Title: “The Fold”
Commissioner: Asad I. Khan, Chairman, Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners (PCATP)
Curator: Sami Chohan
Exhibitors: Bilal Kapadia, Durreshahwar Alvi, Mustafa Mehdi, Salman Jawed, Sami Chohan, Zeba Asad
The curatorial and design team explored this year’s theme of Venice Biennale, FREESPACE, within the context of Karachi, Pakistan’s largest and most populated city. The country’s premier industrial and financial center, Karachi continues to draw people from all over Pakistan in search of employment opportunities and improved livelihoods; the city is also home to a large number of immigrants from near-by countries facing regional conflicts and economic deprivation. This influx has seen Karachi grow from a city of over 20 million people expanding rapidly into an urban fabric revealing both regulated and unregulated development patterns, resulting in a severe contraction and disappearance of open spaces for communal sociability. In spite of their confined physical conditions, these sparsely open spaces remain full of life and vitality, not only functioning as thoroughfares, but serving as vibrant arenas for interaction, dissemination of information, exchange of ideas, and even play. In ways that appear almost inconceivable, these spaces make enough room for everyone, displaying an incredible sense of community. In absence of customary parks and playgrounds, they remain free for all, considerately shared by those residing around and along them. It is precisely the physical and social dimensions of the sparsely open spaces within the many informal settlements of Karachi that inform the design of the Pakistan Pavilion: a confined visual and spatial experience that relies on mutual understanding to unfold into a liberating one. Articulated as The Fold and layered with ideas of limitation, interdependency and adaptability, the Pavilion invites visitors to assemble, coordinate, and activate the space in harmony.
- Curatorial team (from top left to bottom right) Bilal Kapadia, Durreshahwar Alvi, Mustafa Mehdi, Salman Jawed and Zeba Asad