Lahore set to host Pakistan’s Inaugural Design Week from March 12-18- Open Call

The inaugural edition of Lahore Design Week (LDW) 2020 will be held from the 12th to the 18th of March at The Alhamra Arts Council plus various sites across Lahore.

Founded by Rashid Rana, one of Pakistan’s most prominent contemporary artists, LDW 2020 will be held under the umbrella of a not-for-profit design foundation set up to promote design practices, design discourse and the design industry at large.

The focus of this annual event is to bring together three important stakeholders of the creative community: academia, industry and design practitioners under one platform in order to foster dialogue and collaboration among them.

LDW 2020 will be a city-wide event with a diverse range of programs and components, including a series of Design Exhibitions, a Design Summit, Index PK: a design expo for the industry, Design Awards and a range of site-specific and satellite projects. The city of Lahore will act as an important backdrop against which these programs will be curated.

A series of Open Calls will be announced in November 2019 inviting design practitioners, creative thinkers and design-oriented organizations and brands to submit their proposals for design projects and collaborations.

”The focus of this annual event is to bring together three important stakeholders of the creative community: academia, industry and design practitioners under one platform in order to foster dialogue and collaboration among them”

The LDW 2020 team is being led by Rima S Bokhari as Creative Head. She runs her design studio in Lahore exploring cross disciplinary and curatorial practices relating to contemporary architecture, design and media. Hala Bashir Malik is Head of Programming for LDW 2020.

DESIGN EXHIBITS — a series of design exhibitions to be curated jointly by curators from Pakistan and abroad, showcasing cutting edge design from emerging and established creative/design practitioners, brands and companies. It will focus on the concept stage of design, where ideas are pushed to the limit with the aim of exploring new ways of thinking, doing, and making. These exhibitions will not be limited to the gallery space and will investigate ways of exhibiting in and around the city, through installations or live projects, in multiple mediums and formats.

DESIGN SUMMIT — the main academic component of the annual cycle, to be hosted by BNU SVAD, will be the Design Summit. Where Index PK and the design exhibits aim to connect design practitioners and thinkers with the industry, the Design Summit will focus on idea generation and thought processes behind design, through a series of workshops, keynotes and panel discussions among many other sub-events.

DESIGN AWARDS — the Design Awards are to be a celebration of the creative spirit in Pakistan and will recognize work from all design fields within Pakistan. Each year, the jury will comprise of recognized experts from the design field. By recognizing the creative spirits of individuals, brands, and companies, LDW aims to inspire creative individuals and brands to put forward their ideas to the world.

INDEX PK — the Index PK will be an opportunity for brands and key industry players to showcase design concepts and product that target export oriented and import substitution industries. This event will act as an initial point of contact between designers and the industry for them to collaborate on future product development.

Motifs and Monuments, Two Person Show, Kashif Shahbaz and Tayyab Tariq

Oct 11, 2019

A two-person show opened at the Taseer Gallery in Lahore on the 16th of September 2019, showcasing the works of two promising artists hailing from the School of Visual Arts, Beaconhouse National University (BNU). Both of them, having displayed their art abroad previously, saw this as a perfect opportunity to present their works to a local audience in the very city from where their ideas and art first took form.

Tayyab Tariq’s practice is deeply rooted in modernist concerns yet exudes a contemporary approach towards form and function, as he assumes the role of a third party which tends to intervene in an attempt to upset and in some cases completely strip the object of its usual functionality. These concerns of form deconstruction and reconfiguration result in a resemblance of his visual language and vocabulary to the famous group of Mexican artists that explored the everyday in a similar fashion: Gabriel Orozco, Damian Ortega, Abraham Cruzvillegas and Gabriel Kuri. The most common object that has in one way dominated his Art practice in portraying his concerns of influence and power dynamics is the chair, an object with which he has a long-lasting association (since sophomore year) and that he believes has an attitude of patronizing superiority. Two such dysfunctional chairs were on display, a black one seated on the floor of the gallery and a glittered red one pinned to the wall – that latter one evocative of the crucifixion of Christ, an event that was the aftermath of radical criticism of the system of dominance then in place.

‘Moor II’

‘Moor II’

Also what Tayyab Tariq had to offer was a fresh take on truck art – and this comprised a body of work, six compositions in total. The artist made use of local truck art objects that are seen gracing the bodies of these humongous vehicles of transportation that we come across in the urban landscape. When asked about the process that went into the making of these works, the artist replies that he had started collecting these objects back then in 2014 but was constantly wondering how to bring them into use in a manner that could best portray his concerns. The outcome was this series of works in which he extracted the colour palette of the respective truck art objects and placed those very objects on top of those Frank Stella-like compositions. Three pieces titled “Patang 1”, “Phool 1” and “Moor 1” took the form of optical illusions – which are usually abstract in nature and create an impression of patterns, movement and overlapping.

Senior Professor at the Maryam Daud School of Visual Arts at BNU Mrs. Nazish Ataullah considers this to to be Op Art, rather than Pop Art. The geometry of the pieces is reminiscent of the Shamiana. “That, combined with truck art motifs, makes it truly urban” she adds.




Ballon Cart

Ballon Cart


Kashif Shahbaz, on the other hand, delivered a fresh perspective on art to the audience in Lahore by displaying highly realistic rendered animation works for the first time. Prior to this, he had been producing works in a print medium that, in my view, could be collectively termed as the “spectacle of the absurd”. Shahbaz’s concerns and approach towards art-making stem from Jean-Paul Sartre’s philosophy of existentialism whereby existing or acting a certain way gives meaning to life. Similarly, the artist uses found imagery and makes interesting interventions by incorporating existing artwork in search of new meaning, new context, new narratives and new images. Hence the original image and the existing artwork both go through dislocation and then relocation that gives birth to a new image.

Tayyab Tariq assumes the role of a third party which tends to intervene in an attempt to upset and in some cases completely strip the object of its usual functionality

An example was the print on display titled “balloon cart” that was an amalgamation of a found image of a landscape, a boy riding a donkey cart across a dusty tribal landscape fused together with world-renowned sculptor Jeff Koon’s most recognizable piece “The balloon dog”, that is considered to be the most expensive artwork by a living artist. This weird juxtaposition gives rise to a satirical take, linking ruthless American dominance and agression in global politics to American supremacy in the art market as a result of the unpalatable commericialization of art.

‘Build the wall’

‘Build the wall’

Another powerful work loaded with cynicism and dark humour, along similar lines of influence and control, was an animation on loop, depicting an inflattable Donald Trump hovering within the confines of a mosque, the artist thereby shedding light upon the way conflicts are manufactured for the sake of dominance. With this piece, the artist comments on issues of the marginalization of minority ethnic groups and the rise of Islamophobia in the country that claims to be home to the largest number of immigrants. The title was an interesting if familiar one: “Build the wall”.It would be unfair to conclude this feature without making mention of the showstopper, the piece titled “Error already exists” – which drew the greatest attention of all, probably because of its display outside the confines of the gallery and its provocative nature. With this piece the artist comments on the unfortunate linking of fetish to faith, and on the blind dependency upon irrational claims. Eventually, as far as this artist is concerned, it becomes a tool to silence strong and powerful voices once a politicized faith transcends the personal domain.User permission By Talal Faisal is an artist based in Lahore


Traces, Hosted By O Art Space Gallery

O ART SPACE strives to celebrate Pakistani art and artists- enhancing a soft image of our country.

Traces is an exhibition which showcases works of some of the young talented artists from all over Pakistan, O art space has impersonated an active role in the Pakistani art scene, in the short time of period art gallery has showcased some of the most influential national and international artists.
Call 0303 8402274



New Paintings By Salman Toor

EXHIBITION: New Paintings


April 12, 2019 – April 22, 2019

Gallery: O Art Space, Syed Maratib Ali Road, F.C.C., Lahore, Punjab

Author: Talal Faisal Ismaili, Visual Artist

Numerous Pakistani artists living abroad have contributed significantly to the global art scene by producing quality work over the years, earlier ones including the likes of Rasheed Araeen, Anwar Jalal Shemza, Iqbal Geoffery and a few more.

In comparison to them, today’s generation of diaspora artists is at an advantage. As a result of globalization, advanced communication and an upsurge in social media, they tend to seek better opportunities and substantial recognition despite their nonwestern backgrounds. It would be fair to say that the current lot has a greater representation of women artists, primarily because of the Neo Miniature the movement that attained ample appreciation and endorsement worldwide.

But there is another offshoot of diaspora artists who never achieved formal training of Art in their own country, instead completed their degrees abroad and undertook the journey to connect with their roots. Their education and training abroad have helped them look critically at the local art tradition and bring in influences and practices that are only adding to the variety of contemporary art in Pakistan. One such exciting prospect is Salman Toor, a Pakistani born artist based in New York who did his undergrad from Ohio Wesleyan and further on pursued his Masters at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn in 2009. Since then he has had several solo exhibitions in the U.S, including one at the Aicon Gallery that specializes in contemporary works created by emerging and established Indian & Pakistani artists.











Drawing inspiration from Classical Western painting, Salman’s enticing compositions depict scenes of queer brown affinity, complex scenarios, and pally encounters. He takes the intimate and social fact of alternative sexuality as his dominant subject, articulating the everyday life, emotional states, fantasies, anxieties and aspirations of the homoerotic self. Thus his image making comes from the way he observes his immediate surroundings and responds, as every artist does. But in his case, it’s exaggerated documentation of time, space and arrangement of people. In a way, the artist secures the role of a reporter, a liberated being originally belonging to a repressed conservative society that fails to acknowledge queerness and is held hostage by politics of illiberalism. His figures resemble caricatures straight out of fiction but portray local people with fragile physiques, exaggerated features, and flaws, attempting to transform the real into the imaginary. Toor’s intention to make his characters occupy the foreground in splendid attires is, in fact, an act of validation or endorsement of queer men of color that have otherwise effectively been extirpated from Art history.

After having done a solo two years ago at Canvas gallery, one of the renowned art galleries in Karachi, recently O Artspace in Lahore opened it’s doors to the public for another solo exhibition by Salman Toor titled “New Paintings”, new for us the viewers but fabricated from experiences and memories of the artist. Toor sees himself and his friends in the characters he paints, the activities they are indulged in and the state of mind they’re in.


A work of his that you encounter as soon you enter the space titled “Ghost Story” is a dark, gloomy emerald green background with a single source of light on the table in front that lights up the faces of his characters in the foreground, relaxed in terms of postures but characterized by a profound sense of bewilderment. In comparison, the characters in the background seem content and involved in some activity on the phone. The play of red, speaking in reference to the attires of two characters at either end of the picture plane seems like a conscious decision in an attempt to direct eye movement of the viewer across the surface as red pops up on the green, both complimenting each other.

The piece titled “After Party II” is similar to “Ghost Story” in terms of palette, which illustrates leisure time in a cozy little space, the characters seem to feel comfortable in their surrounding graced by each other’s presence. Notions of privacy amongst them cease to exist at all and thus the lines between individual and collective comfort seem to be blurred. The stillness in postures of people at either end is balanced by the frenzy created by the two characters in the center.

“The singers” another scintillating composition depicts a scene in an outdoor setting, two guys sitting on a wall at an elevated position singing songs, getting amused themselves and lifting the overall mood of the scene. The three characters underneath are engaged in a casual conversation, one of them keeping an eye out to the singers above. The meticulous brushwork distinctive to Toor’s signature style absorbs all attention along with slight imperfections such as blemishes and scars that become more evident on close examination.

In comparison to the crowded compositions discussed earlier, “Best friends” is a much tranquil piece that portrays two queer brown men seated next to a ledge in a privileged-looking apartment sipping on cocktails, smoking and indulged in a private conversation. It’s quite noticeable that both tend to connect to each other at a deeper level and the strong bond that they share makes them feel less vulnerable against hostility and oppression from the world outside, despite being miles away from home.

Salman’s proficiency at concealing the radical nature of his art in the guise of ludic eccentricity or the stylized whimsicality of every day is simply overwhelming. Also compelling was the manner in which Toor displayed all of his pieces, enclosed in sleek and simple wooden frames, irrespective of them being painted on canvas or panels. This encapsulation of paintings adds to the dignity, honor and protection that he wants to give to his creations.