Time cannot be contained and chained to a dial with numerical or a sheet with dates and days, since it flows seamlessly from past to present and into future; making it difficult to determine the differentiating line between these arbitrary demarcations.
Yet we create borders and call them hours, days, months, years, decades, centuries, millenniums. Pure abstractions. On the eve of each new year, we tend to look back, reflect and assess what has joined the eternity of no-return and plan for what comes next. In our January 2020 issue, Art Now Pakistan is also surveying past, although in a selective manner, as it is impossible to bring everything back from memory. Individual or collective. However, what is missed by no means, means less important or insignificant in comparison to what is offered at the moment.
History, of a nation, faith, culture, art, is written and rewritten, because unlike sacred texts, it is a subject renewed at every stage. Which demands reflection, revision and even rejection, sometimes. What presented here on the first morning of 2020, is a re-viewing of all that has already been published in these pages, but separately. The act to compile excerpts from Profiles and Interviews from the issues of last two years is an attempt to see art in a wider context. Levitating from personal cults and transcending individual successes, to see art of this country as a collective course.
The recent past, particularly the last two years, has been an active period in the art of Pakistan, with two biennales of the country (Karachi and Lahore), Pakistan’s participation at the 58th edition of Venice Biennale, Islamabad Art Fair, the inauguration of Jamil Naqsh Museum in Karachi and COMO Museum in Lahore, Pakistani artists participating at prestigious international art events, as well as having solo exhibitions around the world: like Rasheed Araeen’s retrospective at Van Ebbe Museum Netherlands, Basir Mahmood’s Artist Profile at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Bani Abidi’s survey exhibition at Sharjah Art Foundation, Rashid Rana’s solo booth at Armory Show New York, Risham Syed’s exhibition at Purdy Hick Gallery London, Waqas Khan at Gallerie Krinzinger Vienna, as well as at Manchester Art Gallery, where Risham Syed, Mehreen Murtaza and Tentative Collective also had their solo shows, Imran Qureshi at Gallery Ropac of Pantin in Paris, Hamra Abbas at Lawrie Shabibi Dubai, Jamil Naqsh at Pontone Gallery London, Mohammad Ali Talpur at Austin/Desmond Fine Art London, Ghulam Mohammad and Wardha Shbbir at Grosvenor Gallery London – to name a few.
This list, which is incomplete, inconclusive, thus incomprehensible for a few, is a way to proclaim how the artists of this country are making their mark, and marking their presence on the map of world art. A valuable addition, which is bound to be more visible, vigorous and valiant in years ahead.