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Muhammad Zeeshan


“Muhammad Zeeshan’s curatorial practice defines a new attitude in art”

Muhammad Zeeshan, based in Karachi, is the curator of the second iteration of the Karachi Biennale. KBT is committed to working with curators anchored in the city for the first few Biennales so they can provide a strong lens to connect the local to global through shared experiences and concerns.

Muhammad Zeeshan’s curatorial practice defines a new attitude in the art that foregrounds the urgencies of our time. Shows curated by him offer collisions between a work and our expectations of it: audiences cannot just lean back and agree.

He has conceptualized three Sanat Residences and has been a mentor to its young participants. His curatorial thrust is to empower marginalized talent with opportunities and likes to works across generations to activate overlaps and divergences.

Zeeshan graduated from National College of the Arts, Lahore with a degree in miniature painting. He has exhibited extensively in Pakistan and abroad. His work is a part of permanent collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, the British Museum London, and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum. His public projects include the Art Park Project in the Dubai Art Fair, Ishtehaar Lagaana Mana Hai, Public Art Project and KoCa Berlin.

Curatorial Statement

Where there is life there is also the unmitigated acceptance of codependence, affect and affected change. ‘Flight Interrupted: Eco-leaks from the Invasion Desk’ encompasses a leitmotif at the heart of Karachi. Using the nuance of her volatile and ephemeral ecology, her challenges are unpacked and used as impetus to imagine and to contextualise memory, binding the past, present and future together.


Investigating inherited cultural layers and reconciling the historic with the contemporary, environment becomes the basis of our visual interpretation.
Human nature contains a dichotomy: being reliant on, and fearing the natural world. To reconcile with this conflict humans have attempted to sanitise nature. The curatorial lense is interested in going beyond the rudimentary, emphasizing the role of ecology in the choreography of daily life.


KB19 looks to take these concerns, Karachi’s and the world’s, into the space that the public already occupies. A particularly exciting audience, Karachi’s population will face these galling concerns in their native city through unexpected, unconventional mediums and venues. KB19 looks to channel the
concerns of Karachi’s population, presenting them with the unfamiliar, and calls on artists to provoke this discourse, challenging canon, convention and aesthetics.

Lahore Studio Visits

10 – 14 November 2018

An extensive visit to artists’ studios in Lahore

Curator with Jamil Baloch

Curator with Ali Kazim

Curator with R.M Naeem and Manisha Gera Baswani

Curator with Rashid Rana

European Research Trip

4 – 20 September 2018

Muhammad Zeeshan’s European research tour kicked off in Berlin, followed by Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and concluded in London, UK. Culminating in multitude connections and interventions, the trip successfully created ties between biennales, museums and galleries in Europe, with the Karachi Biennale Trust, and served an exploratory platform for the Curator to visit artist studios and approach their work in the context of KB19. Tour of Berlin Beinnale and studio visits in Germany sponsored by Goethe Institut Karachi

Studio visit with Henrik Schrat. Berlin, Germany

Curator with Gaby Horn, Director of Berlin Biennale and Antje Weitzel of Berlin Biennale

Studio visit with Julia Lazarus.
Berlin, Germany

Curator KB19 visits Floating University in Berlin, Germany

Curator with Markus Bader and Benjamin Foester-Bladenius, Dean of Floating University, at Floating University in Berlin, Germany

Curator with Christoph Tannert, Artistic Director Kunstlerhaus Bethanien at Kunstlerhaus Bethanien. Berlin, Germany

Curator with Matthias Einhoff, Co-founder of ZK/U at Zentrum fur Kunst fur Urbanistik. Berlin, Germany

Curator with Natasha Howes, Senior Curator at Manchester Art Gallery. Manchester, U.K

Curator with Esme Ward, Director of Manchester Museum and Stephen Welsh, Curator of Living Culture at Manchester Museum.
Manchester U.K

Muhammad Zeeshan represents Karachi Biennale at Tetley, Leeds, U.K. “Libraries, Literacy and Language” – An International Digital Project with the Tetley, Leeds and Karachi Biennale Trust, Pakistan

Curator with Sarah Imran, Birgitta Hosea, Piyali Ghosh, Sutapa Biswas, Vanya Balogh and Sandra Louison at Whitechapel Gallery. London, U.K

Curator with Henrik Mayer and Martin Keil, who form the artist collective ‘Reinigungsgesellschaft’, at their studio. Berlin, Germany

Studio visit with Frances Disley.
London, U.K

Conversations on Karachi

July to August – 2018

To research, conceptualize, and consolidate his curatorial thematic, Curator KB19 partook in extensive exchanges with experts, tapping into their scholarly knowledge and practical interventions that have been instrumental in the development framework of Karachi. With years of experience behind them, these specialists have often been part of framing solutions to Karachi’s myriad problems and were enthusiastic to lend their knowledge to Muhammad Zeeshan.

Curator with Yasmeen Lari, who has been vital in conserving and cataloging the historic façade of Karachi

Curator with Aquila Ismail, integral development and social activist

Curator with Karamat Ali, labour rights activist who was instrumental in shaping legislative policy that improved labour autonomy

Curator with Arif Hasan, an architect and pioneering urban researcher whose scholarly documentation has shaped physical and ideological geographies of Karachi

Curator with Gul Hassan Kalamati, whose seminal research was integral to discovering the pre-historic beginnings of Karachi