Saturday May 11, 2019
VENICE: Pakistan took an official pavilion to the international art exhibition "La Biennale di Venezia" for the very first time this week, exhibiting 'Manora Field Notes' the work of multi-disciplinary artist Naiza Khan.
Naiza's work was backed by an all-women team including curator Zahra Khan, and Director of the Foundation Art Divvy, Asma Rashid. The project was presented by the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) and Foundation Art Divvy.
Naiza Khan, who is based in Karachi and London, explained that her Venice exhibition draws upon a prolific archive of material collected over a decade on Manora Island, off the port of Karachi.
"Manora Field Notes showcases a new body of work, including a sound piece, multi-screen video installation and series of cast brass objects, which examine the conflicting narratives surrounding this contested landscape," she said following the exhibition of her work.
The Venice Biennale is considered one of the most prestigious arts events in the world.
Speaking to Geo News, curator Zahra Khan said the Biennale's theme 'May You Live in Interesting Times' alludes to uncertainty in the modern age and Pakistan's presentation would engage with multiple bodies of knowledge and narratives including archival material, historic myths, conversations with local communities.
The curator, specialising in South Asian art, and the Director of Foundation Art Divvy, said: "I am proud and honoured that Foundation Art Divvy’s latest endeavour, which focuses on bringing contemporary art from Pakistan to the public arena, is to organise and present Pakistan’s first foray at the Venice Biennale.
"Pakistan has a remarkable, vibrant art scene and it is extremely important that it is represented on the world stage, particularly at a prestigious forum like the Venice Biennale. This pavilion is an opportunity to present an entirely different side of Pakistan."
"We founded Art Divvy in 2016 with the goal of bringing the stories of contemporary Pakistani artists to a broader audience, with supporting emerging artists being core to that mission," said Asma Rashid, co-director of Foundation Art Divvy and organizer of the Pavilion of Pakistan.
"The Pavilion comes at a time when Pakistan is turning the corner and looking forward to new horizons. The Pakistani Pavilion in Venice is years in the making, and we hope this opens a new window to the diversity of talent and practice of artists and curators working out of Pakistan," she said.
"We are grateful for the support and partnership of the Ministry of Information, Government of Pakistan and The Pakistan National Council of the Arts, which recognises that there are many more voices that need to be heard and stories which are waiting to be told."