With over twenty-eight art venues and counting, Karachi’s art sector has evolved into an industry that caters to almost any taste, age and medium. This growing multitude of art venues includes conventional galleries like Eye of Art, with its selection of old masters, and Canvas which typically has at least two contemporary shows a month. Even grabbing a coffee with friends allows you explore art alongside, since cafes like Koel and T2F have gallery spaces. Those looking for the next big thing can venture to teaching institutes like the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture and check out their thesis shows. This smorgasbord of options has allowed art to become more accessible to the public and create a vibrant, intellectualized and evolving artistic environment.
Speaking to the curator of Canvas Gallery, Sameera Raja, the year 2012 is expected to usher in more contemporary and innovative work. This will be coming from both fledgling and mid career artists who are experimenting with different mediums, installation work and capturing the zeitgeist of our bustling city. Previous shows have included The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which showcased the work of Ehsan ul Haq and Iqra Tanveer, and included a live rooster and finches. When quizzed, Ms. Raja felt Adeela Suleman, Shakil Saigol and Mansoora Hasan were some new names to look out for and is excited about upcoming shows which include the work of an actual truck artist and Sayeda Habib’s metal sculptors using tawwas; the southasian cooking pan for chapattis. Photography and multimedia have exploded into the art scene over the last couple of years. Ayesha Arif, owner of Photospace Gallery feels photography opens the door for other multimedia installations as it encourages counter creation. She’s currently working on putting together a large show in 2012 which will include the works of various personalities and artists, such as photographers Tapu Javeri and Arif Hussain and designers/stylists Bunto Kazmi and Nabila.
The explosion of social media allows information regarding city art events to be available at a click of the mouse or turn of a page. The best way to explore Karachi’s art culture is to jump right in it: attend shows, visit galleries, ask questions, sing up for information and just generally get involved. Through this process you can find out whether you prefer old master’s like Sadequain, the sketches of Abrar or the modern methods of Ali Kazim. Saram Bokhari, a self professed art junkie, recommends new collectors to invest in solid, respected artists who have gone to auction and have resale value and then build up from this secure base. However, the one rule is to always purchase what appeals to you.
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