A Karachi art exhbit where nothing is for sale

KARACHI: Sivim Naqvi, the assistant curator at Clifton’s Gandhara-art Space, named her first singularly curated show “Whitewash” because, in her words, “none of this work is permanent. It’s all going to be whitewashed over.”

In a polka-dot kameez, Naqvi appears younger than her 24 years, but she is solemn and earnest about the mission of this show. “We talked a lot before we started working. We wanted to question value and exchange, to address what is personal space and public space, what is studio versus gallery,” she said.

In Whitewash, the works of art cannot be separated from the gallery itself, because the art is the gallery — or rather the art is the gallery walls, as altered by paint, projection or literal deconstruction. None of the pieces can be purchased, and once the show closes and the walls are repaired, they will cease to exist.

The concept of unsaleable art in a commercial gallery is not groundbreaking, but it is unique in Karachi, where, according to 24-year-old Karachi artist Reem Khurshid, “galleries are about pushing a product, not owning a space.”

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