Home News Second Karachi Biennale 2019 to commence from 26th October

Second Karachi Biennale 2019 to commence from 26th October


By Rafiq Vayani

KARACHI: After the success of the first Karachi Biennale, Karachi Biennale Trust will be launching the second edition of Karachi Biennale on 26th October 2019. As Pakistan’s largest contemporary art event, The Second Karachi Biennale (KB19) will present a host of multi-disciplinary artist, both from Pakistan and International. This was stated by Niilofur Farrukh CEO and Managing Trustee, Karachi Biennale Trust in her welcome speech where she was briefing the members of the press and bloggers present at the press conference of this second edition of Karachi Biennale. This second edition of Karachi Biennale (KB19) will commence from 26th October 2019 and will continue at various locations throughout Karachi till 12th November 2019. Press conference was jointly chaired by Niilofur Farrukh, CEO and Managing Trustee, Karachi Biennale Trust (KBT), Bushra Hussain General Secretary, Karachi Biennale Trust (KBT) and Mr. Gilles Pascal, Director Alliance Franҫaise De Karachi (AFK).

More than 100 participating artists come from all parts of Pakistan and from 16 countries from all over the world. This includes globally recognized names like Alice Kettle, Amin Gulgee, Arsalan Nasir, Hamra Abbas, Imran Qureshi, Rashid Rana, R.M. Naeem, Sven Johne and Vitorine Müller.

Muhammad Zeeshan’s curatorial practice defines a new attitude in art that foregrounds the urgencies of our time. He has conceptualized three Sanat Residencies and has been a mentor to its young participants. This Curatorial thrust in to empower marginalized talent with opportunities and likes to work across generations to activate overlaps and divergences. Muhammad Zeeshan has an established art practice and his work is a part of permanent collections at Metropolitan Museum of Art at New York, the British Museum London and the Fukoka Asian Art Museum. His public projects include the Art Park in the Dubai Art Fair and Ishtehaar Lagaana Mana Hai, Public Air Project, KoCa Berlin.

The Karachi Biennale Trust (KBT) was founded in 2016, when Karachi was facing its worst violence. A group of visual art professionals and educators saw the biennale as an intervention to bring together a fractured city by engaging with heritage sites, its history and its diverse communities. KBT has evolved into a dynamic platform to promote creativity, innovation and critically in the field of visual arts. It creates opportunities for exposure and experience for artist and for art professionals, discursive exchanges, research and residencies to achieve critical perspectives. The mandate of KBT is also to create an audience for art by connecting art, the city and its people. The entrance to Karachi Biennale KB19 is free and open to all. It has a strong public programming with tours, keynote talks, workshops and many more throughout two weeks.  

The theme for second edition of Karachi Biennale (KB19) is Ecology, which will be presented under the rubric Flight Interrupted: Eco-Leaks from the Invasion Desk, which focuses on the devastating ‘development footprint’ the world over. Flight interrupted refers to the local birds with low flight that have lost their nesting places and disappeared with high rise building in Karachi. Through this new formation each artist will bring through research and observation the Eco-Leaks that will come from different parts of the planet under environmental threat.  

at KB19 the works will be installed across Karachi at 7 venues and that includes two parks also. The venues are 1) Bagh-e-Ibne-Qasim, 2) IVS Gallery, 3) Mahvash & Jehangir Siddiqui Gallery at Alliance Francaise-de-Karachi, 4) Sadequain Gallery, Frere Hall, 5) NED University, 6) Karachi Zoo, 7) VM Art Gallery, Rangoonwala Hall.

KB19 is a ‘Green Biennale’. Responding to the leitmotif the artists will probe into the possibilities of using sustainable, re-usable and re-cyclable materials for the production of the their works which will coalesce with sustainable exhibition design that was realized through the confluence of KB19 swiss Architect Nele Dechmann and supported by Swiss Arts Council Pro-helvetia and two Pakistani architects Khadija-tul-Kubra and Moeena Niazi. The production of sustainable exhibition design tool will help us as a long term project that will text out ideas at KB19 and continue to explore materials that can gradually replace environmentally harmful practices in installing large temporary events.

This app will serve as an electronic guide for the visitors and will provide information on venues, artists and programming of KB19.

KB19 offers five prizes to artists to recognize their contribution and the prizes are;          

1) KB19 – H.M Habib Lifetime Achievement Art Prize. This Prize will be awarded to a senior art professional with a practice of at least 5 decades. 2) KB19 – Popular Choice Art Prize. This will be given to artist selected via the visitors’ vote on the Visitors App. During last KB17 Shahzia Sikander received highest number of votes. 3) KB19 – Mahvash & Jehangir Siddiqui Foundation Juried Art prize. An eminent jury of national and international jury will select the best work at KB19. 4) KB19 – Peek Freans Emerging Artist Prize. As the name of the prize suggests this will be given to emerging artist and last year it went to Arsalan Nasir. He will be privileged to exhibit his prize winning work at KB19. 5) KB19 – Langdon-Malik Performance Art Prize. This will be awarded to the most outstanding performative work by a participating artist. A panel of eminent jurors will select the awardee. 

Guided school tours will be held at Bagh-e-ibne-Qasim, Karachi Zoo and Frere Hall from Monday to Thursday for children from schools all over the city. Guided public tours for visitors on Wednesday.

National and international scholars will give keynote talks on art, environment, traditional practices and urban development on October 27 and October 28 from 04:00 ~ 06:00 pm at JS Auditorium, City Campus and Institute of Business Administration (IBA).

Weekly art teachers workshop will be held by experienced professionals to explore KB19 as a teaching resource.

Weekly tours will be led by the KB19 curator for art students to investigate KB19 like a temporary museum of contemporary art.

As Australian group GEMAH will conduct the workshop and talk to develop connections between art and therapy for youth, particularly for young professionals. 

Sensory installations will create an opportunity for interactive participation for audience at Bagh-e-ibne-Qasim throughout the week. Karachi Biennale 2019 KB19 is free and open to all.

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