LBF announces to launch ‘Lahore Biennale’ to revive art and culture


LAHORE: The Lahore Biennale Foundation (LBF) on Thursday announced to launch its inaugural two-week festival “Lahore Biennale 01: Shehr-o-Fun” which will take place between March 18 and March 31 at seven major venues that engage with the city’s Mughal, colonial, and modern layers.

The event will engage over 50 artists from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Sri Lanka, as well as from Europe and the United States.

Encapsulating the uniqueness of Lahore as a location, artists’ projects will be exhibited at venues across the city that has strong cultural and historical references. The renowned sites of Lahore Fort, Shahi Hammam, Mubarak Haveli & Tehsil Park, Lahore Museum, Alhamra Art Centre, Bagh-e-Jinnah and the main Canal road will be turned into sites for compelling visual display.

The visitors will be able to view works from prominent names in art, including Amar Kanwar, Naeem Mohaiemen, Shahzia Sikander and Shirin Neshat. Artists presenting major new commissions will include Ali Kazim, Awami Art Collective, Aisha Khalid, and Imran Qureshi.

In addition, there will be talks and performances that will discuss the subject matter in great detail, while keeping visitors enthralled. Musician Ali Sethi and composer Du Yun will perform on an opening day, while a performance by Salima Hashmi along with a reading performance by Naiza Khan will close the event.

The Lahore Biennale 01 (LB01) will feature several public programs that include the “Academic Forum” and “Commissioned and Curated Exhibitions.” These are as follows:

Academic Forum

The Academic Forum will be a fourteen-day program organised by Iftikhar Dadi that will bring in curators, critics, and scholars to Lahore as an integral dimension of the Lahore Biennale 01. The forum will include public lectures, panel discussions, and workshops presented by artists and academics who work in Asia and the global South.


The ‘artSPEAK’ is a public program, first initiated by the Lahore Biennale Foundation in 2015 to provide a platform for critical discourse on diverse topics of interest to creative practitioners. For LB01, artSPEAK will continue this ethos by engaging with practitioners whose work is part of the Biennale.

This curated series of lectures and panels organised by Aziz Sohail will highlight elements of artistic practices, with the audience being a key interlocutor. It allows for the audience to engage with the work on display, and for the artists to re-examine their own practices.

Youth Forum

The Youth Forum, Lahore, aims to create artistic engagement for youth from all over the country, and from across various economic spheres. Its main aim is to expose children and young adults between the ages of eight to sixteen to contemporary and public art. Workshop programmes in several areas of art-making and writing will begin from March 19 and continue for the duration of the Biennale at the Bagh-e-Jinnah.

Commissioned Curated Exhibition

‘Invitation to Action’ will be an exhibition at Mubarak Haveli organised by affiliate curator Maria Luqman. It takes its critical cue from the double-edged title of a short sketch by Saadat Hassan Manto on the nature of mindless violence during and after the partition of India in 1947.

Participating artists in this exhibition include Aisha Khalid, Alia Syed, Ayesha Jatoi, Ayesha Sultana, Asvajit Boyle, LalaRukh, Mahbub Shah, Minam Apang, Muhanned Cader, Rasel Chowdhury, T Shanaathanan, and ZahoorulAkhlaq.

Miniature Painting Atelier in cooperation with the Aga Khan Museum, Toronto

In a special segment of LB01, curated by artist Imran Qureshi in cooperation with the Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, a miniature-painting atelier will be set up at the Maktab Khana, Lahore Fort from March 10 to March 25. The atelier will include and showcase the skill of over twenty Pakistani miniaturists.

The LBF was established in 2015 in part to serve this urgent need. Engagements that the Biennale Foundation serves to create can further energize new relationships betweenLahore’s residents and visitors such that the past can be reflected upon, the present debated in new ways, and the future anticipated in a progressive direction.