PEOPLE & PLACES

Muhammad Ahmed Shah is the president of Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi. Ahmed Shah is managing arts, culture, literature and fine arts. He has produced several TV Plays, Drama serials and music festivals. On promoting socio-political issues via cultural exchange for Karachi he introduced events like music, youth, dance and literary festivals among others. The establishment of the fine arts academy gives free education to 200 underprivileged students.

Nurayah Sheikh Nabi is an art educator and a practicing printmaker. Nurayah is the coordinator of the Indus Valley School print studio and has been part of the Fine Art faculty at the Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture in Karachi Pakistan. She has been teaching for the last 18 years. Her work has been exhibited with in Pakistan and Internationally. She has worked on a number of international educational exchange projects with regards to printmaking. Nurayah has worked on numerous community-building projects and is part of the core committee for ‘Pursukoon Karachi’, an organization that comprises of visual practioners, who work towards the betterment of the city through a peaceful creative approach.

Sameera Raja was trained as an architect from the National College of Arts in Lahore. After some years of architectural practice, she founded Canvas Gallery in Karachi. Within 18 years Sameera Raja has expanded her space, and interests. Today Canvas Gallery is one of the leading galleries, that represents Pakistan’s most prominent artists. She has worked in collaboration with prestigious galleries all over the world in order to promote contemporary art of Pakistan. With Sculpture Residency Programmes she initiated together with key corporate partners to bring art into the public realm. Sameera Raja is also the Chairperson of the Executive Committee and a Member of the Board of Governors of the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi.

Architect and Heritage activist Marvi Mazhar established her own architecture and design studio in 2011. She is the co-founder of (ADRL) The Architectural Design Research Lab, housed within, and affiliated with, the Department of Architecture at the Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture. 2016 she found the Pakistan Chowk Community Centre that examines heritage in Kararchis Old Town. She is currently the Project Manager of National History Museum in conceptualized by The Citizens Archive of Pakistan. Since 2018 she works as an advisor to the Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training, and National History & Literary Heritage Division.

Sonya Battla was born and raised in Karachi, studied Fashion in London and now lives and works in Karachi. She established her label in 2000. Sonya Battla works with high quality material, bridges traditional form with contemporary interpretations and finds ist artistic expressions.

Asma Mundrawala is a visual artist and theater practitioner, currently serveing as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Fine Art at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi. Apart from a visual arts practice, Asma has a background in theater since 1997 and is the co-founder and Director for Zambeel Dramatic Readings, a group that renders Urdu texts in dramatic form for live audiences. Asma received her BFA from the IVS in 1995 and an MA in Art and Performance Theory from the Wimbledon School of Art, London.

Aquila Ismail is an author, activist, social worker and a teacher. She has written on literature, women’s issues as well as on development concerns of Karachi in leading Pakistani newspapers and magazines. Ismail continues the work of her sister Perween Rahman who was assassinated for her work for the Orangi Pilot Project. A Project dedicated to the people of Karachi’s Orangi Town, one of the worlds biggest slums. Since Perween’s death 2013 Aquila quit fiction writing and dedicates her life to the responsibility the heritage of her sister has left.

Sheema Kermani is one of the most celebrated Pakistanis for her fight to end social injustice in her country. The dancer, theater director and activist deeply and truly believes in the Marxist ideology and a vision of a classless society where men and women hold an equal status, this includes Sheema’s knowldege o  feminism as a recognition of the existence of sexism, male domination and patriarchy and the desire to change this situation.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy  is a Pakistani jounalist, filmmaker and activist. She is known for her work in films that highlight the inequality with women. She has been awarded with two Academy Awards, six Emmy Awards and a lot more international award. By bringing unheard voices to the forefront, she has often succeded in bringing critical change to these communities.

Khurram Kasim is on the board of directors of various companies of the Hasham Group, which is his family concern. Mr. Kasim started collecting contemporary Pakistani art in 1997. Over the past twenty years he has developed one of the most significant private contemporary art collections in Pakistan. He established the Khurram Kasim Art Foundation, an initiative that provides a sponsorship for an artist from Pakistan to be selected for the Delfina Foundation residency in the United Kingdom every year.

Noorjehan Bilgrami is an artist, textile designer and researcher. Her interest in traditional crafts led to the establishment of KOEL, a workshop that pioneered the revival of hand block printed fabrics in Pakistan. With KOEL Bilgrami runs a gallery for contemporary art, a restaurant and a boutique where the results of her research into ajrak, a traditional Sindhi textile, led to cloth still produced by Pakistan’s craftsmen.

Sarah Bilgrami is an artist, textile designer and researcher in traditional crafts. Together with her mother Noorjehan Bilgrami is owns the establishment of KOEL, where Sarah takes care of the restaurant and the shop a that from ist beginnings works on the revival of hand block printed fabrics in Pakistan.

Nafees Ahmad is a sitar player, highly knowledgeable of both Eastern and Western music. The son of sitar nawaz Ustad Fateh Ali Khan has performed with various symphony orchestras and musical ensembles all over the world. He is the Musical Director at The National Academy of Performing Arts in Karachi, where he also teaches.

Ayesha Khan is part of the Collective for Social Science Research as a Senior Researcher since 2001. Her work covers gender and development, social policy and conflict/refugee issues. She has also worked as a journalist in international radio, local television, newspapers and magazines. She was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Research to research the effect of conflict on women. More recently, she researched the effects of paid work on women’s empowerment in Pakistan and led a study on induced abortions in Pakistan. She is currently working on a mapping and assessment of child protection services and policies in the country. 

Actress, activist and model  Kami Sid is the first transgender women who played a role as a transgender in the film „Rani“. Apart from her modelling career the LGBTQ rights activist is head of the human rights organisation Subrang Society where she  promotes rights for gender minorities to conquer the social and religious obstacles in her country and on an international level.

Rumana Husain is an author, illustrator and educator. Research, writing, designing, teacher training belong to the skills she offers. Articles of general interest including bookreviews, art criticism, theater, music, travelogues. The author of Karachiwala and Street smart illustrates books for children and is also into constructing fabric wall hangings and murals and hand-made stuffed toys.

Girls at Dhabas is movement that started up in Karachi, dhabas – roadside tea and food stalls nearby highways and truck stops. These public areas are traditionally male-occupied spaces – women are only permitted if they have a man to escort them.  Girls at Dhabas is a collective going on through the internet in which women are taking selfies of themselves drinking tea at dhabas with the hashtag #girlsatdhabas.  They reclaim public places to empower through visibility.  

Mohammad Jibran Nasir is a lawyer, civil rights activist, blogger. He ran for the seat of the Provincial Assembly of Sindh as an independent candidate in 2018, but was unsuccessful Jibran is involved in relief work through Elaj Trust and advocacy and rights awareness through Never Forget Pakistan. He regularly engages youth on topics of extremism and social taboos and has spoken on that at national and international Universities.

Karamat Ali is a founder member and executive Director of PILER, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research. He is a veteran trade unionist who played an important role in the labour movement of the 1970s and since then has been committed to labour rights, education and capacity building of workers and regional peace advocacy and research. He has written extensively on labour and peace issues for academic journals and the national media.

Atiya Khan has achieved a high level of acclaim and success, undertaking a leadership and pioneering role in the fields of TV production, direction, acting, modelling and presenting. She has been directing and producing for the Advertising and Television industry in Pakistan since 1994. Her expertise in the media merged with her interest and knowledge of Sufism have led her to promote Sufism and moderate Islam through a wide variety of channels

Shahid Abdulla is an architect and the principal and founding partner of Arshad Shahid Abdulla. He is a member of Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners (PCATP) as well as Institute of Architects Pakistan. In 1990, along with a group of concerned individuals, he founded the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture.  It was his initiative to relocate the 100 year old Nusserwanjee building from its premises in Kharadar to the new school in Clifton. Abdullah helped found The Hunar Foundation (THF), a non-profit organization with the objective of finding a solution to the problems of livelihood for the youth.

Naseeruddin Saami was born in a family of classical vocalists, who have been practising their art for more than 730 years. Ustad Naseeruddin Sami possesses two Tambooras around 175 years old. Naseeruddin started his training from the age of 10 years. His style of singing is called ‘Sudh Bani’. Naseeruddin is a strict follower in the style of his family tradition-keeping ‘Sur’ as the most important component of his singing. His singing is peaceful and calm rendition of the raga.

Adeela Suleman is an associate Professor and Head of Fine Art Department at The Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture in Karachi. She is the founding member and Director of Vasl Artists’ Association, Karachi, Pakistan. As an artist she mainly works as a sculptor questioning religion, politics, private and public, and women. Adeela has exhibited in several solo shows in and outside the country.