Very Very Sweet Medina, 1999

Durriya Kazi & David Alesworth
With Shah Steel Works, Sarfaraz Electrician and Pervez Cinema Painter
Very Very Sweet Medina
Stainless steel, enamel on medium-density fibreboard, Perspex, lights, florescent stickers, sound sensor, sound recording, hub caps, aeriels, cloth, folders and paper
Cabinet: 146 x 46 x 46 cm; painting: 183 x 183 cm
Courtesy of Durriya Kazi


In parallel to the show Bani Abidi: Funland at Sharjah Art Foundation, this one-day convening expands on the commission Very Very Sweet Medina, which features artistic and archival contributions by Bani Abidi, Roohi Ahmed, David Alesworth, Shilpa Gupta, Saba Iqbal, Durriya Kazi, Alia Hasan Khan, Naiza Khan, Huma Mulji, Asma Mundrawala, Adeela Suleman and Sohail Zuberi.

Very Very Sweet Medina is a collection of artworks, archives, oral histories and ephemera charting a constellation of art practices and dialogues that emerged in Karachi in the 1990s and continue to impact art making today. Projects focus on collective practice, exhibitions and large scale participatory and ephemeral public installations, combining elements between high art and urban craft.

Titled Artistic Innovation and Collective Practice: Karachi in the 1990s and Beyond, this convening brings together voices from the generation of the 1990s and places them in dialogue with historians, curators, writers and practitioners of today. The aim is not necessarily to offer a linear or complete narrative, but rather to focus on the multiplicity of voices and practices that emerged at the time and ways in which this moment continues to inform new voices and collective work.


10:00 am–10:15 am
Welcome remarks
Hoor Al Qasimi, Director, Sharjah Art Foundation, and Bani Abidi

10:15 am–10:30 am
Introduction to Very Very Sweet Medina
Aziz Sohail

10:30 am–11:15 am
Presentation: Vernacular Visualities in Karachi in the 1990s
Hammad Nasar
Followed by Q&A.

11:15 am– 11:45 am
Presentation: Social Engagement in Pakistani Art and Beyond: Experimentations in Practice from 1947 until today
Atteqa Ali

11:45 am–12:00 pm
Tea break

12:00 pm–1:00 pm
Studio 46/A and Beyond
Bani Abidi in conversation with Huma Mulji and Asma Mundrawala
(including Q&A)

1:00 pm–2:00 pm
Lunch break

2:00 pm– 3:00 pm
Entanglements Across the Border and Institutionalisation
Aziz Sohail in conversation with Pooja Sood, Adeela Suleman and Huma Mulji about Khoj International Artists Association, Delhi and Vasl Artists Association, Karachi
Followed by Q&A moderated by Aziz Sohail

3:00 - 3:30 pm
Huma Mulji: Presentation on Aar Paar (Through and Through), Karachi/Mumbai (2000 – 2004)

3:30 pm–3:45 pm
Tea break

3:45 pm–5:15 pm
Innovation and Practices Now (2008–present)
Yaminay Chaudhri: Mera Karachi Mobile Cinema and Karachi Beach Radio
Shahana Rajani and Zahra Malkani: Karachi La Jamia
Followed by discussion moderated by Nada Raza

5:15 pm–5:30 pm
Epilogue: These Silences Are All the Words
Film screening of work by the late Madiha Aijaz (b. 1981, d. 2019)


Sessions will be in English.