Letter from Editor in Chief


Letter from Editor in Chief

ArtNow was thrilled to present artist Imran Qureshi with the 3rd ArtNow Achievement Award at Art Dubai 2016 Terrace Talks: Focus Pakistan. One of the

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ArtNow was thrilled to present artist Imran Qureshi with the 3rd ArtNow Achievement Award at Art Dubai 2016 Terrace Talks: Focus Pakistan. One of the most important representatives of Pakistan’s art scene, Imran Qureshi, born in 1972 in Hyderabad, Pakistan, is considered to be one of Asia’s most foremost contemporary artists. His work reclaims the regionally and historically rooted discipline of miniature painting and transports it to the present day and constitutes a unique synthesis of the genre’s motifs and techniques with current issues and the formal language of contemporary abstract painting.
Imran incorporates personal observations on everyday life in present-day Pakistan into his work while acknowledging that violence can be met with not only in his native country, but in many cultures and societies worldwide. Imran Qureshi’s works have been exhibited around the world including at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan. In 2009, his work was seen at the 53rd Venice Biennial; and in 2013, he was named Deutsche Bank ‘Artist of the Year’. Imran lives in Lahore where he teaches at the National College of Art.
He was accompanied by his equally renowned wife, Aisha Khalid, whose works has been exhibited around the world at various art fairs and museums including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and Sharjah Biennale among others.
The ArtNow Achievement Award honours Pakistani individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the fine arts of Pakistan. The inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award was given to the artist, critic and curator Rasheed Araeen at Art Dubai 2014, in recognition of his artistic and cultural achievements. ArtNow is an online, monthly publication offering critical insight into the art of Pakistan, with essays, profiles, reviews, studio visits, news and updates from around the world. The 2nd Lifetime Achievement award to Jalal Uddin Ahmed for his significant contributions towards the promotion and documentation of the arts of Pakistan and the Islamic world.
Members of the Lahore Biennale Foundation team and recently appointed Artistic Director Rashid Rana were also at ArtDubai, where they had a presence at Terrace Talks: Focus Pakistan the Inaugural Lahore Biennale on March 16, 2016. LBF Executive Director Qudsia Rahim introduced Rana to the audience, followed by a riveting conversation between him and Hans Ulrich Obrist (Co-Director, Exhibitions and Programs, Serpentine Galleries). The discussion focused on the significance of the biennale for Lahore and Pakistan, and the desire for diverse modes of engagement within a distinct curatorial vision. With the attention of the art community directed towards him, Rana revealed a bit more about his plans for the Lahore Biennale 2017: “I am working on an idea that goes beyond ‘Public Art.’ The city serves not just as a site but also as a medium. The aim is to create a biennale ‘without walls,’ in every sense of the term.”
The tenth edition of Art Dubai was the most global so far, with a wonderful representation of the Pakistani art scene. Rising star Basir Mahmood was nominated for this year’s Abraaj Group Art Prize along with four other artists. For Art Dubai, he created a work entitled Sketch for Missing Letters, in which he deliberates on beginning and endings, from the writing and mailing of letters that are never received, to situations where disused artefacts from one culture are newly adapted in another. Using video, film and photography, Basir Mahmood weaves various threads of thoughts, findings and insights into poetic sequences and various forms of narrative. Since 2011, his works have been shown widely, including at Palais de Tokyo, the Broad Museum at Michigan State University, the Asia Pacific Triennial 2012 and Sharjah Biennial 2013.
Modernist and contemporary Pakistani artists featured prominently at a number of gallery booths. Mumbai’s Jhaveri Contemporary featured at the works of Iftikhar Dadi & Elizabeth Dadi and Anwar Jalal Shemza; New York’s Aicon Gallery showed Adeela Suleman and Abdullah M.I. Syed, amongst other South Asian artists. Woodcut prints by Zarina Hashmi were shown at two spaces, Sakshi Gallery and Jeanne Bucher Jaeger. Project 88, also situated in Mumbai, featured a number of works by Risham Syed, and Waqas Khan was represented at Sabrina Amrani Gallery. At Art Dubai Modern, London’s Grosvenor Gallery featured the works of Sadeqain and Abdur Rahman Chughtai.
Art Dubai has long been a strong supporter of South Asian art, and is an international hub for collectors, artists and galleries from across South Asia, functioning as a site for curatorial research, cultural exchange and in establishing a greater understanding of the evolution of the art scene within the region. This edition was one of the most successful years of the fair to date with fantastic efforts by Director Antonia Carver and team, reaffirming the fair’s position as the world’s most global fair, welcoming international and regional artists, collectors, private museums, institutions and curators from over 90 countries worldwide.


Later this month, we are excited to present the third edition of the Islamabad Literature Festival Art Section, which will feature conversation with Adeela Suleman, book launches on Anwar Jalal Shemza and Sadequain, talks on the “Business of Art”, the role of the gallery in terms of promoting art, educating public and creating history of visual arts; “City as Art, Art in the City”, how public spaces can be part of changing scenarios and situations of art, like Lahore Biennale; “Art of Curating”, a discussion on the role and challenges of curators), representations of gender, and more. At this year’s ILF, we hope to extend the impact of February’s KLF Art Section to Islamabad, showing how the arts impact all forms of cultural life, broadening the scope of what it means to be an artist and engage with art, and enriching the Pakistani art scene.
We look forward to you joining us on 15th, 16th and 17th April at Lok Virsa Islamabad. To stay up to date on the Art Section Programme, please sign up for our mailing list or visit our Facebook page.
Bye for NOW.