Welcome readers to the March 2019 issue of ArtNow, “Craft of Material”, which brings its focus on materiality and the origins of raw materials and the complexities of molding them for use. The Photo Essay is by Humayun Memon, including works culminating from his recent experience at the Canvas Gallery Pioneer Art Residency at the Pioneer Cement Factory in Khushab. He explores the activities of the factory at the base of the nearby mountain where man borrows from nature for his own gains. The issue also looks at the exciting career of the first female archaeologist of Pakistan, Asma Ibrahim in an interview, and explores the work of sculptor Shahid Sajjad in his retrospective, along with coverage of the latest works of our editor Quddus Mirza at Canvas Gallery, and an exhibition exploring the similarities and contrasts between the works of Andy Warhol and Eduardo Paolozzi at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
I am excited to announce the upcoming release of the 4th Edition of the ArtNow Newspaper, an exclusive print edition of ArtNow which brings together selected works from our online magazine. The theme for this edition is “Connecting Flights” and brings attention to the Pakistani diaspora and local artists making waves internationally. This edition will include articles from October 2018 till January 2019, focusing on themes such as displacement and ecology in the In Focus essays, a detailed look into degree shows, and profiles of exciting artists including Arshad Farooqui, Adeel Uz Zafar, Rashid Rana, and Faiza Butt. The Guest Editor for this edition is the dynamic Amna Naqvi of the AAN Foundation, an avid art collector, philanthropist, and publisher running the AAN Gandhara Art-Space in Karachi and Hong Kong.
The Frieze Art Fair inaugurated its newest fair, Frieze Los Angeles, this month, which has brought the fair to the incredibly dynamic cultural hub and home of Hollywood, placing it at a pivotal position within the global art world. Taking place at the historic Paramount Pictures Studio, the fair brought together 70 of the most significant and forward-thinking contemporary galleries from across the city and around the world, alongside a curated program of talks, site-specific artists’ projects and film with curator Ali Subotnick. The fair was a huge success, attracting some 30,000 visitors and sold out on all its public viewing days, attracting artists, collectors, curators and celebrities from the city and all over the world. The fair also attracted a number of smaller art fairs to gravitate around its debut, such as Art Los Angeles Contemporary, Felix LA, and Spring/Break Art Show, and create a rich cultural atmosphere in the city’s booming contemporary art scene.
The Pakistani art world makes significant strides internationally with its first participation in La Biennale di Venezia – Venice Biennale’s 58th iteration with its very own National Pavilion. The exhibit will be curated by Zahra Khan and will feature works by the exquisite Naiza Khan. The Pavilion is commissioned by The Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of Pakistan, and organized by Foundation Art Divvy. I look forward to seeing this landmark achievement coming to fruition as Pakistan becomes a part of the biggest International art exhibition and the oldest and original Biennale, opening up new avenues for the country’s talent.
Pakistani artist Imran Channa’s first solo show in Berlin recently opened at Kang Contemporary Art Gallery, titled “Dust to Dust”. In these works, he showcases his technique of erased charcoal drawings of ruins from Pakistan and India, video and installation works to talk of the erasure of histories, fading memories, and loss of heritage. The artist’s research-based practice takes inspiration from old archives and uses old photographs, documents, and spaces to build his narrative and subsequent imagery.
Vasl Artist’s Collective recently concluded its International residency “Karachi Diary”, which hosted four artists-in-residence from Austria and Switzerland. The artist duo Bernhard Frue & Christina Zurfluh, journalist and researcher Sabine Kienzer and Veronika Illmer, an art director and graphic designer were staying atVasl as part of this residency and were interacting with 24 people and places from the city to create the “Karachi Diary”, which was then exhibited at the Canvas Gallery at the end of the month. Vasl also recently announced its selection of artists for the 11th Taaza Tareen Residency, which invites upcoming artists who have graduated in the last 5 years. I would like to congratulate Bushra Khalid, Hamid Ali,Jahanzeb Haroon and Noormaha Jamal, on being selected for this year’s residency, and look forward to seeing their works on the theme of “Diversity/Adversity”.
Canvas Gallery also recently concluded its Pioneer Art Residency, Volume III. The residency, which takes place at the Pioneer Cement Factory in Khushab, invites seasoned artists to create sculptural works at the factory. This year’s residents included Ayaz Jhokio, Faisal Anwar, Humayun Memom, Masooma Syed, Muhammad Ali Talpur, Muzzamil Ruheel, and Quddus Mirza.
The Karachi Biennale Trust officially inaugurated the second iteration of its flagship event this month, KB19, set to take place in October this year. The ceremony was held at the beautifully restored Habib Fida Ali residence, a Colonial-era bungalow. The thematic for the Biennale calls attention to ecology, which the CEO of KBT, Niilofur Farrukh introduced in the welcome address, also declaring KB19 a green biennale, and promising a dynamically fresh experience under the curatorial vision of Muhammad Zeeshan. Zohra Hussain was the special guest for the evening, which included a tribute to KBT patron late Fida Habib Ali in the form of a commissioned documentary, and concluded with a light and sound performance by new media artist Wolfgang Spahn. The KB Discursive Committee also held its second Round Table this month on the topic of “Barriers” with a presentation by artist Seema Nusrat and a discussion with panelists Rubina Feroz, Lynette Viccaji, and Nausheen Ahmed.
Public art in the city of Karachi is set to receive another boost with the upcoming International Public Art Festival (IPAF), which is set to take place in the coming month. The Festival is conceived by I AM Karachi, it will be a pioneering event which will feature both local and international artists to intervene in, interact with, and transform the public spaces of the city. IPAF seeks to celebrate the essence of Karachi, promoting unity, spreading awareness, instilling ownership and widen the spheres of art as a medium of expression, rejuvenation and inclusiveness. The inaugural event will take place at the head office of the Karachi Port Trust and I look forward to see it becoming a permanent part of the city’s growing art calendar.
A couple of local exhibitions in the city of Karachi have stood out this month, including “Mera Safar” at Koel Gallery and the Emerging Talent Exhibition at the VM Art Gallery. The former is curated by Muhammad Zeeshan and Noorjehan Bilgrami and brings together 15 artists hailing from the province of Sindh. It invites the artist to focus on their journey, the influences and experiences of their past and the memories that remain with and inspire their practices, so that the audience can trace their personal trajectory in order to better understand their work. the latter is the 15th iteration of VM Galleries signature annual curatorial project, which brings together the works from the thesis displays of art institutions from all over the country. This remains a one of its kind event significant not only because it promotes young artists and provides them with a gateway into the professional art world, but also helps assure high standards by presenting works from various institutions next to each other, encouraging healthy competition. Fourteen institutions are participating this year, including Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi School of Art, and National College of Arts.
Bye for NOW!