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Celebration of art begins with Lahore Biennale

March 18, 2018

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Audience at Lahore Biennale at Hazoori Bagh. — White Star
Audience at Lahore Biennale at Hazoori Bagh. — White Star

LAHORE: A sophisticated audience, a colourful evening and a majestic venue was the setting of the grand inauguration of Lahore Biennale at Hazoori Bagh on Saturday.

A number of visual artists from Pakistan and abroad attended the ceremony as well as fashion designers HSY and Kamiar Rokni. The ceremony was attended by art lovers, foreigners, dignitaries.

Saman Rai, the additional secretary, said culture was promoted through collaboration and during the next 14 days, Lahore was going to be converted into a live exhibition for projection of contemporary arts. She said the Punjab government had always patronised promotion of culture and the Biennale was a demonstration of its commitment towards arts and culture. The exhibition will help project Punjab across the world, she added.

Lahore Biennale Board of Directors member Mohsin Hamid said: “Initially it seemed the event may not happen.” He said art was being projected at various public places at the Biennale. Art in one’s imagination was like clay and as natural as smile, he added.

Lahore Biennale Director Qudsia Rahim said: “Every one of you is a hero when it comes to Biennale. By holding the Biennale we have formed an institution.”

Amna Naqvi, co-founder of Aahan Foundation, said the Biennale aimed at bringing contemporary art to Pakistan with a social, cultural and political narrative. She announced that Biennale Research Award would be handed out from the next year.

The Asma Jahangir Award was also announced that would be presented annually from next year to artists whose work highlights social issues and causes.

Walled City of Lahore Authority Director General Kamran Lashari said: “With the Biennale happening in Lahore I see the city in full form and colour.” He regretted that festivals such as Basant and horse and cattle show were not taking place as some forces did not want them to happen. He congratulated the Biennale organisers for holding such a wonderful art event.

At the inaugural ceremony, Salima Hashmi was conferred with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her services to art, women’s rights activism and education. The top three recipients of The Italian Friends of the Citizen Foundation Award were Mehboob Jatoi, Amber Hammad and Anum Babar, who clinched the first, second and third positions, respectively.

After the inaugural ceremony, the audience visited the art exhibitions at Lahore Fort. There was an introduction to the Agha Khan Museum Project by Imran Qureshi and preview of Shazia Sikander’s installation with performances by Ali Sethi and Du Yun.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2018