Cornell University

SAP Seminar Series: "Karachi Pop: Experiments and Innovation in Artistic Practice 1989 – 1999" by Aziz Sohail

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 4:30pm to 6:30pm

Uris Hall, G08 Central Campus

Pakistan’s largest and commercial capital, Karachi, went through its most tumultuous time in the 1990’s following the fall of a long and brutal Islamist dictatorship. Despite the uncertainty, and perhaps due to it, the city, which had been largely marginalized in art production, became the site of particularly provocative and experimental art-making in the 1990s. This was complemented by a burgeoning of art institutions – schools, galleries, studios, collectives and more. The resultant movement and production has been referred to as ‘Karachi Pop’. This lecture will explore artistic production during this period in Karachi, speculating on some of the reasons the ‘Karachi Pop’ movement may have occurred, exploring how the city became a site of investigation and a canvas for art display, the link between popular culture and art, and concludes with what it may have meant to be a Pakistani artist in the age between the Fall of the Berlin Wall and before 9/11.   

Aziz Sohail is an art curator, writer and researcher based in Pakistan. He has curated numerous exhibitions in the USA, UK and Pakistan and was a curator-in-residence at The New Art Gallery Walsall in 2015. Sohail's practice focuses on exploring margins and under-researched histories, and their relationship​ to the contemporary moment. Through his current research, Sohail is building an archive of cultural and visual production of Karachi in the 1990’s as well as engaging with histories of queerness as seen in visual culture and literature in South Asia and the Arab World. 

Sohail has been in residence as a fellow with Cornell's South Asia Program since September.

Event Type



Asian Studies, South Asia Program, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies




Free Admission



Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Valerie Foster Githinji

Contact Phone



Aziz Sohail

Speaker Affiliation

South Asia Program

Disability Access Information

Available Upon Request

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