Seven Picks From the Karachi Biennale 2022

If you are an art lover, you must be familiar with a famous art exhibition in the City of Lights, with artists participating from 12 countries, and spanning over eight different venues. This year Karachi had its third Biennale, which was a little different from the rest of the exhibitions we are used to, and a leaning a bit more towards modernism.

This year it was all about the era of technological advancement and how it’s slowly but surely penetrated our daily lives, and if life is art, how could it not find its way into this Biennale? Another topic that several artists worked on was climate change and the disasters that result from it. We can’t turn a blind eye to that while the world is crashing down right in front of our eyes. The KB22 delivered museum quality art via local communities, heritage sites, parks, educational institutions, and neighbourhoods, where it was freely accessible by all who wished to see it.

Here are our top seven picks from the Karachi Biennale 2022 and why we loved them! 

1. Mukaalmah: We Can’t Both Be Right! by Rabeeha Adnan (Pakistan)

Mukaalmah portrayed one of the most common problems we face in everyday life; We can’t both be right! Rabeeha Adnan used the example of Abrahamic religions to portray how all these religions preach the same thing but find a way to contradict it. 

These religions are playing the same music but cannot find a way to tune into each other’s frequency. But this art installation also makes the visitors relate to it on a much more spiritual and personal level. 

Aren’t we all going through the same situation of wanting the same outcome, feeling the same feelings, and saying the same things to our loved ones but not being able to tune into the frequency while arguing? 

2. Memory Room by Amin Gulgee (Pakistan)

Amin Gulgee allowed us to step into his memories and feel what he has felt for years after his parent’s demise. The art installation depicts different parts of his memories related to his late parents, from his father’s paintings to his mother’s saris and the aroma of desi masalas she used in the kitchen. 

Every object in the room is a witness to the past he went through. With the red and blue lights and his sounds of trying to breathe under the water gives us a glimpse of what he feels deep inside the locked room in his memories. 

3. Simurgh App by Dennis Rudolph (Germany)

Dennis Rudolph gave life to the age-old mythical poem Shahnama. This Iranian poem tells a tale of Persian history until the Muslims took over. The poem has more than 75 characters that guide the reader through the history of this great empire. 

But Dennis Rudolph took it a step further. With the Simurgh app, you can see the mystical characters guiding you throughout the art gallery. This virtual reality experience engages the visitors in an interesting story. He also displayed other historical fiction in his display. Who knows, will we be able to see the characters of those books in the next exhibition? 

4. Sentient of Lights by the Cosmic Tribe (Pakistan)

The two rising artists, Rayan Khan and Ayesha Mubarak, shed light on the increasing light population issue. Since Karachi is known as the city of lights, the excess of artificial lights is slowly becoming a problem. In fact, every other advertisement is displayed on LED screens or through neon lights, which further adds to this problem. 

Their display consisted of different insects that are attracted or repelled by lights. The uncontrollable light pollution is disturbing their life, leaving them vulnerable. Unfortunately, light pollution is severely neglected, just like the well-being of these small flying insects. 

5. Disco Apocalypse by PluginHUMAN (Australia)

The Disco Apocalypse explains the sad reality of careless human nature. The immersive art installation was based on a disco scene inviting visitors into a room filled with glamor and fun. But what most visitors fail to notice is the devastating world disasters displayed on the wall. 

From earthquakes and forest fires to floods and tsunamis, we easily turn a blind eye to the root cause of these disasters because we are too busy vibrating to these disco lights. This is one of the biggest issues among the First nations. We are absorbed in making our lives easier and our belongings disposable, ignoring the side effects of this new lifestyle on planet Earth. 

6. It Lies Beyond by Rashid Rana (Pakistan)

Rana Rashid is currently one of the top artists in Pakistan due to his utmost attention to detail. He captured visitors’ attention with the ocean’s waves that tell the tale of colonization. The seascape portrayed a story that started from the water and ended on the water. 

Colonization started through water voyages, leading to industrialization and urbanization of the lands. However, we are now facing the effects of such industrial advancements in the form of floods, melting glaciers, and landslides. 

Each wave or art piece was composed of micro images of ships, industries, litter, and petroleum waste. It also depicts the results of massive consumerism, turning the ocean into garbage pits. 

7. Lines of Force by Syeda Sheeza Ali (Pakistan)

Syeda Sheeza’s display was an interesting amalgamation of art and simple science. We are not talking about AI or VR here; she played with the simple rules of physics using elements from nature. 

She displayed her creation at the Sambara art gallery, which also allowed the visitors to interact with the art piece. The mixture of iron flecks and glitter is charged by a series of magnets rotating underneath. 

Just like the elements used in the art piece, she kept the thought behind it simple as well, which was the attention-grabbing display of kinetic force. 

If you weren’t able to make it to the exhibition or missed any artists mentioned above, head over to their social media to get a glimpse of their masterpieces. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite artist on the Karachi Biennale 2022 app! 

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