In our February issue, which is themed “Creating Karachi”, we look at how artists in urban areas, especially cities like Karachi, with their attractions and distractions, noise and fervor, react to the city as a subject. The city can be a source of tension for its inhabitants, but it can also serve as a muse for its more artistic minds, who relish the ferment of creativity which arises from the chaos and frenzy of life in today’s mega-cities.
We chose this theme for the issue because February is an exciting month for Karachi and for ArtNow, featuring an arts-and-culture-packed beginning to the new year. Coming up first is Art Fest at the Sindh Festival, two weeks of exhibitions and performances taking place at Frere Hall. As an official supporter of Art Fest, which is being organized by Canvas Gallery and VASL Artists Collective, ArtNow is organizing talks, gallery visits, and children’s art classes. In Pakistan, public sector participation in the arts is almost nonexistent, so we are exciting to be participating in one of the largest public-private cultural initiatives to date.
Our first talk takes place on Monday, 3rd February and features writer and critic Marjorie Husain, who was recently recognized at the Pride of Karachi Awards for her efforts and support of the art scene in Pakistan. You can read more about Marjorie’s life in the arts and her friendships with the leading artists in Art Now’s profile of her, Memoirs of Art in Pakistan. Our next Art Fest event takes place on Wednesday, 5th February, when our editor Quddus Mirza discusses the art scene of Karachi and expands upon some of the topics touched upon in his editorial and the articles in the issue.
The second week of the month kicks off the annual Karachi Literature Festival, which for the first time features a dedicated Art Section, organized by ArtNow. The Art Section features three full days of lively debate on significant issues in South Asian art and emerging practices in the contemporary art of Pakistan. A series of conversations and panel discussions, an art exhibition and a photography exhibition, and an art book reading corner provide a venue for artists, writers and publishers to discuss hot topics in art, feature their works and display publications. The exhibitions and talks tackle issues such as the relation of politics to art, writing about art, how young artists develop in relation to their environment, and the civil and social history of Karachi.
We hope that the Art Section will be an exciting new addition to an already dynamic and energetic festival. Advancing Pakistani art, promoting the spirit of creativity, and encouraging critical discourse is central to ArtNow’s mission. There is considerable convergence between our goals and that of KLF: we both speak to an audience at home and abroad, reminding them that our rich cultural heritage is by no means lost or even overshadowed, and has in fact evolved and kept pace with modernity.
For more information on Art Fest and the Art Section at KLF, or if you have any suggestions or feedback you would like to communicate, please do contact us.
Bye for NOW.