Art in Pakistan

While selecting the artists for the biennale I tried to select the artists from all the different areas of Pakistan, but the most important point I kept in my mind was to know the background of each artist, where are they coming from. Pakistan art is very resilient in general sense as it has survived many local and international political agendas. Pakistani art has witnessed ups and downs with political changes, wars, and the liberal upheavals. All these sociopolitical happenings have affected the art scene, some of the artists changed and some of them stood their ground and voiced their concerns.

Economy is the other very important aspect which we should keep in mind while commenting on the art produced in Pakistan. The title of my curatorial note “ART OF SURVIVAL” came out as I was studying each artist; I have been following the work of most of artists and have witnessed hard work and consistent efforts of each artist to reach to the top or to be noticed. I could say that main reason behind each artist was to earn their livelihood along with reorganization. Most of the artists are coming from lower middle to middle class backgrounds.

The selected artists are mainly fall in two categories accomplished and upcoming, but the quality of work in both cases shows quality reflecting the continuous efforts. I have witnessed the senior or accomplished artist playing their role as mentors and lots of handholding for young artists, to lift them out of oblivion by bringing them to limelight.

While watching this show one should keep in mind that as individual mind reflects socio-political situation of the country. Each artist bringing forth their quest to reflect on the sobriety in his or her own way. As audience you will be amazed with each individual approach; finding the meaning of life, the spiritual connection, changing society, their roles as family members, and trying to understand the life as global citizens, beyond the restrains of social and geographic boundaries, so we see a wide range of styles yet can be identified as “Pakistani Art”.

Zafar Iqbal – curator