KB19 invites artists to challenge mythologies of development cast in concrete and measured in extinct species, wasted bodies, sterile lands and poisoned waters. Construct an echo-archive of personal and national memory

Karachi Biennale (KB) has been designed to use art as a vehicle to discover, discuss and respond to Karachi. Its each iteration has a thematic that is relevant to the host city, in KB19 they will focus on the devastating “development footprint on ecology.”

The thematic for KB19 is inspired by ecological consequences of dense urbanization – “Flight Interrupted: Eco-leaks from the Invasion Desk”.

The title invokes loss of species of low flying birds wiped out by vertical structures in Karachi that broke their free flight and marginalized life-cycles.


Karachi is an exciting, double-sided form: reliable in her recurrence, but open-ended in her actualization. Approaching her from the sea, the coast, lungs of the city that were once lined with mangroves, are now a harbinger of habitat loss ecological disaster. Moving inward, land that miraculously supported life on the edge of a dessert has been stripped and transformed into a new sort of jungle: one of tar and concrete, ruled not by the laws of nature, but the toxins of industrial might and greed-based urban planning. Even the sustenance for life, water, is as scarce as it is polluted. Typography altered, a man displaced

KB-19 “ Development foot prints on nature”

Most analyses of the situation focus on the economic, ecological and social dimensions of this crisis. KB19 invites an artist to explore these avenues but also unpack the cultural dimension of the contemporary crisis of unsustainability, as well as its cultural roots and the origins of this narrative. It offers, in one place, a display of the contemporary art of the world in ways that are entertaining, instructive, and competitive, all at the same time; a constructed eco-archive of personal and national memory, a will to heal and rejuvenate, with strategies to realign with the timeless cycles of nature that pre-date man; a mandate to reveal the diversity, specificity and continuity of art and ecology on the people, place, time and history of this flight.