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Politics of arts, need for public space discussed at IBA’s panel discussion


May 10, 2019

Politics of arts and public space were discussed at a panel discussion conducted by the Department of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts (SSLA) of the Institute of Business Administration in collaboration with the Karachi Biennale Trust (KBT) at the IBA main campus.

The panel, moderated by Assistant Professor SSLA Dr Naveen Minai, comprised Assistant Curator KB Noor Ahmed, Atteqa Malik, trustee Global Outreach Chair and KBT trust, Malahat Awan, head of IBA’s Corporate Relations and Communications Department and president Tehzeeb Foundation and lecturer SSLA Palvashay Sethi.

Dr Minai overviewed the brief history of global art exhibitions. “The Venice Biennale 1895 is from where the idea of contemporary art exhibitions started. In the 1890s, a lot was happening around the world which affected the understanding of arts and how it was perceived,”

While talking about the understanding of public art and spaces and the need for the KB, Malik said that when the Biennale was envisioned there was a lot of trouble going on in the city, and then the artist community sat together and brainstormed what could be done to counter the then prevailing situation. They kept art out of galleries and placed it in public spaces to let the citizens engage with the art.

Awan emphasised on the need to add more physical and intellectual avenues and spaces in the city where such discourses could be organised. “For a city like Karachi, we need to have a handful of auditoriums to stage theater and music. Events like the KE, Tehzeeb festival, Karachi Literature Festival, and IBA’s ThinkFest are attended by people because they like to explore art,” she highlighted.

“Any conversation about art and public space cannot take place without having a simultaneous conversation about where and how those interventions are taking place,” Sethi said while talking about public intervention in public spaces.

Ahmed explained that the definition of public art varies according to the nature of the public. “We did not think about the definition of public art when we were designing the theoretical framework of the Biennale. What ultimately came down was that we were trying to create these connections in the public realm and art would be the medium through which the connection will exist.”

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