From the archaic settlements to contemporary town planning, human beings have marked areas, built boundaries and drew borders, all which are used for containing a community within safe surroundings. A person living in the twenty-first century, especially from our developing countries, often experiences problem of crossing borders. Long ques of Visa to European nations and the USA – whether physical or virtual – are normal scenarios. Anyone who gets a stamp for travelling to another country considers himself lucky. In spite the fact that moving from one’s homeland to a foreign place is time-consuming, traumatic and troublesome.
I remember going to India several years ago. Our group with passports in their palms, their luggage held by porters, were about to cross the white stripe that separates India and Pakistan; except that Lahori porters were not allowed to step across the line, so they put suitcases on that painted patch. While we were waiting for porters from the other side to come and pick our baggage and an immigration officer to see our valid Visas before we enter the neighbouring territory, I spotted a dog who was leisurely crossing the boundary between India and Pakistan. Likewise clouds in the sky were moving from one zone to other; birds and flies were freely flying from one region to next. But it was us who had to wait, stress and struggle to pass the lines created by mankind.
Ideas are also like air, clouds, fragrance, sunshine, which move without the limitation of boundaries. A person living in a faraway land is heir to and aware of whatever is happening in other parts of the planet. A phenomenon that have become more swift in the age of information technology. Now with the click of a button one can access books stored in libraries of other continents, or set foot into museums located thousands of miles away.
Art is also an idea, in a tangible form; and in the present world it travels beyond its borders. With the increase in investment business, art market has also expanded in the age of globalization. Biennales, triennials, art fairs and auctions are events in which artworks and artists from different nations are viewed at one venue. The popularity of these endeavours has transformed the earlier notion of certain cities: New York, London, Paris, Berlin as the centres of art; now there are a number of other capitals of art in the world including Dubai, Delhi, Dhaka, Fukuoka, Brisbane, Beirut, Cairo and Colombo etc.
The decentralizing of art power has encouraged a diversity in approaches, attitudes and tastes. Perhaps the most important of such ventures in the region of Middle East and South Asia is the Art Dubai, with its 12th edition taking place this year. This month Art Now Pakistan focuses on the phenomenon of art travelling beyond its physical border, a journey that envisages other, more conceptual trespassing. Essays, Profile, and Interview deal with the concept of art and artists seen in another context. And how the shift of context alters/effects the content. Art Dubai and other such places are occasions for artists from a region, like Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh to meet, who do live next door, but find it hard to get into each other’s country. In as similar sense, Art Now Pakistan is a magazine not bound to one territory, but a platform on which individuals from across the world could meet, converse and communicate.