KBT Newsletter Pre-Biennale roundup

Eid Mubarak from all of us at Karachi Biennale Trust!

KB19 Launch

The launch of KB19 was held at the iconic Habib Fida Ali House. On this occasion, the much awaited curatorial vision and theme of KB19 was unveiled to the audience and media. Also introduced were the exciting Art Prizes that will be awarded at the second Karachi Biennale.

A tribute was paid to the eminent architect and patron of Karachi Biennale Trust, Habib Fida Ali, with a specially commissioned documentary that was screened during the evening. Special Guest was Zohra Hussain, doyenne of the Karachi art scene.

Curatorial Vision

Muhammad Zeeshan, Curator KB19, shared his plan to take art to audiences in public parks like Bagh Ibne Qasim, Frere Hall and Karachi Zoo. He also spoke at length about the interest KB19 and its theme has generated among artists, at home and abroad. Without revealing too much, he spoke about several innovative strategies he is working on, to increase the KB19 outreach beyond conventional venues.

Theme of KB19: Ecology

Flight Interrupted: Eco-leaks from the Invasion Desk

The thematic for KB19 is inspired by ecological consequences of dense urbanization – “Flight Interrupted: Eco-leaks from the Invasion Desk”. The title invokes loss of species of low flying birds wiped out by vertical structures in Karachi that broke their free flight and marginalized life-cycles.

KB19 was declared a Green Biennale at the launch as it will be partnering with other eco-friendly initiatives and also develop a sustainable exhibition design with the support of Pakistani and Swiss designers.

KB19 prepares to engage a large public audience with

The Mayor extends his support to KB19

The Mayor of Karachi, Mr Wasim Akhtar, very generously promised his support to KB19. This will make it possible for KB19 to exhibit art in public parks of the city.

Mayor Wasim Akhtar with KBT CEO Niilofur Farrukh

KBT-OPP launch Biannual Artists Residency

December 21, 2018 to January 21, 2019

The purpose of this residency is to provide a platform for grassroots community interaction to artists. During the residency, participants will spend four weeks in Orangi and exchange knowledge and skills with local residents. During the first residency the artists learnt valuable and rare skill of map-making from expert cartographers and charters. Mapping was Parveen Rahman’s legacy, the late social activist and Director of OPP, used it to empower the local communities by charting and recording the land that they owned and were allotted rights to.

The residency was curated by Muhammad Zeeshan and was attended by the artists Abid Aslam, Ahsan Javaid, Hasnain Ali, and Muneeb Aaqib.

This collaborative project of Karachi Biennale Trust and Orangi Pilot Project will be held every two years.

Residency involved studio research, field work, study trips to local heritage sites, markets and studio project.

Open House at Orangi Pilot Project

Exhibition at Alliance Francaise Gallery


KBT-STEAM Workshop

Art-Tech Education

This workshop is an annual education project conducted by New Media Artist Wolfgang Spahn. The workshop trains students with open source technology in Orangi. The workshop is held in collaboration with the Goethe Institut and Orangi Pilot Project.


A STEAM Seminar for Curriculum Development was also held at the Goethe Institut for educators and makers working with creative technologies in Karachi. Stephen Kovats introduced the ASKotec Tool Kit in the workshop that contained all the components needed for STEAM Education and training to promote a ‘repair and maker culture’ especially in a non-structured educational environment. The Seminar was a first in the series of events that brought together many groups in Karachi that have similar interests in new teaching methodologies. This group includes Ejaadtech, The Lyceum School, NJV School, CBM, OPP, STEMERS and others.

The STEAM projects are a part of the KBT initiative since 2016 led by Atteqa Malik, Chair of KBT Outreach Committee. These projects introduce Creative Open Source technology for Life hacks to learners in Karachi.


First KB19 Roundtable

The First KB19 Discursive Roundtable addressed Displacement and Social Ecology through the art and research of Shahana Rajani. The panelists included the social activist, writer, and translator Aquila Ismail, historian Gul Hassan Kalamatti, and investigative journalist Naziha Syed Ali. The panel examined displacement in the local context which has been brought about by unplanned development, shifts in political boundaries, and urbanization. They used their firsthand experience to layer and expand the conversation.

The session was moderated by art critic Nimra Khan.

Second KB19 Roundtable

The Second Roundtable drew attention to physical barriers that have become an inherent part of the city’s infrastructure of fear and security threats. The work of the main speaker Seema Nusrat that focuses on the presence of barricades and security architecture was central to the discussion . The social, legal and psychological implications of physical and social barriers were expanded through the insights of the panelists; Dr. Rubina Feroz a psychologist and educator, Lynnette Viccaji educator blogger and author and Nausheen Ahmed from the legal fraternity.

The session was moderated by art critic Nusrat Khawaja.

Third KB19 Roundtable

The Third KB19 Discursive Roundtable examined the phenomenon of ‘Fake News’ through the lens of the documentary ‘Don Akhbar’ by filmmaker and artist Dostain Baloch. The panelists included the journalist and author Zahid Hussain, human rights activist and writer Zohra Yusuf, and the founder of on-line news platform Soch Sofyan Sultan. The panelists joined the artist to foreground the factors behind the manipulation of truth in the local and international media and recent initiatives to curb its impact.

The session was moderated by Aquila Ismail.

The KB19 Discursive Roundtables were organized in collaboration with Alliance Francaise.

KB19 Peek Freans Emerging Artist Prize winner is announced

This new prize has been created to recognize a young artist with extraordinary ability to envision the theme of the Biennale. Arsalan Nasir was selected as the winner of the KB19 Peek Freans Emerging Artist Prize. His proposal interprets the KB19 theme in a playful and imaginative way.

The KB19 Peek Freans Emerging Artist Prize invited artists under 30 years to submit proposals through an open call and applications were received from small and big towns across the country, including Malakand, Peshawar, Lahore, Hyderabad and Karachi. A jury of prominent artists and educators Waheeda Baloch, Adeel uz Zafar and Muhammad Zeeshan selected the winner with the most relevant and outstanding proposal.

Arsalan Nasir will receive a unique medallion and be presented to the national and international art elite by the Karachi Biennale Trust at the inaugural ceremony as a distinguishing force going into the future. His fully commissioned art work will also be unveiled at KB19.

2019 Happenings

Karachi Biennale Trust was represented at the inauguration of the Pakistan Pavilion at Venice Biennale by Muhammad Zeeshan Curator KB19.
Winner of Portrait of Britain 2018 Maryam Wahid visited Karachi as part of British Council's research team on Transforming Narratives. Karachi Biennale facilitated her research while she was in Karachi.

Upcoming Workshops

Performance Art Workshop

A workshop will be conducted by Isabel Lewis, a Dominican-American performance artist and musician, for artists. ‘Communal Experience in Performing Instantly Created Fiction’ is an experimental workshop created by Isabel Lewis for instantaneous collaborative composition. It is an artistic situation that exposes the typical elements in the production of theater format. Participants collaborate together in real time to compose a kind of instant situational choreography collapsing the notions of stage and pre-production typically imposed by the theater format.

The workshop is being held in collaboration with Goethe Institut and NAPA.

Alice Kettle

Alice Kettle will conduct a workshop for facilitators to engage women with embroidery skills in low income communities. Their work will be brought together to create a collaborative project for KB19. APWA, RLCC and Behbud among others will participate in the project.

Alice is a contemporary textile/fibre artist based in the UK. Her unique area of practice uses the craft medium on an unparalleled scale.

The workshop is being held in collaboration with British Council.

Glimpses of 2018

Library Project

Through an open call, a group of 11 kids participated in a workshop organized by Karachi Biennale Trust, coordinated by Varda Nisar, as a part of the KB19 Educational Program. Going further into the project, these kids were involved with setting up their own library – a multilingual selection donated by the community – which was opened to the public on the 1st of August 2018, at the Alliance Francaise. It then moved to Orangi Township at the Office of Orangi Pilot Project and will become a part of KB19 in October 2019. Currently, it is the only Children’s Library in Orangi and it is frequently visited by school children.

Public Art Research

This project engaged citizens in conversation on public art and discussed their preference. This research was the first of its kind and reached out to a cross-section of society from Clifton, Saddar, Burns Road, NED University, Karachi University, Safari Park, Karachi Zoo and the Seaview Beach. This project is a part of KBT’s mandate to create a wider, more engaged audience for art and includes its voice in public projects. The “Public Art Research” was carried out by the students of the Department of Development Studies, NED University in September and October 2018.

KB19 is supported by

Logistics Partner

KB19 Partners

KBT is delighted to renew its institutional partnership with Goethe Institut, Alliance Francaise, VM Art Gallery and IVS Gallery. It will also be working closely with British Council and Pro Helvetia.

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