Lahore Biennale Announces first Biennale and curator

Lahore, 14th March 2016: The Lahore Biennale Foundation (LBF) announced artist Rashid Rana as the artistic director for its first biennale that will take place in November 2017 at a press conference.The LBF is to host the Lahore Biennale every two years and will be Lahore’s largest and most ambitious public art undertaking in the history of Pakistan. It will mark a new chapter in the arts and art-making, public engagement and partnership.

In traditional terms, the role of the artistic director is to create a vision and narrative for the biennale, and Rashid Rana aims to create exhibitions and programmes catering especially to the shifting realities of Lahore. At the conference, Rashid Rana elaborated, “The objective is to produce something that has local and global relevance. The Biennale will be for people; projects will be located in the city, which will become part of the city in a much more meaningful way than just calling them public art. It aspires to be a biennale without walls, in every sense of the word.” The project, in addition to its primary focus on Visual Art practices, will also be sensitive to the versatility of the arts, which include but are not limited to, architecture, literature, performance, music, film and design, to name a few, while art education and outreach will be major components of the biennale as well.

Historically speaking, Lahore has been one of the capitals of arts, culture and letters,it is a city of gardens and monuments. Lahore is home to many prominent artists, cultural practitioners, music gharanas and art institutions. The contemporary arts scene is flourishing and is a very active part of the global discourse, but there is a void when it comes to art in its various forms and public engagement. The enrichment that comes about in our society through the arts is potentially within reach, but not quite realized. In this regard, the LBF aims to foster a sustained dialogue between the public and the arts in Pakistan, and thereby reclaim a space for the arts within the national discourse. The Co-Founder and Executive Director of LBF, Qudsia Rahim states,“ the Lahore Biennale Foundation (LBF) was formed two years ago in an effort to create opportunities for engagement with the arts both formally and informally, through the input of creative artists and citizens who work in socially responsible ways.”

Although there is an upsurge in contemporary Pakistani artists in the global arena, there is still a lack of institutions and opportunities for artists’ work to be seen, experienced and viewed in Pakistan. LBF hopes to create an atmosphere that begins to address this gap.

The word “Biennale”, known as “Biennial” in English, has Latin origins and it is used for large scale art exhibitions, involving artists from various countries, that takes place every two years.The Biennale originated in Venice, Italy in 1893, and is considered a highly prestigious art event that a country can host for the promotion of Arts and Culture locally, as well as contributing to global dialogue. Many other countries such as Turkey, India, China, Brazil, Kenya, Germany, Indonesia and Morocco also host biennales regularly.

Rashid Rana is not only one of ; his work and ideas are greatly influential in all of South Asia. He is grounded in the local context as much as in the global. The LBF believes Rana is the ideal person to bridge the gap and initiate a conversation between Pakistan and the rest of the world. “The role of the artist in Pakistan is always blurry. We all end up fulfilling multiple roles,” Rana states, adding further, “my art-making, exhibition-making and curriculum-making overlap and converge. To me, these different practices are all forms of production. I look forward to the Biennale being yet another exercise in creating.”


Rana, an acclaimed artist in both the local and the international context, has repeatedly stood out as a trailblazer in the contemporary Pakistani art world owing to the continued pursuit of originality in his work. He is significantly involved in art academia, first as founding faculty, and presently as dean of Arts and Design, Beaconhouse National University. Rana’s curatorial practice includes significant shows such as Resemble Reassemble (2010) at Devi Art Foundation in New Delhi, India and Extra/Ordinary (2014) at Canvas Art Gallery in Karachi, Pakistan.

Internationally, Rana has been involved in several museum shows, one of which was the first survey solo show for a contemporary artist at the Guimet Museum, Paris, entitled, Perpetual Paradox (2010). His work is also part of permanent collections at Saatchi Gallery (UK), Fukukoa Asian Art Museum (Japan), Devi Art Foundation (India), Queensland Art Gallery (Australia), amongst others.

In recent years, Rana has increasingly exhibited in Pakistan. In 2013/2014, the Mohatta Palace Museum in Karachi showcased ‘Labyrinth of Reflections’, the largest mid-career retrospective of a contemporary Pakistani artist within the country. Another significant retrospective is slated to open at the Kiran Nadar Museum in New Delhi in January 2017.

Most recently Rashid Rana’s work “I Love Miniatures, 2002” has recently been included amongst 239 objects from the 239 objects from 5000 years of Human History as part of an exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore entitled “Treasures Of The World from the British Museum.”


Osman Khalid Waheed, Chairman of LBF, commented: “LBF views art as not just an exercise in aesthetics, but as a vehicle for social engagement. The biennale is part of an ongoing effort to reclaim a space for the arts in the country’s public discourse, and in doing so, help support a more balanced and humane society. Our hope is that the Biennale will leave a lasting footprint in the city that outlives the seven weeks of the event itself, and will help revitalize a renewed engagement between the public and the arts.”

Jessica Morgan, Director of Dia Art Foundation (New York) and Advisor to LBF commented: “Lahore Biennale has made a worthy decision in appointing Rashid Rana as Artistic Director. Rana’s role and ability to bridge the gap between Pakistan and the international art world will be of great importance for this first Biennale which promises to bring much needed attention to the outstanding art and culture of Pakistan.”

Iftikhar Dadi, Art Historian and Academic commented: “In a city, country, and region where noncommercial artistic and research projects have never been recognized and supported, LBF is poised to make an immense contribution in catalyzing intellectual and artistic activity towards intelligent and sensitive interventions in public arenas.”

Lekha Poddar, Art Patron and Principal, Devi Art Foundation (New Delhi) commented: “We have had the privilege of working with Rashid Rana. He curated the show of Contemporary Pakistani Art at Devi Art Foundation titled Resemble Reassemble. He is indeed very innovative in his curatorial approach. His work at the Venice Biennale connecting the West to the East was indeed path breaking.”

Spread the love

Leave a Comment

Intstagram feed

Follow us on facebook

Trendinginsocial extends a warm welcome to all our visitors, old and new. If you’re in search of the latest trending news and updates, you’ve arrived at the perfect destination. 

Here’s to Pakistan’s top entertainment portal –!

Edtior's Picks

Latest Articles

Copyright© 2024 . All Rights Reserved