposure to fresh ideas that an enriched artistic discourse can grow. One of the reasons for this expansion is the need to bring Pakistani culture to the attention of an international audience, promote contemporary artists worldwide, and subsequently develop a more nuanced image of Pakistan – all of which requires communication and creating a cultural dialogue, both in person and online.

Pakistani art has reached the current level of sophistication and seriousness by embracing a diversity of viewpoints and examining them with an open mind. Advancing Pakistani art, promoting the spirit of creativity, and encouraging critical discourse is central to ArtNow’s mission and we hope to build on our goal of bringing the arts to a wider public in Pakistan and abroad.

Bye for NOW.

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