Pakistan Institute of Development Economics

Art Through the Eyes of a Curator
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Art Through the Eyes of a Curator

Publication Year : 2022

Art is love. It is an expression, a feast to our eyes and soul. Art is important because creating something through imagination unleashes the spirit. It helps us feel exhilarated, it is a depiction that tells a beautiful story that is derived from the heart. It helps elicit emotions in the most nurturing and satisfying ways.

As a curator my role is to embody the artists’ work and elegantly narrate their story to the world. I am a curator currently living and working in Islamabad. I joined Artcade (previously known as My Art World) as a curator/ creative head in 2019. Since joining Artcade I have curated numerous art exhibitions and workshops for children and adults and worked with several national and international artists and organizations.

My vision is to encourage and promote artists from all over Pakistan and through the use of various social media platforms boost the confidence of these talented individuals enabling them to reach a wider audience. I believe art is naturally within us all and can be utilized as a tool to expose us to a multiplicity of possible futures. Our gallery in Islamabad has exhibited works by many emerging artists and as a curator I am proud to see their continued growth and recognition as they exhibit on other art platforms both locally and internationally.

During my career I have curated several collective themed exhibitions and mentored multiple emerging artists to

create their own narrative of themes through their individual art skills, observation, memory and imagination. I prefer to work closely with artists to best understand and tell the story of their work. I believe an art exhibition represents the most important moment of augmentation of an artist’s career, a unique opportunity that involves a series of protagonists from the gallery owner, to collectors and art enthusiasts. In addition to the promotional value, it provides artists with multiple opportunities and growth.

The role of curation, especially in Pakistan is still budding. It’s a fairly emerging concept where only a few people really understand what a curator does. Today, curators along with artists play an important role in storytelling. Curators decide on the themes and ideas to be experienced by the audience and make decisions about which works of art should be displayed and how they should be seen. If you look at the overall experience, a curator’s role is extremely rewarding. It provides an opportunity to learn continuously, to offer expertise and artistic opinions to highlight works of artists and to help communicate an overall aesthetic to the audience at large.

My curatorial practice aims on shedding light on the ethical dilemmas of everyday life. From the general issues of globalization to the very specific problems of everyday existence our contemporary lives are replete with ethical enigmas. As individuals we are constantly involved in the ins and outs of these ethical dilemmas. Art plays an important role in shaping the culture of a society. Since art and society are intertwined, to me art serves as the most vital platform to shed light on such issues. Among the exhibitions I have curated is the group show ‘Alienation’ an online art show, that brought together works by 24 contemporary artists who used their skill and imagination to reflect on the underlying challenges and emotions people faced during the covid-19 self-isolation period.

The contemporary art scene in Pakistan has long been vibrant and since its emergence, ever evolving. Although it is still developing and suffers from a lack of connection with the wider international audience, there are numerous art galleries and institutes that are doing their best to preserve the art and support the artists and art community to help reach the wider international art arena. As an art enthusiast I believe, art promotes expression and creativity. It strengthens the bond between people and communities. It creates pleasure, hope, flair and a deeper understanding of the world we live in. It helps us re-examine the world from a fresh perspective and therefore deserves a central place in our society and lives.

The author is the Curator at Artcade – Marriott Hotel, Islamabad.