A Panel Discussion at The Unicorn Art Book Fair Topic: Critical Issues in Art Writing Date: Saturday 21st September 2013 Timings: 4 pm to 6 pm Venue: Unicorn Art Gallery (D116/1A, Block 4, Clifton, Karachi) Moderator: Niilofur Farrukh Panelists: Quddus Mirza, Rizwanullah Khan, Taimur Suri
The panel discussion aims to foreground the challenges in the field of art criticism in Pakistan. The panelists consisting of professional art critics and art educators will closely examine the topic through the lens of their experience and focus on possible solutions. Each panelist will present their perspective on the topic before an exchange between the panelists. In the last half 45 minutes questions will be invited from the floor.
CONTEXT: The need to bring in a fresh perspective. What is the future of critical issues and art writing? Historical, present and the future of art writing in Pakistan? Critical readings and the need to understand change. A professional dialogue where art critics talk about critical issues in art writing and reviewing the issues there. An opportunity to discuss issues that are foremost. How do we read art books in Pakistan? A round table debate of sorts. Vehicles used i.e. blogs. Is tomorrow’s future technology? What does this mean for art reading? What does social networking mean for experiencing art? Are blogs the future? In the exchange and visual dialogue between technology and human creativity will Pakistan play a pivotal role in meetings the challenges of the future? Are private art projects the substitute for lack of government funding? These are some of the issues and queries that shall be brought to the table and will address fundamental challenges that Pakistani art faces at present and anticipates in the future. The ABF contributes to the growing chain of Pakistani art history, record keeping, research material and archive.
ABOUT OUR MODERATOR: Niilofur Farrukh Editor NuktaArt
Niilofur Farrukh is a Karachi based art critic, curator and art activist. Her book Pioneering Perspectives (Ferozsons Pvt Ltd) was published in 2006 and since than she has contributed to several books at home and abroad. She is the Founder Editor of NuktaArt, Pakistan’s contemporary art magazine (since 2005), (www.nuktaartmag.com). She writes for various publications at home and abroad. Niilofur has served as Pakistan’s Commissioner at The Asian Art Biennale (2006), Tashkent Art Biennale ( 2009) and Kathmandu International Art Festival (2012). She is regularly invited to present papers at national and international seminars on contemporary art and art criticism and has made presentations in Canada, UK, Taiwan, China, Sweden, Norway, Paraguay, Brazil, Nepal, Australia, Ethiopia, UAE, Turkey, India and Pakistan. In April 2013 she was invited to be on the panel of art professionals at the first International Public Art Prize forum in Shanghai. Currently she is the President of the Pakistan Section of Paris based, International Art Critics Association (AICA) and the former V President AICA International. Here she serves on the Commission for Freedom of Expression and is the Chair of the Electoral and Membership Commission. As a curator she has to her credit groundbeaking shows which include conceptualizing and co-curating the ASNA Clay Triennials in Pakistan (2000-, 2003, 2006 and 2013). Her show ‘No Honor in Killing- Making Visible Buried Truth’, investigating gender violence as a socio-cultural phenomenon toured 5 locations in Pakistan between 2007 and 2010.
ABOUT THE UNICORN ART BOOK FAIR: Pakistan’s first Art Book Fair (ABF) the Unicorn Gallery Karachi Art Book Fair (now in its fourth year) has been home to some of Pakistan and India’s leading art publications and features: Book launches, documentary screenings, author readings, in conversation with art critics, audience dialogue and book exhibition with limited and out-of-print books available on the occasion. The annual Unicorn Art Book Fair creates awareness about Pakistani art. Its a platform for encouraging dialogue and debate between critics, artists and readers. At the fair a number of publications on artists and art history are displayed, while authors read from their books. Authors address all queries, reflect on our history pre and post partition analysis of Asian Art, interpret trend changes and analyse contemporary art practices. Artists attend to sign their biographies.
Our previous keynote speakers included (by subject) SATURDAY 18-February-2012, 5:00 pm ANWER MOORAJ ‘How I became an art critic’ and other readings, 6:00 pm MARJORIE HUSAIN ‘The life and art of Anna Molka Ahmed’, SUNDAY 19-February-2012, 4:00 pm NIILOFUR FARRUKH ’Beyond pioneering perspectives and gender politics’, 5:00 pm M.S. KURESHI ’Remains of ruins – a response to war’, 6:00 pm HAMIDA KHUHRO ‘Reflections on identity: A cultural history of Sindh’. Previous invited speakers: DR.AKBAR NAQVI (2010/2011 ABF Unicorn) ‘Khujwa Recollected’ autobiography launch, ‘The Rubiyaats- love letters of Sadequain’, ‘Identity and culture- the first scholarly investigation of the history and development of modern and contemporary art in the sub-continent Image and Identity revised, expanded edition’.
Each year, we invite an independent art critic/historian or art writer to moderate our sessions. We emphasize on quality art publications highlighted on the occasion and contribute to art history research. This year the ABF shall comprise of a single round table session, topic Critical issues in art writing moderated by distinguished art critic Niilfour Farrukh (author Pioneering perspectives, Editor Nukta Art).
ABOUT OUR PANELISTS: Quddus Mirza
Quddus Mirza is an artist, art critic and independent curator. He is the Associate Professor in Fine Arts at the National college of Arts Lahore. Trained as a painter from National College of Arts, Lahore and Royal College of Art, London, has shown extensively in numerous important group exhibitions, along with several one-person exhibitions, held in Pakistan and UK. He has also curated a number of exhibitions; including “Trade Union” and “Take Away’ at Zahoor ul Akhlaq Gallery, NCA and “One to One” at Alhamra Art Gallery Lahore. His other exhibitions include “Celebrating Art” and “Love” at National Art Gallery, Islamabad, “Beyond Borders” Art from Pakistan, at National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai, India, and “Exotic Bodies”, based on the miniature paintings from the collection of Victoria and Albert Museum, that was displayed at Preston Museum in UK. Mirza is an art critic with a regular weekly column appearing in Pakistan’s major newspaper, ‘The News’, as well as contributing to other publications like ‘Dawn’, ‘Herald’, ‘Himal’, ‘Depart’, ‘Libas’, ‘Contemporary’, ‘Flash Art’ and ‘Art India’. He is the co-author of a book “50 Years of Visual Arts in Pakistan” and has extensively written essays on Pakistani art in different international catalogues and other publications. He read papers on Pakistani art in conferences held in Pakistan and outside, and is the editor of online magazine Art Now Pakistan.
Rizwan ullah Khan
Rizwan ullah Khan has been actively involved in arts education in Pakistan. Rizwan is an Art History lecturer at Karachi School of Art, Department of Visual studies, University of Karachi and has been an instruvtor of geometric design/Islamic patterns, Department of Visual studies University of Karachi. He has a BFA Cum Laude in Painting, Art History and Photography Central Missouri State University, USA. Rizwan ullah has also taught art at Hunerkada Lahore; Pakistan Study Centre KU, David Game College Karachi, NED Dept. of Architecture & Planning, Central Institute of Arts & Crafts, Textile Institute of Pakistan, etc. He is the Co-ordinator Islamic Arts section Dept. of Visual Studies. And has taught Indus Valley preparatory classes alongside Nayyar Jameel. Rizwan has held exhibitions at CMSU Gallery Warrensburg, Missouri, USA; University of Missouri at Columbia, USA; Citation Award Show (juried) Warrensburg, Missouri, USA, 1996 Solo Show, Art Center Gallery, Warrensburg, Missouri, USA Awards: 1994– 96 Dean’s List, CMSU, Missouri, USA. 1996 Winner, Distinguished Student Writing Award, CMSU, Missouri, USA. Rizwan ullah Khan has participated in a number of performances, written extensively on art and is a multi-instrumentalist with an active involvement in music and sound performances. He has discussed Graffiti art on television and participated in the Karachi Literature Panel Discussion on teaching art history in Pakistan, etc. Rizwan ullah Khan has a number of writings and translations to his credit, these are available online and on cd.
Taimur Ahmed Suri is presently engaged in the capacity of an Assistant Professor at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVS) where he has been teaching for the last decade in the discipline of Liberal Arts focusing on courses of History of Art. His area of interest has been the histories of nonwestern art and architecture particularly from the Muslim perspective. He has a Bachelors degree in History, English literature and Economics from Karachi University followed by reading towards an MPhil in Islamic Art and Architecture (Oxon) after which family pressure brought him back to Pakistan. After a decade in the travel industry where he intermittently taught History of Art components at National College of Arts (Lahore) and at the initial stages of Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. He joined Indus Valley as a full time Lecturer at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in January 2003. Since then he has written extensively in various publications about art related activities in Karachi. He has held a number of workshops and continued education programs at IVS and FOMMA (Foundation for Museum of Modern Art). It is during these workshops that he developed an interest in research in art emerging as an economic force, as an industry in Pakistan. Presently he is engaged in putting together two major projects one being the recompilation of History Curriculum for middle to senior schools of Pakistan and second is a joint compilation of FOMMA and IVS of addressing the gap in the culture industry in Pakistan starting with a focus on Karachi.
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