Artists call on Karachi Biennale to stand by Adeela Suleman

Artists call on Karachi Biennale to stand by Adeela Suleman

Collective releases statement signed by artists, academics and activists around the country.
30 Oct, 2019

Artist collective The Creative Process Projects called on the Karachi Biennale and its organisers to stand behind Adeela Suleman, the artist whose work in Biennale was forcibly shut down and subsequently destroyed by authorities and whom the organisers disowned.

"We believe KB's rhetoric is incredibly dangerous because it is creating false divisions between the art, public and politics. We reject KB’s attempts to separate politics from art and public space," said the collective's statement, which was signed by dozens of Pakistani artists, academics and activists around the country.

The call has been endorsed by Sheema Kermani, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Marvi Mazhar, Shehzil Malik, Sophia Balagamwala, Zahra Malkani and Scheherezade Junejo, among others.

"Public space does not lie outside the realm of politics but is at the very core of it. We believe that “the public” is and must always be inherently political. We cannot and will not support a biennale that seeks to divorce artmaking from politics."

The collective's statement also pointed out that the event's actions were not supportive of the very artists it set out to support and platform.

"This city’s artists must also clarify and strengthen its role in representing and protecting the voices of the artists it claims to support. What is entirely missing from this year’s theme of ecology, then, is any attempt to support the ecology of local artists."

Suleman's work was called the Killing Fields of Karachi, where she used 444 gravestones to represent each victim of extrajudicial killings carried out by former Malir SSP Rao Anwar.