Second Lahore Biennale kicks off this weekend with over 70 artists

Second Lahore Biennale kicks off this weekend with over 70 artists

The month-long biennale features more than 20 new commissions by artists from across the region.
24 Jan, 2020

The Lahore Biennale Foundation (LBF) on Thursday revealed the list of over 70 participating artists for the second edition of the Lahore Biennale taking place from Jan 26 to Feb 29, says a release.

Curated by Hoor Al Qasimi, director of the Sharjah Art Foundation, United Arab Emirates, the event brings a plethora of artistic projects to cultural and heritage sites throughout the city of Lahore, including more than 20 new commissions by the artists from across the region and around the world, including Alia Farid, Diana Al-Hadid, Hassan Hajjaj, Haroon Mirza, Hajra Waheed and Simone Fattal, among many others. Other participating artists include Anwar Saeed, Rasheed Araeen and the late Madiha Aijaz.

According to a press release, with a focus on the Global South, where ongoing social disaffection is being aggravated by climate change, Lahore Biennale responds to the cultural and ecological history of Lahore and aims at awakening awareness of humanity’s daunting contemporary predicament. Works presented in Biennale will explore human entanglement with the environment while revisiting traditional understandings of the self and their cosmological underpinnings. Inspiration for this thematic focus is drawn from intellectual and cultural exchange between South and West Asia.

“For centuries, inhabitants of these regions oriented themselves with reference to the sun, the moon, and the constellations. How might we reflect on our place within the cosmos today, at this conjuncture of planetary climate crisis and polarities between societies?” said Hoor Al Qasimi, curator of LB02.

“LB02 looks upwards with a view to forging new resonances and new imaginings of the future that encompass the full breadth of its material and virtual possibilities, growing from a tradition of intra-regional mobility of ideas, people, flora and fauna.”

An immersive multimedia installation and performative experience by Almagul Menlibayeva, inspired by Timurid ruler and astronomer Sultan Ulugh Beg (1394–1449), combining exploration of his works in astronomy-related mathematics, arts and Islamic metaphysics brought to life through site-specific performances by sound artist German Popov and painter Inna Artemova.

A film by Alia Farid, exploring humanity’s multidimensional relationship with animals and the environment, shot in the fertile alluvial plains of the Indus river and its tributaries in the province of Punjab, this work considers the effect of the Partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, whilst examining the evolving relationship of locals with waterways.

An installation and publication by Reem Falaknaz illuminating a little-known cultural link between Pakistan and the UAE in the form of pigeon racing, drawing upon visually arresting profiles of racers, competitions and celebratory photos of winners with their trophies.

Bronze sculptures by Taus Makhacheva depicting fragmentary narratives of twelve fictional female characters, each accompanied by sound and poetry by women writers, including Rachida Madani and Warsan Shire.

The Pak Khawateen Painting Club (translated into “Pure Pakistani Women’s Painting Club”) studies traditional and modern distribution of water for irrigation and urban purposes, and policies of colonial and post-colonial hydrology.

Bearing the imprint of epochal transformations spanning the Mughal, Sikh and British eras, as well as its more recent post-Partition sovereignty, Lahore provides a rich and complex urban tapestry for artistic intervention. An important node for the movement of people and ideas, and for material, cultural and environmental exchange since antiquity, this hub of 11 million people is today a leading cultural center, home to prominent artists, writers, musicians and art institutions.

Biennale from morning to evening will install ambitious works of contemporary art throughout cultural heritages sites across the city.

Originally published in Dawn, January 24th, 2020