Wednesday April 17, 2024

First Karachi Biennale launch: a curtain-raiser

By Anil Datta
January 29, 2017

The Sadequain Gallery at Frere Hall was the venue of a curtain-raiser to the First Karachi Biennale scheduled for October 2017 on Saturday evening. It was meant to introduce the theme, objectives and programme of the biennale.

The Karachi Biennale will focus on connecting art with the city and its people through the theme, “Witness”. Noted artist Amin Gulgee is the curator. He has invited over a 100 national and international artists to interpret the theme of the biennale through a diversity of media that interprets the art of our times.

Saturday evening’s prgramme was a curtain- raiser to the October event. 

Abida Malik, member, Outreach Committee, compered the proceedings.

Chief guest Arshad Vohra, deputy mayor of Karachi, called the programme a “very positive gift to the city, especially in light of the political issues affecting the harmonious balance of the city’s temperament”. 

“Let us join hands to make our city a haven of peace and tranquility,” he said.

In reply to a request to name some public spaces in Karachi after the late Habib Fida Ali, noted architect, and Akbar Naqvi (in memory of both of whom a one-minute silence was observed), he said the city government would surely do so and had already named a street in the vicinity of the Frere Gardens as Sadequain Street.

Neelofer Farrukh, CEO and Managing Trustee, Karachi Biennale Trust, eulogised Sadequain and spoke of his vision for art in the country and for the country as such.

Amin Guljee lauded the fact that there were over 50 art galleries in town and said that the work selected for the biennale was both political and personal.

Noted artist Marjorie Hussain lauded Saturday evening’s exhibition and recalling a film being screened about the Karachi of yore said that it was a really nice nostalgic trip back in time. She hailed the holding of the programme.

Masuma Halai, chairperson , Outreach Committee, Karachi Bienalle, said, “We want to involve all the people to enhance the image of the city and make it known to the world that Karachi is a really happening place and erase to as much an extent as possible the bad press Karachi and the country have suffered.”

Later, Dr Asma Ibrahim, curator of the State Bank art gallery, presented a memento to Mehvish Siddiqui.

Anwar Rammal presented a memento to Deputy Mayor Arshad Vohra.

Marjorie Hussain presented mementos to Seemi Jaffery, CEO, Bond Advertising, and to Amina Gauhar Afzal, aka Pommy.

Murals tracing the history of art in Karachi and the various forms of art in town adorned the walls of the gallery, including the Dhaba Art Movement, and from the time of Partition to today’s Karachi, with the arrival of Attiya Faizi and Faizi Rahimin to Zubeida Agha and the present day.