Though the summers tend to be quiet in the art world, there is still much happening in terms of exhibitions and projects. Canvas Gallery started off the season with a mural based exhibition by SM Raza. It is interesting to see developments in gallery spaces in terms of execution! Koel gallery and ArtChowk are holding their annual exhibitions titled Summerscape and Potpurri XXVI respectively. Each exhibition features a plethora of works by a diverse range of artists, merging different concepts and mediums. It allows us a collective look at works by Pakistani artist and how art continues to evolve. Sanat Initiative marked its 2 year anniversary this June. Congratulations to Abid Merchant and team for another successful year.
Gandhara Art Gallery continues it 3 exhibition series curated by Haajra Haider in commemoration of its ten year anniversary. The next exhibition in line is a solo exhibition by Bani Abidi titled “the most amount of people standing still, screaming & laughing…..”. This will be Bani’s first solo in Karachi in 6 years.
Vasl in collaboration with I AM KARACHI are changing the bleak walls of the city with their ‘Walls of Peace’ project. The objective being a city-wide movement that inculcates hope, pride and ownership in the citizens of Karachi to collectively strive for a peaceful, vibrant city.
On a similar note -in January of this year, the Lahore Biennale Foundation (LBF) launched an open call for Where the Bus Stops, a part of the Intersections– Art in Public Spaces initiative. The shortlisted designs will be under construction throughout summer, and are already popping up across the designated routes! While this is a highly focused project, it carries the ethos of what LBF is truly about; LBF’s approach to all of its programs conducted within the public realm is to bring together diverse thinkers, practitioners and partners.
On June 22, the third artSpeak for Stories We Tell – Aao Sunayein Kahani entitled ‘Let’s talk about Food’ took place. It aired on MastFM103, on the late-night radio show ‘Mauj Mela’ with Afzal Saahir as the host, and Nadia Jamil (Curator of the Lahore Eat Festival), Ahmad Shafiq (CEO, College of Tourism & Hotel Management) and Javed Fazal-e-Haq (Owner of Fazal-e-Haq Restaurant) as guests. The aim of this particular artSPEAK was to understand the culture of local food, inside and out of the city of Lahore. Through a radio show that reaches four major cities in Pakistan- Lahore, Karachi, Multan and Faisalabad- the project reached a large Punjabi speaking community.
Stories We Tell – Aao Sunayein Kahani also deployed its riksha booths in Bagh-e-Jinnah from June 24 to 26, where hundreds people came to record their stories. For more exciting updates on the project, follow their Facebook page!
Our latest issue touches upon the spirituality of art. Within art lies the process of healing, of connecting with nature, society and oneself. For many artists art is a form of worship, it allows a creative release that connects them to the spiritual realm. The Murree Residency which is slated to start next month offers opportunities for both contemplation and immersion in the quaint local scene. Artists are invited to live and work for a period of three weeks marking their own creative trajectory. While some artist choose to continue their existing practice, others chose to respond to the historical and political aspects of their location. I for one am excitedly looking forward to the upcoming residency after the enthralling success of the 2015 residency.
The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition. Its aim is to explore the relationship between Islamic traditions of art, craft and design and contemporary work as part of a wider debate about Islamic culture and its role today. I had personally nominated Rasheed Araeen as a candidate for the 2016 Art Prize and was very happy to see him shortlisted, I am thrilled to see another young Pakistani artist receive it. Heartiest felicitations to Ghulam Mohammad and on a much deserved win! Mohammad is an artist who uses words and language as a medium to create paper collage. By ‘freeing’ language from the page and attempting a playful reconstruction, Mohammad aims to enrich it with a new aesthetic meaning. Over 280 nominations for the Jameel Prize 4 were received and eleven artists and designers were shortlisted from countries as far ranging as Afghanistan, Mali, Puerto Rico and Thailand.
Pakistani artists continue to make waves internationally and instil a sense of pride the Pakistani art community. Shazia Sikander’s most recent show Ecstasy As Sublime, Heart As Vector curated by Hou Hanru and Anne Palopoli opened 22nd June 2016 at MAXXI, the National Museum of 21st Century Arts, the first Italian national institution devoted to contemporary creativity. Sikander observes the present through the lens of the imagination, symbols, literature and history of diverse cultural traditions. Her rich, complex oeuvre is housed for the first time in an Italian museum with this exhibition that shows the artist’s work from 1990’s to the present day. In the exhibition the artist has created a layout specifically for the museum with over 30 works in various media and idioms, from drawing to miniatures referring to the Indo-Persian tradition and from video to digital animation.
On a very similar note, Imran Qureshi is pushing boundaries with his latest work that will be presented in three venues across Cornwall this summer in a major project. His exhibition ‘See how the dark of night is red’ will be shown at both Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange in Penzance whilst a site-specific commission ‘After which, I am no more I, and you are no more you’ will occupy part of the nave of Truro Cathedral for the first three weeks of July. Imran has attracted considerable critical acclaim in recent years with his paintings and installations. He combines the techniques and motifs of Mughal miniature painting and the result is as always brilliant!
Bye for NOW