LAHORE - PAKISTAN : AN ART biennale is an immersive experience that engages with a city. It is a spectacle that allows cities to show off their cultural values and economic potential by encouraging tourism while building regional contacts.

Conversely, it has also been accused of being intensely Eurocentric in nature. It was a considered a tool in the past for colonial powers to flex their economic muscle, privileges certain nations, particularly those in the West and marginalize or even misrepresent colonized nations and their culture.

In recent years, the tables have begun to turn. Non-Western countries have responded by holding their own art biennales that aim to showcase art that counters artistic displays and vision rooted in imperialism and cultural domination of non-Western countries.

These biennials are attempting to decentre the hegemonic presence of the West to mark new age that challenges the status quo by giving marginalised and invisible histories a voice.

Many historic sites in Lahore, Pakistan, that have a colonial history have been transformed into sites of colonial resistance where artists of non-Western origin are exhibiting woks that critique colonisation, and its aftereffects.

Barbara Walker's monumental charcoal drawings of Asian soldiers from the Commonwealth, who fought World War I, cover the walls of the exhibition hall of Tollington Market.

The medium is ephemeral in nature, their gradual erasure with time mirrors the omission of their contribution to the war from history and museums in the West.

''I is for India. Our land in the East, Where everyone goes to shoot tigers, and feast'' read the lines of damning text that have been extracted and then reproduced, as if to resemble document excerpts printed in old letterset printing.

John Akomfrah's video montage presents an incriminating account of colonial subjugation, meticulously researched, and is complemented by music and gruesome images of colonial violence.

The Zahoor ul Akhlaq Gallery at the National College of Arts has displayed the work of two stalwarts - Anwer Saeed and Rasheed Areen.

Both reflect on the self in turbulent times. Symbolism, celestial beings and human figures dominate Saeed's paintings.

The gallery seems to be on fire with saturated colours as the ambience teeters between contemplation and violent tension. Saeed's work ruminates on man's complex relationship to religion, society, politics and even the self.

The honor and serving of this Art Biennale publishing, continues. The World Students Society thanks author, Zohreen Murtaza.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!