Welcome readers to our June issue of ArtNow! Wish you all the blessings of Eid.
In June we introduce our readers to the ‘The Far Pavilion – Venice Biennale’, which is focusing on Pakistan’s first Pavilion at the recently inaugurated La Biennale di Venezia. This month includes in-depth articles by author and critic Simone Wille and Saira Ansari, on the success of Naiza Khan’s exhibition as the first ever display at our country’s national Pavilion. Naiza’s work explores the contemporary life on Manora Island in her solo exhibition titled ‘Manora Field Notes’. The issue is also carries exclusive interviews with Zahra Khan and Naiza Khan as they each walks us through their successful journey to Venice Biennale. Also included in this issue is an in-depth Profile of Jamal Shah, director general of the Pakistan National Arts Council, the appointed Commissioner from Pakistan for the Pavilion by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
I extend my heartiest congratulations to Naiza Khan for representing Pakistan at the Venice Biennale for the first time, and young, brilliant curator Zahra Khan.
Venice has become the main hub this month for artists. Venice Biennale inaugurated its 58th tier with the theme, ‘May you live in interesting times’. Congratulations to Ralph Rugoff, curator of Venice Biennale, for setting another benchmark this year. The Biennale features 79 artists from around the world whose artworks comprising of videos, paintings, digital and spatial work are being displayed. Rugoff brilliantly executed the idea of diving and showing the works in two different sections – Arsenale and the Central Pavilion in the Giardini. Artists explore the ‘post-truth era’ of their times and focus on the alternative facts that artists have to deal with.
Kudos again to Imran Qureshi for the display of his solo exhibition in Paris at the Pantin Gallery titled ‘The seeming endless path of memory’. The exhibition, which opened with a captivating performance by the artist, reclaims the deeply rooted Mughal Miniature style from the 16th, – 19th centuries that explores the infinite and depicts figures, flora and fauna and calligraphy. Must see!
Congratulations to upcoming artist, Ahmed Javed for being the first Pakistani Grand Prize winner by achieving an historic, almost perfect score from the judging panel and Munawar Ali Syed for the Public Vote Prize at this year’s Sovereign Asian Prize. The artists were selected from a group of several artists selected across the Asia-Pacific. I would like to mention that the Grand Prize and Public Vote Prize, two of the highest prizes by the Sovereign Art Foundation, were awarded to Pakistani artists. Sovereign Art Foundation tends to discern and promote the growing contemporary art talent in Asia. The Sovereign Asian Art Prize is a contemporary art prize in Asia-Pacific, which raises funds by auctioning the artworks of the shortlisted artists and then divides the proceedings equally between the artist and the foundation. The proceeds go towards the benefit of disadvantaged children.
Several exhibitions and art programs were held in the month of Ramadan. Canvas Gallery had a solo display of works by Anjum Alix Noon, which highlighted the narcissistic dangers of ‘the selfie’. Koel Gallery held an art exhibition of the faculty of Centre of Excellence in Art & Design, Jamshoro, featuring talented artists including, Amjad Ali Talpur Abdul Malik Channa Jam Deepar Nizam Dahri Nusrat Raza Mangi Pir Najeebullah Shah Raj Kumar, Kashif Shahzad Shoukat Ali Saba Qayoom Safdar Ali Qureshi Sandleen Maqsood Usra Shaikh and Zubair Ahmed Bhutto.
ArtNow will soon be publishing VOL V of its print edition, and will feature an exciting collection of articles, photo essays, retrospective, interviews, guest editorials and In Focus essays.
It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to the legendary artist, Jamil Naqsh, who passed away last month in London. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family. May his soul rest in eternal peace. Ameen
Jamil Naqsh was born in Kairana, India in 1939, and later moved to Karachi, Pakistan. In his early teens, he had the experience of traveling alone through Chittagong, Calcutta and Colombo. He learned a lot about life in that harsh journey. Naqsh trained as a miniaturist under former NCA professor Ustaad Haji Sharif in Lahore. He was the recipient of Sitara-e-Imtiaz (2009) and Pride of Performance (1989). Naqsh resided in London since 2012. The death of Jamil Naqsh is a great loss to the art community. He will be greatly missed!
Bye for Now