The British Council and Lahore Biennale Foundation (LBF) have partnered to launch the Lahore Biennale Foundation Virtual Museum project at the National College of Arts, Lahore. The virtual museum is a digital platform for artists, academics and creative practitioners to re-examine our shared cultural language and artistic legacy. The launch event was attended by senior members of the arts community as well as representatives from the British Council and the British High Commission. The project is part of the British Council’s Pakistan-UK Season: New Perspectives programme to mark the 75th anniversary of Pakistan.
The project invited a diverse group of curators, collaborators and artists across the board to respond and contribute to 75 years of Pakistan’s rich, multifaceted history and culture post-independence. The aim is to facilitate broader socio-cultural changes in public interaction which has led to the need of providing people with a virtual space to reconnect with their cultural heritage. The project also questions the role of the “traditional forms of museum making” and builds on the global reality of virtual connectivity despite physical borders, making cyberspace an ideal platform for local and global conversations – transcending boundaries by making knowledge production an accessible and open-ended reality. The LBF’s Virtual Museum engages in new forms of museum making, overcomes physical boundaries, and functions as an enduring online resource.
Kate Joyce, Business Director Cultural Engagement, British Council South Asia, said: “The Virtual Museum is an innovative way to use art and heritage in community building in an inclusive and impactful way. This formed part of our programme of activity for Pakistan/UK: New Perspectives programme. I look forward to many young artists and curators contributing to this space and meaningfully sharing ideas that pave the way for an inclusive and sustainable future. The tragic recent events in Pakistan with the floods underline the importance of working together to tackle global challenges.”
The curators and themes for the project are Dastaan-I-Urdu, curated by Ali Usman Qasmi (Co Curator: Mahmood Ul Hasan); The Body and Beyond: Women’s Movements in Pakistan, curated by Farida Batool; Taos Chaman – Post-Colonial Identity in Artistic Practices in South Asia, curated by Masooma Syed; Manduva: Exploring What We Won’t Like to Call ‘Lollywood’, curated by Sarmad Sultan Khoosat; Ilm-e-Mosiqui: Classical Legacies, Folk Music and Contemporary Classics, curated by Sarah Zaman and Architecture through Space and Time: Conversations with the first generation of Pakistani Architects, curated by Tanvir Hasan. All these themes respond to a different aspect of our country’s shared history, cultural language and artistic legacy.
Qudsia Rahim, Executive Director at the Lahore Biennale Foundation, said: “The Lahore Biennale Foundation Virtual Museum is a unique form of archiving, knowledge making and exhibition discourse in response to the global socio-cultural changes in museum practice and public perception. Curated by a collaboration of leading local artists and academics (and not with a Western lens), it represents our shared history and heritage, and hopes to build upon the research as presented by local practitioners. With the current climate crisis in the country, it is now more crucial than ever, to come together, collaborate and help each other.”