The two-day event, Karachi Art Festival powered by Nigaah kicked off at Beach Luxury Hotel on 7th and 8th April. With an objective to bring art into the public domain, KAF provided accessible platforms for art interactivity.

Starting with a keynote speech by Hameed Haroon, CEO Dawn Media Group, the programme encompassed art discourse attended by art critics, historians, collectors and curators and the general public.

Tauqeer Muhajir, Editor of Nigaah stressed that by actively encouraging social involvement and developing diverse cultural activities, Karachi Art Festival is not about elitism but the inclusion of general public. He further promised KAF to be an annual affair.

Some of the interesting segments that drew crowd included “Interpretation of Art through the Critic’s Eye, “The Evolution of Art through the lens”, “Art as an investment”, “Institutionalising Art”, “The Significance of an Art Degree”, “Art and Rumi”, “Roles and Responsibilities of the Modern Age Curator”, “Naqoosh by Hast o Neest”, “Art through the Decades”, “Relevance and Significance of Art Movements”, “Tribute to Shakeel Siddiqui”, “Book Launch of Message Sent, the Life and Work of Adil Salahuddin.”

The impressive panel consisted of eminent speakers including Anwar Rammal – Trustee, Foundation for Museum of Modern Art (FOMMA), Adil Salahuddin – Board Member NCA, Marjorie Husain – Senior Art Critic, Sarmad Ali – Managing Director, Jang Media Group, Nimra Khan – Art Critic, Aasim Akhtar – Art Critic and Curator, Amra Ali – Art Critic, Curator and Researcher, Dr Asif Furrukhi – Co-Founder, Karachi Literature Festival, Dr Arjumand Faisel – Artist and Curator, Gallery 6, Quddus Mirza – Professor and Head of Fine Arts Department, NCA, Khalid Rahman – Editor, Iris online magazine, Cezanne Naqsh – Principal Architect and Co-curator, Jamil Naqsh Museum, Chitra Pritam – Artist, Maryam Rasul – Artist, Mona Naqsh – Artist, Shanzay Subzwari – Artist and Writer, Zehra Laila Javeri – Artist and Art Historian, Somayeh Bardai – Visiting Faculty, IVSAA, Abbrar Cheema – CEO, Media Concept, Farah Mahbub – Assistant Professor of Photography, IVSAA, Jamal Ashiqain – Photographer, Tapu Javeri – Photographer, Taimur Suri, Assistant Professor, SZabist, Dr Rahat Naveed Masud – Former Principal, College of Arts and Design, University of the Punjab, Tazeen Hussain – Associate Professor, IVSAA, Khusro Subzwari – Artist, Dr Alia Imam – Scholar and Writer, Rasheed Noorani – Director, Continuing Education Programme, IVSAA, Arshi Ahmad Aziz – Writer, Iqbal Nanji – Philatelist, Abdul Wahid – Philatelist, Dr Asma Ibrahim – Curator, The State Bank Museum, Mohammad Zeeshan – Curator and Artist, Dr Tariq Bukhari – Art Collector, Orooj Ahmed Ali – Art Collector, Waqar Malik – Art Collector and Chairman, Linde (Pakistan Oxygen Ltd.), Adeela Suleman – Head of Fine Arts Department, IVSAA, Dr Waleed ZiadProfessor, Habib University, Rizwanullah Khan – Founder and Coordinator, Islamic Arts Programme, Dept. of Visual Studies, Karachi University, Dr Fransisco Jose Luis – Professor, Habib University, Sohaib Alvi – TV Anchor, Akram Spaul – Artist, Fawzia Naqvi – Editor, Art Now, Amin Gulgee – Artist and Sculptor, Rainer Schmiedchen – Consul General, Germany, Karachi, Tabinda Chinoy – Artist, Danish Ahmed – Associate Professor, IVSAA, Prof Bhai Khan Shar – Director, CEAD, MUET, Jamshoro, Mahreen Zuberi – Coordinator, Fine Art Programme, Dept. of Visual Studies Karachi University, R.M. Naeem – Assistant Professor, NCA, Anis Imran Zuberi – Executive Director, Karachi School of Art, Prof Shehnaz Ismail – Professor Emeritus and Founder, IVSAA

A sitting with Feica with Nauman Nabi Ahmed turned out to be a fascinating session with Feica drawing live caricature and throwing light on his journey of cartoons. The signed cartoons drawn by Feica were a rare treat for the participants. Equally entertaining was Art and Rumi in which Mr Rasheed Noorani kept the audience amused with this eloquent narration of Rumi poetry.

The entertaining sessions of Dastaan Goeey by Fawad Khan, live “Fishermen Dance” by Pakistan National Council of Arts and PechaKucha slideshow, a posthumous tribute to legendary artists prepared by Asdaq Hussain and eloquently presented by Akbar Ali were equally engaging.

For the younger artists, the live segment with Akbar Zia encouraged them to observe and sketch caricatures. Live CD painting by Saadia Sohail produced many different designs to create amazing pieces of art. The students of IVSAA painted a mural live at the venue for two days that was later auctioned with proceeds being donated by Nigaah for scholarships for needy art students.

Besides the traditional hand-made ajrak and tile work by Yaqoob and Ghulam Haider Doudpota, the public at large came across truck art paraphernalia by Anjum Rana and items of interest at APWA stalls. For book lovers, Liberty Books, OUP, Vasl and Mohatta Palace had interesting reads on art.

Art installations across the venue enthralled the general public. Curated by Akbar Ali – art consultant, VAD Department, PNCA, the installations comprised works of Abdul Jabbar Gul, A.S. Rind, Manizeh Ali, Obaid-ur-Rehman, Sunaina Telraj and Akbar Ali.  Some of the installations were interactive and involved the general public.

One of the major segments that continued to draw large numbers was the art display by many art galleries inside the halls coupled with Jamil Naqsh Museum. Works of emerging and established artists were up for sale which made the public appreciate art. A special dark room was developed that featured the work of Karachi School of Art titled “DÉJÀ VU CHRONICLES” that showed a kaleidoscopic spectrum of lights on whirling vertex like Chakras in holograms.

The grand finale feature of KAF was the art auction where works of Khusro Subzwari, A.S.Rind, Shanzay Subzwari, Syed A. Irfan, Akram Spaul and Hanif Shahzad were auctioned to raise funds for Nigaah scholarship at IVSAA. Additionally, a mural painted by students of IVSAA was also auctioned to support this scholarship.

Through KAF, art became more accessible to the general public by interacting with paintings and installations and more importantly seeing them up close.

With an aim to bring “Art in Public Domain”, Karachi Art Festival is a festival that will continue to happen in the years to come.