“This is a must-read book, not only as a companion to the Venice installation, but also as a repository of succinct interventions by major scholars and critics of South Asian cultural and art historical studies.”—Salah M. Hassan, Goldwin Smith Professor, Art History and Africana Studies, Cornell University
Presented in 2019 by the Pakistan National Council of the Arts and Foundation Art Divvy, Manora Field Notes, a highly complex multimedia installation by leading contemporary artist Naiza Khan, formed the inaugural Pavilion of Pakistan at the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. Curated by Zahra Khan, this project is an iteration of the artist’s long-standing engagement with Manora Island, a peninsula located off the harbour of Karachi, Pakistan’s most populous city. The work poetically documents the slow erasure of the island’s architectural landscape. It charts the demise of the area’s ecology in relation to climate and environmental changes as well as issues of social and economic justice, and mass displacement. Most exceptionally, Manora Field Notes bears witness to similar transformations in major cities across the Global South. It also creates uncanny links between Karachi and Venice as both port cities are situated on historical, transnational trade routes that, at different points in time, have been at the crossroads of immense geopolitical change.