Italian Friends of The Citizens Foundation and Museo Diocesano Carlo Maria Martini present Art for Education: Contemporary Artists from Pakistan, the first Italian collective exhibition dedicated to contemporary Pakistani art, curated by the Pakistani artist, critic and intellectual Salima Hashmi and Rosa Maria Falvo, independent curator and writer. The exhibition will take place in Milan in autumn 2018 at the Museo Diocesano Carlo Maria Martini (17th October – 25th November).
Italian Friends of The Citizens Foundation TCF has chosen art, which is a universal language, to bring Italy and Pakistan closer together and support the activity of The Citizens Foundation TCF, Pakistani non-profit NGO. Furthermore, The initiative aims at promoting awareness of a country, Pakistan, whose cultural heritage and social ferment are still little known in Italy.
Art for Education: art in favor of quality education for the underprivileged in Pakistan
The Art for Education project and the activity of The Citizens Foundation take as “red thread” the valuable teaching by Nelson Mandela who said: “Education is the most powerful weapon that can be used to change the world”.
Willing to change their country with the positive impact of education, a group of professionals and entrepreneurs back in 1995 decided to found The Citizens Foundation – TCF, a non-governmental, non-profit Pakistani organization which since then guarantees quality education to the most disadvantaged children in Pakistan. Thanks to their efforts, about 1,500 schools were built so far, for 220 thousand students across the country enrolled, equally divided between boys and girls.
Thanks to a full female faculty, with over 12,000 teachers, TCF is today the first women employer in the private sector of the country and this approach also represents the key success factor in promoting female education in the poorest areas of Pakistan (find out more about TCF Education programmes here).
IFTCF promotes and supports TCF values through solidarity, awareness and information in Italy, encouraging Pakistani culture knowledge and dissemination.
Art for Education aims at right this objective: connecting two countries through the universal language of art and supporting an educational project of the highest level, which has already seen through the years the participation of many Pakistani artists, who have offered their work and support to TCF schools.
All artists participating in Art for Education: Contemporary Artists from Pakistan, both established and emerging, have donated their works of art to IFTCF, and these will be on sale at a private invitation-only auction (for further information about the auction please contact email@example.com). All proceedings from the sale of the artworks will go to TCF schools.
Salima Hashmi, heartly invited as curator of the exhibition, represents the ideal connection between the artistic world of Pakistan and the West. Daughter of the Pakistani national poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz and the British journalist and activist Alys Faiz, Salima was an artist and human rights activist, especially women’s ones; first teacher at the National College of Arts and later at the Beaconhouse School of Visual Arts National University in Lahore. Today she continues her work as a writer and curator through her gallery in Lahore, where she hosts exhibitions of young artists and promotes contemporary Pakistani art throughout the world.
In the exhibition for Art for Education there will be artworks from world-renowned contemporary artists from Pakistan – such as Faiza Butt, Rashid Rana, Naiza Khan, Adeela Suleman, Hamra Abbas, Adeel uz Zafar, Nusra Latif Qureshi, Imran Qureshi, Salman Toor, David Alesworth – many of which, with others, are supporters of TCF and will dialogue with the new promises of Pakistani art, showing how fertile and active the Pakistani cultural field is, despite the internal conflicts and the complex international context under which they have been created.
In a country where news reports show to the world its worst side and where nearly 40% of the population is illiterate, it is significant that the faculties of Art and Design are the most popular schools for those who can afford an education.
Through the language of art, theatre and video, political and religious themes can be addressed. Salima Hashmi in his book Hanging fire. Contemporary art from Pakistan states: “The artist can not help but to engage with these imperatives”. The artist feels the need to deal with these issues and does so through romance, sensitivity and recovering the know-how of ancient Pakistani traditions, such as miniature and textile art. “It’s odd that the worse things are, the better art becomes”, declares Salima Hashmi. Through artistic expression in all its forms, political and religious themes, can be addressed which are otherwise taboo. Contemporary Pakistani art is a highly symbolic and conceptual art that reflects and suggests the contradictions of today’s society. It is revolutionary because it can speak quietly but in a powerful way, it projects beyond its borders by celebrating its traditions, it preserves idealism and passion, despite a sometimes dramatic day to day reality.
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Salima Hashmi, artist and painter, is one of the most influential and respected art curators in Pakistan. Daughter of Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz and journalist and English activist Alys Faiz, Salima was born in New Delhi in 1942 in a family with strong political awareness and civic engagement. Her father, Urdu and Marxist poet, imprisoned several times for his political views, left India after the division of 1947 when the family settled in Lahore.
After finishing her studies in design at Lahore’s National College of Arts (NCA), Salima continued her education in the UK at the Bath Academy of Arts in Corsham, where she graduated in Art Education in 1965 and completed her training at the Rhode Island School of Design in the United States.
From 1970, Salima taught at the National College of Arts in Lahore and was Dean from 1995 to 1999. During her 30 years of teaching, Salima became a point of reference for her students, helping to forge a new generation of artists. She currently teaches at the School of Visual Arts, at the new headquarters of Beaconhouse National University in Lahore.
Salima Hashmi has curated many important contemporary art exhibitions in Pakistan and around the world (India, Japan, Europe, the United States and Australia). In 2003 she published Unveiling the Visible: Lives and Works of Women Artists of Pakistan, a book exploring the life and works of 50 Pakistani painters active since the independence. In 2007 she co-authors Memory, Metaphor, Mutations: Contemporary Art of India and Pakistan published by Oxford University Press, a book that traces the strong ties and artistic evolution of the two countries. In 2009 Salima organized the first exhibition of contemporary Pakistani art in the United States at the Asia Society Museum in New York: Hanging Fire: Contemporary Art From Pakistan. At the same time, Salima affirmed her scouting talent and in 1981 she founded the Rohtas gallery in Islamabad and in 2001 Rohtas 2 in Lahore, where she is still showcasing and supporting emerging artists. In 2014 she published for Penguin Books India The Eye Still Seeks Pakistani Contemporary Art, an overview of Pakistani artistic movements, considered among the most prominent in South Asia.
Her civil commitment is constant: she was a member of Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission in 1999 and was awarded the Pride of Performance for Art Education by the Pakistani government. In 2011, the Australian Council of Art and Design Schools (ACUADS) appointed her as an international member for her commitment to education in the field of art and design. In 2016, he was awarded the Alma Award by the Alma Culture Center in Oslo for the promotion of tolerance through the language of art. In the same year Salima received the honorary degree in art and education from the Bath Academy of Arts, UK.
Rosa Maria Falvo writer, expert and independent curator, specialized in contemporary art from the Asia-Pacific area, editor of the publishing house Skira. Italian-Australian, she graduated with honors in English literature at the Monash University in Melbourne and in Art History at the University of Perugia.
She travels around the world, works closely with artists, writers, gallerists, collectors, foundations and numerous institutions, curating the design, production and promotion of editorial and exhibition projects. She is particularly interested in the value of art as a cultural mean for education, exchange and growth. She participates regularly in leading contemporary art fairs, such as the Chobi Mela International Photo Festival and the Dhaka Art Summit in Bangladesh. She is often a guest speaker of prestigious institutions, including Soros Foundation Almaty, Fotografie Museum Amsterdam, Foreign Correspondents’ Club Tokyo, Shanghai & Beijing M Literary Festivals, India Art Fair Delhi, National Geographic Washington DC, Prince Claus Fund Amsterdam, University of Oxford Center for Islamic Studies (OCIS), University of Oxford Brasenose College, New York’s American Institute of Architects, The Photographers’ Gallery London, 21.39 Jeddah Arts, Nanjing International Art Festival, Milan Design Week, Art Dubai.
The first presentation of the project and the announcement of the winners of the Pakistani Emerging Artists Competition took place on 16th November 2017 at the Museo Diocesano, with the participation of Faiza Butt, one of the greatest contemporary Pakistani artists, Rosa Maria Falvo, critic and Italian writer, co-curator for the exhibition, and Adriana Polveroni, artistic director of ArtVerona, who moderated the meeting. Download the Press Release
In the contest of the exhibition Art for Education, Contemporary Artists from Pakistan, IFTCF with the support of Banco BPM organized the meeting EAST MEETS WEST, which took place on 17th May 2018 at 6.30 pm at Museo Poldi Pezzoli (Via A. Manzoni, 12 Milan).
With the moderation of Matteo Bergamini, Exibart Director, the emerging Pakistani artists Amber Hammad, Mahbub Jokhio, Unum Babar and Matt Kushan and their mentor artists Letizia Cariello, Cesare Pietroiusti and Tobia Ravà have talked about the “Poggio Verde” artistic residency. Download the Press Release