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 a creative practitioner based in Pakistan. He has previously worked with Rashid Rana, led outreach for the Lahore Biennale Foundation and lectured at the National College of Arts. As an independent curator, Sohail has curated numerous exhibitions in the USA, UK and Pakistan and was a curator-in-residence at The New Art Gallery Walsall in 2015. He also currently curates and edits 'Scroll', a magazine based curatorial project published out of Karachi. Sohail's curatorial practice focuses on exploring margins and under-researched histories, and their relationship to the contemporary moment. Through his current research, Sohail is looking at cultural and visual production of Karachi in the 1990’s before 9/11 and mass internationalization of art, as well as engaging with histories of migrations, exchanges and queerness as seen in visual culture and literature in South Asia and the Arab World. All his research and practice also explores and pushes the boundaries between curating and art-making itself. Sohail received his Art History degree from Brandeis University in 2013, and was trained in Arts Management at the Berkshire Hills Summer Program.
Valerie Foster Githinji
South Asia Program
Available Upon Request
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