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First Karachi Biennale


OCT 22 – NOV 5 2017

The Biennale in Karachi, KB17, is a visionary platform that focuses on innovation, excellence and criticality through curatorial strategies that will bring art from Pakistan and the rest of the world together for a large public audience. Its discursive interventions aim to cross-pollinate ideas and explore meaning and truth across disciplines and contexts.

Artists are invited to respond to the theme WITNESS. Art as a testament of its time has always held significance, particularly in times when memory is heavily contested. According to Kundera, “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memories against forgetting”. The theme Witness has been chosen for its strong relevance to the politics of representation, erasure and selective documentation.

The main venue of KB17 is the 160-year-old, NJV School building which is located within the historical precincts of one of the most populous cities of the world. This will give easy access to new audiences and also bring into discussion Karachi’s history, which has been often overshadowed by tensions of rapid growth.

Since the 1950s, as Karachi grew from a small harbour town to a mega urban centre. It has attracted independent thinkers unburdened by an established canon, it embraced artists who wanted to respond to the personal and the political with greater freedom. Karachi has been home to many influential modernists and contemporary artists; its gallery circuit is unrivalled in the country and is one of the most vibrant in South Asia.

With an architecture of exhibitions, discursive interventions and extensive visitor programs during the KB17, art in Karachi will combine creative energies and spark new ones.

Karachi School of Art VM Art Gallery, ZVMG Rangoonwala Trust
Capri Cinema 63 Commissariat Lines NJV Government Higher Secondary School Jamshed Memorial Hall Pioneer Book House
Sadequain Gallery, Frere Hall Claremont House Mahvash and Jahangir Siddiqui Art Gallery, Alliance Francaise
FOMMA DHA Art Center IVS Gallery, Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture