I am delighted to announce that October 2014 marks ArtNow’s third anniversary as an online contemporary arts publication. And because after three years, ArtNow has grown to become more than just a magazine, I am equally pleased to present a new look which transforms the magazine into a truly multi-dimensional online platform.
It’s an exciting time to be part of the Pakistani art world – appreciation and understanding of contemporary art is increasing fast and we have tried to contribute by hosting talks, book launches, movie nights and more, and especially with our recent efforts in bringing art to the Karachi and Islamabad Literature Festivals. When we launched ArtNow, we envisioned it as a dynamic online presence for engaging with and promoting the best of Pakistani art, and we think the revamp fittingly complements our current activities and future goals.
Magazines have to stay nimble and adapt to the needs of their audience. For instance, since so many of us today access the web on our phones, we have made sure that our new website will be fully compatible with smart phones and tablets. Our new design has a fresh, modern look and with a more clearly demarcated structure and bolder colour scheme, has the feel of a tangible product. Articles will feature larger, brighter visuals and will be more interactive, with integrated comments and social media. The Archives are now more accessible and the website in general is easier to navigate.
New additions include a Features section, where we highlight what we think are key events and exhibitions taking place here or elsewhere and a Blogs section, which will feature shorter, more frequently updated entries. We have also provided an artist directory, and as we continue adding to it, we hope it will become an indispensible resource.
One of the reasons for this expansion is the need to bring Pakistani culture to the attention of an international audience , promote contemporary artists worldwide, and subsequently develop a more nuanced image of Pakistan – all of which requires communication and creating a cultural dialogue, both in person and online.
This week, I was invited to Austria by the Austro-Pakistan Society to speak to Viennese art world professionals about contemporary Pakistani art and its position in the global art world. The audience, which consisted of collectors, artists and museum directors, was highly receptive and showed a curiosity for Pakistani art that is most encouraging. The President of the Austro-Pakistan Society, art historian Simone Wille, is well known in Pakistani art circles for her research focusing on contemporary Pakistani art. Simone, whose next book will explore the development of modern art in Pakistan, has written extensively on the expansion of Pakistani art beyond national and regional borders. Her Excellency Ayesha Riyaz, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Austria, is likewise a strong supporter of art and culture and is helping to cultivate the growing interest in Pakistani art in Austria and beyond. I wish to extend my sincere thanks to my hosts for their invitation and warm welcome.
The timing of my trip was fortuitous, as I was able to attend Vienna Art Fair, a contemporary art fair in its second year. The Fair is international in range but does not lose its focus on its regional neighbours. Strong support for emerging artists means that the fair is highly accessible, especially to younger enthusiasts and collectors. It’s a model that we could look to for inspiration. Though young, the Pakistani art scene shows cause for optimism – and I have no doubt that we too will be hosting such fairs in the not-too-distant future.
In the meantime, we do hope you will enjoy the new ArtNow and send us your comments and suggestions.
Bye for NOW.