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March 16, 2018

Two-week art festival from 18th


March 16, 2018

LAHORE: The Lahore Biennale Foundation (LBF) has announced that its Lahore Biennale 01 (LB01) - the two-week festival, taking place between March 18th to March 31st, will be held at seven major venues.

Lahore has long been the cultural hub of Pakistan; deeply entrenched in various expressions of art. Yet, the city remains obscure on international fora when it comes to engaging artistic practice with diverse people.

Given the limited representation of Pakistan in global media, and the relative scarcity of regional dialogues within South Asia, there is a real urgency to foster a deeper and multifaceted dialogue between Lahore, the region, and the rest of the world.

While the concept of a 14-day cultural programme is appealing, even more exciting is that the event will engage over 50 artists from Bangladesh, India, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, as well as from Europe and the United States. Encapsulating the uniqueness of Lahore as a location, artist projects will be exhibited at venues across the city that have strong cultural and historical references. The renowned sites of Lahore Fort, Shahi Hammam, Mubarak Haveli and Tehsil Park, Lahore Museum, Alhamra Art Centre, Bagh-e-Jinnah, and the main Canal Road will be turned into sites for compelling visual display.

Lahorites will be able to view works from prominent names in art, including Amar Kanwar, Naeem Mohaiemen, Shazia Sikander and Shirin Neshat. Artists presenting major new commissions will include Ali Kazim, Awami Art Collective, Aisha Khalid, and Imran Qureshi. In addition, there will be talks and performances that will discuss the subject matter in great detail, while keeping visitors enthralled.

Musician Ali Sethi and composer Du Yun will perform on the opening day, while a performance by Salima Hashmi along with a performance reading by Nazia Khan will close the event. The LB01 will feature several public programmes that include the “Academic Forum” and “Commissioned and Curated Exhibitions.”

The Academic Forum will be a 14-day programme organised by Iftikhar Dadi that will bring in curators, critics, and scholars to Lahore as an integral dimension of the Lahore Biennale 01. The forum will include public lectures, panel discussions, and workshops presented by artists and academics who work on Asia and the global South.

ArtSPEAK is a public programme, first initiated by the Lahore Biennale Foundation in 2015 to provide a platform for critical discourse on diverse topics of interest to creative practitioners. For LB01, artSPEAK will continue this ethos by engaging with practitioners whose work is part of the Biennale.

This curated series of lectures and panels organised by Aziz Sohail will highlight elements of artistic practices, with the audience being a key interlocutor. It allows for the audience to engage with the work on display, and for the artists to re-examine their own practices.

The Youth Forum, Lahore, aims to create artistic engagement for youths from all over the country, and from across various economic spheres. Its main aim is to expose children and adults between the ages of eight to 16 to contemporary and public art.

Workshop programmes in several areas of art-making and writing will begin from March 19th, and continue for the duration of the Biennale at the Bagh-e-Jinnah.

Invitation to Action will be an exhibition at Mubarak Haveli organised by affiliate curator Mariah Lookman. It takes its critical cue from the double-edged title of a short sketch by Saadat Hassan Manto on the nature of mindless violence during and after the partition of India in 1947. Participating artists in this exhibition include: Aisha Khalid, Alia Syed, Ayesha Jatoi, Ayesha Sultana, Asvajit Boyle, LalaRukh, Mahbub Shah, Minam Apang, Muhanned Cader, Rasel Chowdhry, T Shanaathanan, and Zahoorul Akhlaq. In a special segment of LB01, curated by artist Imran Qureshi in cooperation with the Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, a miniature-painting atelier will be set up at the Maktab Khana, Lahore Fort from March 10th to March 25th. The atelier will include and showcase the skill of over 20 Pakistani miniaturists.

Overall, the LB01 looks to have an incredibly packed and interesting schedule; and as a first for Lahore, it looks to have built on all the best that this great city has to offer.

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