REEL ON HAI, June 2016-2017

The most extensive Public Art Project in Pakistan

“ The dynamics of holding a biennale in a mega city are very different from those of smaller cities. In order to penetrate the fabric of the city, the Karachi Biennale 2017 has planned an extensive outreach program that aims to span 18 union councils of the city, “ Masuma Halai Khwaja Chairperson Public Outreach Committee.

Reel On Hai is an ambitious public art project, aiming to rescue and transform discarded cable reels into works of art. 100 artists, designers, and architects will work on-site in parks, schools, hospitals, colleges, and other public places to engage communities through activities designed around the work, and sensitize them to art and the role it plays in projecting the dynamism of a people. KB Public Outreach Committee Chair, Masuma Halai Khwaja. Team includes Nasheed Imran, Bina Ali, Khushbu Shaukat, Ali Imani, Mohsin Sayeed, Shehzar Abro, Fatema Mandviwala, Zoya Nasir Iqbal, Safa Fareed, Ambareen Kazim Thompson, and Ainee Shehzad.

Main Activity Partner: Pakistan Cables Pvt. Ltd. Paint Partner: Akzonobel Pakistan Ltd.




Workshop by Faisal Anwar

Faisal Anwar is a Pakistani Canadian interactive, new media, and installation artist. He is fascinated by hybrid cities and uses social data to map people’s perceptions of private vs public spaces and social interactivity in modern urban cultures. He recently conducted photography workshops at the NJV School (primary venue of KB17) and at Orangi Pilot Project (OPP).
Anwar’s Karachi workshops were directed at new ways of seeing and mapping participants’ perceptions of their existence.

Faisal Anwar`s Workshop for Karachi Biennale from ART TV PAKISTAN on Vimeo.

Workshop by Ivan Lam

Regarded as one of Malaysia’s most progressive contemporary artists, Ivan Lam’s practice involves various media, combined with inspiration from popular culture, autobiography, current affairs, and every-day scenery. He recently visited Karachi, in April 2017 to conduct interactive workshops with schoolchildren at the NJV School, primary venue of the Karachi Biennale 2017.

Curatorial Workshop with Malaysian artist from ART TV PAKISTAN on Vimeo.

New Art Forms & Social / Interactivity
Talk by Faisal Anwar

13th March 2017

The Pakistani Canadian New media artist, introduced the work of three Canadian artists including his own practice. Faisal Anwar’s work bridges technology, art and the public. His acclaimed projects are immersive and bend the spaces between public and private.

Dr Nick Merriman (New North and South Network) visit

Dr Nick Merriman of New North and South Network (NNSN), met the KB17 team to discuss exchanges and collaborations in the next three years. Nick Merrimen was introduced to art professionals and collectors of Karachi. The NNSN is a network of eleven arts organisations from the North of England and South Asia, that aims to create dialogue, celebrate shared heritage across continents and develop artistic talent.

Dec 14 2016

The Annual Prince Claus Fund Prize Ceremony invited Karachi Biennale Chief Curator Amin Gulgee as a special guest when it honoured T2F and its founder Sabeen Mahmud. Marvi Mazhar from T2F, who is also a KB colleague, was in Amsterdam to receive the award.

November 21 2016

Meet and Greet in honour of Professor Bernhart Schwenk, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Pinakothek der Moderne Munich. Arranged by Karachi Biennale Outreach Committee in collaboration with Goethe Institute and T2F.

8 to 11 July 2016

Karachi Biennale Trustee Bushra Hussain and Chief Curator Amin Gulgee invited to visit British Council New North South Network meeting during Liverpool Biennale

Dec 2016

Chief Curator Amin Gulgee introduced Karachi Biennale at a seminar Columbo Biennale

21 November 2016

Karachi Biennale introduced and discussed at the Istanbul International Art Fair . Speakers Niilofur Farrukh CEO Karachi Biennale , Marek Bartelik President Aica International and Burcu Pehalvanaglo, Aica Turkey

28 April 2016

Karachi Biennale organises a meet and greet for Karachi artists with Manchester Art Gallery curators Natasha Howes and Clare Gannaway in collaboration with VM Gallery Karachi

22nd March 2016

Karachi Biennale invited Alnoor Mitha, Curator of Asia Triennial Manchester to talk at Indus Valley School Gallery supported by the British Council Karachi and VM Gallery #karachiBiennale, #ivs #alnoormitha

March 2016

Media artist Wolfgang Spahn performs his work Entropie, live at T2F, Karachi . The event was supported by Goethe Institute Karachi. Image

March 9 2016

Karachi Biennale hosts a New Media Art Workshop with hacktivists Stephen Kovats and Wolfgang Spahn from Berlin for Orangi school children in collaboration with Orangi Pilot Project OCT and supported by Goethe Institute Karachi. See more at

Karachi Biennale Global Outreach activities

February 8 2016

Karachi Biennale attends the New North South Network Partners meeting hosted by the British Council at the Dhaka Art Summit

The Karachi Biennale will focus on both a visual and discursive interpretation of the theme Witness. Projects throughout the year will create opportunities to extend the critical discourse.

First Discursive Roundtable Pakistan’s Women Rights Movement as Witness

Knowledge Lab

The Knowledge Lab will generate critical knowledge by facilitating points of intersection with diverse strands of intellectual dynamism in the local context. This interdisciplinary exchange will be in the form of roundtables/ panels and interviews in the months leading up to the Biennale. The dialogue between art critics, art historians, filmmakers, poets, writers and social activists will be documented in a publication that will serve as a resource for researchers and theorists.

The first session was held in November 2016 at the Pakistan Calling Film Festival under the rubric ‘Film as Witness’ that examined the content of iconic Pakistani films. The works of visual artists who have used video as a medium to comment on their time also came under discussion. Participating panelists were Hasan Zaidi ( filmmaker and founder of Kara Film Festival), Nameera Ahmed ( new media artist) and Sibtain Naqvi ( writer and researcher on culture) as discussants. The session was moderated by Niilofur Farrukh.

First Discursive Roundtable Pakistan’s Women Rights Movement as Witness

Feb 28, 2017

The Roundtable created an opportunity for a dialogue between artists and activists to unpack media stereotypes on women issues. Artists’ presentations highlighted the different ways in which each generation represents the personal and the political in their art. Women activists shared their long struggle which has lead to a greater awareness of women rights that in recent years made Pakistan’s historical pro-women legislation possible with participation of women politicians across party lines. Participants were Meher Afroze, Roohi Ahmed, Mariam Agha Hilda Saeed, Raheema Panhwar, Maliha Zia, Fareiha Aziz and Qurat Mirza with Niilofur Farrukh and Aquila Ismail as moderators.

Thinkers Baithak

Baithak has traditionally been an informal space for an exchange of ideas in South Asia. Eminent thinkers from different fields will be invited for a public dialogue with art critics and artists during the Biennale.

Kalam Sessions

Reading sessions by artists, poets and writers who will read texts from poetry/ fiction/ history/ philosophy / social commentary that have had an influence on them and their career. These will be interactive sessions with audience participation during the Karachi Biennale.

Karachi Art Directory

A team of research interns in the summer of 2016 compiled current data on visual artists, exponents of popular and traditional arts, art critics, curators, art educational institutions and galleries. This seminal research will be valuable in understanding the scale and diversity of art practices that exists in the city. The Project co-ordinators: Bushra Hussain and Tazeen Hussain. This research project of Karachi Biennale Project is in collaboration with V M Gallery Research Library .