“The KB19 will bring together innovation, excellence, and criticality through a multiplicity of curatorial strategies to showcase artists from Pakistan to the world as well as strengthen a regional art exchange”, said Niilofur Farrukh- Managing Trustee of Karachi Biennale Trust and CEO of KB19.

In her welcoming remarks at the Launch Reception of KB19. The event gave a glimpse into important features of the Second Karachi Biennale KB19 that will take place in October 2019.

The theme of KB19 is Ecology with emphasis on coastal ecology. Artists from all over Pakistan and abroad will interpret the theme to start conversations on the urgency of environmental degradation. This theme has been inspired by the threat to Karachi‘s ecology manifested in the heat waves, water scarcity, and pollution that the city dwellers face every day.

“KB19 is creating a first-ever opportunity for Pakistani artists to engage with ecology on such a large scale. Their work will address the concerns and sensitize the audience. KB19 will carry out an exchange with national and international platforms to introduce new knowledge to harness eco-friendly changes in everyday life”, Niilofur added.

Special Guest at the event Zohra Hussain, doyenne of the Karachi art scene, a keen art collector and Founder Director Chawkhandi Art spoke on the development of art scene in Karachi to which she has been an active participant for the last 40 years and Karachi Biennale as an important addition. Zohra also complimented Habib Fida Ali who frequently visited her gallery.

KB19’s Curator- Muhammad Zeeshan while giving a presentation on KB19 said, “Human nature contains a dichotomy: being reliant on and fearing the natural world. To reconcile with this conflict humans have attempted to sanitize nature. The curatorial lens is interested in going beyond the rudimentary, emphasizing the role of ecology in the choreography of daily life.”

Zeeshan added, “KB19 looks to take these concerns, Karachi’s and the world’s, into the space that the public already occupies. A particularly exciting audience, Karachi’s population will face these galling concerns in their native city through unexpected, unconventional mediums and venues. Karachi Biennale has declared itself a Green Biennale with the responsibility to minimize its carbon footprint by using eco- friendly material.”

Chair of Prize Committee Bushra Hussain explained the five KB19 prizes being instituted for recognizing the outstanding contribution and encourage young artists:

  • KB19-Mahvash and Jehangir Siddiqui Juried Prize. This is an award given to the artist with the best entry, judged by an international jury.
  • KB19 – HM Habib Lifetime Achievement Award. An artist, art critic, art historian or art educator with an outstanding career that has contributed to the field for over four decades will be eligible for the prize.
  • KB19-Public Choice Art Prize. The visitors to KB19 will vote for their award via a specially designed Digital application
  • KB19- Peek Freans Emerging Artist. An artist under the age of 30 will be eligible for this prize.
  • KB19-Langdon Malik Foundation Performance Art Award. This award has been instituted to encourage the nascent field of Performative Art.

The ceremony was organized at the residence of late Habib Fida Ali- KBT Patron. The audience witnessed an exclusive documentary on the eminent architect’s contribution to art and architecture. Young film student Zahra Mansoor has researched and created the documentary.

The launch event concluded with the audience enjoying a performance by German new media artist Wolfgang Spahn.