Exhibition at LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA
NAIZA KHAN ANNOUNCED AS FIRST ARTIST TO REPRESENT PAKISTAN AT LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA
For the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Pakistan will present its inaugural pavilion, a solo project by the multi-disciplinary artist Naiza Khan. Khan (born 1968, Pakistan) lives and works between Karachi, Pakistan, and London, UK. Over the last ten years, Khan has looked at the transformations of sites such as the expanding Karachi harbour and Manora Island, foregrounding the dimensions of embodiment, ecology and habitation . Her practice is built upon a detailed process of research, documentation and mapping-based investigation of the island looking at how this reshaping reflects wider changes in the Global South.The project Manora Field Notes , curated by Zahra Khan, will immerse the viewer in life upon Manora Island according to the artist as translator and mediator. The work engages with multiple bodies of knowledge - archival material, historic myths, conversations with local communities and architectonic phenomena such as ruins and construction sites.
It constitutes an archive of lived experience and reflects the shifting power dynamics within the landscape.Zahra Khan comments: “Naiza’s practice, based upon research and observation, brings to life the unique nautical, multicultural and multireligious history of Manora Island, as a microcosm of larger Pakistan. I am thrilled to be working with Naiza on Pakistan’s first national pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia. She is the ideal artist to represent Pakistan on this exciting global stage and her work perfectly encapsulates the theme of Biennale Arte 2019.” Naiza Khan comments: “The project for Venice is a culmination of several years of exploration and research, looking at the material culture of Karachi, a port city, and its surroundings. Ideas of friction, optics and atmospheric climates emerge as central to my current concerns. I feel honoured to represent Pakistan and to share this new body of work, situating it within a larger conversation that links Venice to the Persian- Indian- Arab peninsulas through histories of empire and maritime trade.” Khan trained at The Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, and the Wimbledon College of Art, London. She is continuing her studies at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths,University of London. Khan also acts as a Senior Advisor at the Department of Visual Studies, University of Karachi. Khan has exhibited internationally, including her critically acclaimed solo exhibition at the Broad Museum, Michigan (2013), the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT9), Brisbane (2018), and Hanging Fire: Contemporary Art from Pakistan at Asia Society Museum, New York(2009). Her work has also featured in major events including the Shanghai Biennale (2012) and Kochi Muziris Biennale (2016).
Pakistan’s participation in Biennale Arte 2019 is supported by the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of Pakistan, and organised by Foundation Art Divvy. Syed Jamal Shah, Director General of the PNCA, comments: “We are delighted to be bringing a Pakistan pavilion to La Biennale di Venezia for the very first time. The PNCA is dedicated to supporting contemporary artists and providing them with an international platform to showcase their work, and I can’t think of a better stage than Venice. We look forward to visitors from all over the world engaging with Naiza’s thought-provoking and captivating art."The Pakistan pavilion will be housed at TANARTE / SPAZIO TANA on Fondamenta de la Tanna, within close proximity to the Arsenale
NOTES TO EDITORS
About Pakistan National Council of the Arts
The Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) was set up to spearhead the development of arts in Pakistan. Its aims to build a robust arts ecosystem by creating an environment conducive to the flourishing of the arts, where the arts are accessible to everyone and artists and art groups have the commitment, financial support and resource to excel at home, and on the world stage. To build new audiences and broaden arts participation, the PNCA engages the wider community in the arts through outreach programmes targeted at different sectors of the population. It also endorses arts education programmes for artists and arts groups.
About Syed Jamal Shah (Commissioner)
Syed Jamal Shah, Director General of the PNCA, is an artist, writer, filmmaker, educationist and social worker. Following a masters in English Literature from Baluchistan University, he joined The National College of Arts, Lahore, studying Fine Arts with a major in sculpture. On completing his professional studies, he returned to his hometown Quetta and established the Department of Fine Arts in Baluchistan University. Shah also founded the Hunerkada College of Visual and Performing Arts in Islamabad. He is also a prolific artist who has exhibited across Pakistan and internationally, with his work held in the permanent collections of The Victoria and Albert Museum, UK, and Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan.
About Foundation Art Divvy
Foundation Art Divvy was established in 2016 as a platform to present and showcase contemporary art from Pakistan, both within the country and internationally. It is committed to organizing and supporting public art projects in Pakistan and focussing on arts education in order to foster a greater appreciation and understanding of contemporary art. ln April 2017, Foundation Art Divvy curated and organized Two Wings To Fly, Not One , the first museum exhibition in Pakistan of leading contemporary artists lmran Qureshi and Aisha Khalid, which was held to much acclaim at the National Art Gallery, PNCA, lslamabad. In March 2018, the Foundation mounted I, too, am a part of this history at The Fakir Khana Museum (FKM), Lahore, as a collateral event to the Lahore Biennale 01. This was the first time FKM opened its doors to contemporary art, with the artists working with the historic and site-specific nature of the museum.
About Zahra Khan (Curator)
Zahra Khan is a curator who works with a focus on South Asian art. In her role as Curator and Director of Foundation Art Divvy, she continues to promote contemporary artists from Pakistan and build the organisation’s presence on the international art scene. Khan previously worked in art galleries and institutions including Ronald Feldman Fine Arts in New York and Sotheby’s and Blain|Southern in London. Khan is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and holds a Masters degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.