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Karachi Biennale 2019

An art intervention that connects the city and its people.

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Karachi Biennale is an incubator for artists in a fractured city. We have instrumentalized art as way to challenge ideas that hold us back as a community, in order to bring people together. We organized a city wide two week art event in October 2017 that consisted of community oriented art projects that brought the people of Karachi out into Public spaces. KB17 brought different communities together, and with our second iteration– KB19, we hope to achieve even more for the people of Karachi. The city of Karachi has experienced decades of violence. From terrorism, to sectarian violence and political uncertainty – it is a city of immigrants that has been rife with conflict. One of Karachi Biennale’s main goals is to heal, not just to bridge gaps between communities, but also to heal literal city spaces by bringing people back into them. At Karachi Biennale, we document the history of the city – we bring it into public spaces through art, as a way of making the citizens of Karachi engage with the city again. For KB19, we will be hosting a two week long art event in October 2019. Artists from different parts of the city and from the rest of the world will be participating. The need for collective celebration has great significance in a divided/fractured city where shared cultural experiences can act as important tool to bridge differences. KB19 will engage with audiences by helping them to understand art with artist's talks, international keynote speakers, interdisciplinary exchanges between artists, art critics, writers, poets and historians. An extensive educational program for school children and youth will be a part of the event. The Biennale’s significance for the city of Karachi is manifested in its concept of community engagement for Art. A city of twenty million, with shrinking public spaces, expanding polarization and non-consultative and exclusionary development, Karachi is in dire need of efforts and spaces that facilitate dialogue and creative exchange.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our beneficiaries are the people of karachi, specifically the youth, and other culturally interested people in the city. Artists from all over the country also benefit from our programs - we serve as an incubator for Artists from Pakistan. We send them to International Biennales, and other International workshops to train them in curatorial strategies. We also give them a platform to exhibit their work at an event that receives international recognition.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

The Karachi Biennale is Pakistan's largest international contemporary art event aiming to bring together innovation, excellence and criticality through a multiplicity of curatorial strategies. Seeking to engage the community through art, the Biennale strengthens a global art exchange showcasing artists from Pakistan to the world.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Full Scale Roll Out: I have already tested and scaled this idea significantly with the intended user base.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Karachi Biennale was born out of the urgent need to bring polarized communities of a city that had seen extreme violence together with an art intervention.

Geographic Focus

Karachi, Pakistan. [South Asia]

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

16 months.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


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