Welcome all, to the July 2018 issue of ArtNow, “Terrain”. This issue brings its focus on the art educational system of Pakistan, with themed essays outlining its journey, perspectives and pitfalls, articulated by Sana Kazi and Samina Iqbal. The Photo Essay by Raheel Lakhani explores the terrain of Muzzafarabad and its journey to rehabilitation through the resilience of human nature after the devastating earthquake of 2005. We also have exciting profiles on Khadim Ali, Akram Dost Baloch and Noorjehan Bilgrami, who sheds light on her curatorial project at the new Islamabad International Airport, while Retrospectives looks at the life and works of late Ahmed Parvez from the perspective of his beloved daughter Noorie Parvez. Art Spaces turns towards Canvas Gallery in Karachi and its two decades in the art landscape of Pakistan. The guest editor for this issue is the German Consul General Rainer Schmiedchen.
June was another quiet month for art, slowly sidling out of its post-Eid haze towards the end of the month. However, things have been quiet on the international front as well. Frieze London and Frieze Masters announce their return from 5th to 7th October, 2018, marking the most significant week of the year for art in London. The 160 galleries participating in the fair will respond to contemporary issues with the art community, such as the under-representation of women in the market place, while Frieze Masters will be looking at 6000 years of art history from all over the world. The displays will be supplemented by special curated sections and discussions and art discourse for deeper insight into current art practices and art world debates.
A number of other international art fairs have also announced their 2018 schedules. Art Jakarta, the most prominent art fair in Indonesia and the region, will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, returning in August. Since its inception in 2009, the art fair has been working towards developing the Indonesian art market and discovering new talents to enhance its contemporary art scene. In the Middle East, the Beirut Art Fair returns for its 2018 edition in September. The fair has emerged as a significant pathway into the contemporary art scene of the MENA region, not only contributing to the development of Beirut as a vibrant center for Modern and contemporary art, but also of the region at large. Over its 8 years in operation, the fair has become an important international event driving visitors to Lebanon from all over the world, its various initiatives facilitating the valuation of the rich local talent. At the cusp of East and West, Contemporary Istanbul provides us with look into Turkey’s vibrant art scene, returning for its 13th edition in September. This year the fair has instigated ‘A Week Full of Art’ and promises to bring forth a richer program, establishing Istanbul as a key player and an influencer in contemporary art world conversations.
Our own presence in the international art scene has been meager but exciting. Waqas Khan displayed his works at Art Basel this month with Galerie Krinzinger. As always, his works inspire a sense of solitude, while at the same time exuding a sense of exhilaration. His intricate, meditative technique mesmerizes the senses and beckons one closer for a more intimate experience. Art Basel is one of the world’s most prominent art fairs taking place in Switzerland, featuring 290 of the world’s leading galleries with works by 4000 artists.
In New York, Pakistani artist and writer Salima Hashmi’s curatorial project recently opened at Aicon Gallery. “Pale Sentinels: Metaphors for Dialogues” is a tribute to Priya Ravish Mehra and features works by prominent artists from Pakistan and India. The late artist’s work uses rafoogari’s traditional textile darners as a metaphor for healing and repair within the fabric of life. The show focuses on the mementos and dual narratives of 1947, with artists on both sides of the border brought together to reflect on the event and its complex repercussions on the next 70 years.
I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to AAN Foundation for the launch of their Artist in Residence Program earlier last month, in collaboration with C3A, Centre for Contemporary Art in Cordoba, Spain, and to Adeel Uz Zafar for being selected as its first artist in residence. As a result fo this collaboration, AAN Foundation will be supporting the residency of one artist/curator or writer from Pakistan and its diaspora, providing them with the opportunity to engage with the other artists in residence from Europe, as well as with the rich cultural heritage of Spain. The residency will take place in Autumn this year and the culminating works from the residency will be displayed at the AAN Gandhara Art-Space in Karachi. I look forward to witnessing the artist’s contributions to the program and the ways in which he will take his exquisite practice forward.
Various art spaces in Karachi are currently seeing times of progress as well as tribulation. My congratulations go out to Sanat Initiative for their 4th anniversary. With close to a hundred shows now under their belt, and an international presence with a booth at Art Dubai, the gallery has made tremendous waves in this short period, creating a significant place for themselves on the Pakistani art map. I look forward to see where the gallery goes from here and wish the team all the best for its future endeavors. Art Chowk Gallery recently celebrated the expansion of their display space with the 31st iteration of Potpourri, which began in 2008, bringing a collection of works from the gallery’s artists. The show started as an initiative to bring together an amalgam of voices from the Pakistani art scene, and now features 200 artworks spanning the entirety of contemporary art practice in the country. Chawkandi Art Gallery, however, recovers from a loss of one of their oldest gallery staff members, Shabbir Hussain, for whom they have put together a Benevolent Fund. The show opened recently with donated works by the gallery’s various artists, on sale at reasonable rates to raise funds for a new house for the late Shabbir Hussain’s family. I would like to offer my condolences and offer prayers for the deceased, his family, and the gallery team.
Lastly, I would like to mention the open call issued by Nigaah Art Magazine for the second Nigaah Art Awards set to take place in August. The Awards were inaugurated last year with a widely successful ceremony. The Awards acknowledge contributions of upcoming and seasoned artists in various categories, a list of which has been posted on their website along with application forms and procedures. The esteemed jury for the awards include art critic Marjorie Hussain, artist, art critic and Professor Quddus Mirza, Member Board of Governors, NCA, Adil Salahuddin, Artist and art educator, R.M. Naeem, and professor media sciences, Taimur Ahmed Suri. I especially urge young artists to take advantage of this opportunity and send in their submission.
Bye for NOW!