Pakistan’s Inaugural Lahore Biennale Will Emphasize Public Art And Engagement

Pakistan’s Lahore Biennale contemporary art fair will debut in 2017, and with it, an emphasis on public art and public engagement.

The Lahore Biennale is slated for November 2017 with artistic director Rashid Rana, a Lahore, Pakistan native, the Lahore Biennale Foundation announced Monday.

Rashid-Rana-Lahore-Biennale

Rashid Rana. Photo: Samid Ali. Source: artnet

Rana told the New York Times that public art projects will be featured at the biennale, and in his official statement he called the upcoming event “a biennale without walls.” Projects will be located throughout Lahore, “[and] will become part of the city in a much more meaningful way than just calling them public art,” he said.

LBF chair Osman Khalid Waheed said, “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 revitalise a renewed engagement between the public and the arts.”

The details of how exactly this will be achieved are evidently still being worked out. The Times reports that financing is still being determined and artists/venues will be selected “in the coming months.” However, public art has been at the forefront of the LBF’s work since its launch.

The organization has hosted multiple “art in public places” projects, in locations such as parks and bus stops. Last year, the LBF facilitated a dynamic installation at a roadway overpass.

The LBF also presented a collateral event at the Venice Biennale called “My East Is Your West,” which showed Rana’s work alongside that of Indian artist Shilpa Gupta.

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 9.58.23 AM

Featured Image: “Raqs-e-Rang” launch, Dharampura Underpass. Source: lahorebiennale.org