Intersections is a public art project at Istanbul Chowk, Lahore. Supported by the Commissioner’s Office Lahore, the Government of Punjab and the Parks and Horticulture Society (PHA), and facilitated by the Lahore Biennale Foundation (LBF), the project marks the beginning of the Art in Public Spaces venture.
Art in Public Spaces envisions a dialogue between the government, art and the public; the aim is to recognize art as a powerful and positive tool in shaping the everyday experiences of the city, bridging gaps, alleviating the public and initiating meaningful dialogue.
The Commissioner’s Office, Lahore, under the Government of Punjab, overlooks one of the most densely populated cities in the country, known for its cultural importance in history. Art in Public Spaces is the beginning of yet another revival for the city’s culture and arts, an investment in the artist community and an indicator of a firm belief in the arts as a fundamental right of the people.
City within a City
The Commissioner’s Office Lahore and Lahore Biennale Foundation sent out an open call for artist proposals in June 2015 to create an art installation at Istanbul Chowk. The site was selected for its ever-evolving historical significance, and its centrality between the old and new Lahore.
After a rigorous jury process with the government and art-community representatives, Atif Khan was selected for his winning proposal City Within A City. Taking inspiration from the phenomenon of gathering pigeons on-site, Khan proposed a monumental, abstract birdhouse, which in itself is symbolic of the human desire for shelter and safety.
The artist took further inspiration from his own practice and specifically his 2012 Landscape of the Heart, a series of works that examine the relationship between nature, man and identity through the eyes of a Mughal king. For him, the presence of birds and nature, in a chaotic city, acts as a symbol of peace and serenity. Khan’s artwork explores this idea and further contemplates upon our own identity as humans in a cityscape. Thus, the installation functions as a City Within A City.
Atif Khan graduated (with distinction) in 1997 in Fine Art from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan. In 1998, he was awarded the UNESCO-ASHBURG Bursary for Artists and was appointed artist in residence at the Darat-Al-Funun in Amman, Jordan. He received the Commonwealth Arts & Crafts Award in 2007. He was also appointed artist-in-residence at the Swansea Print Workshop in Wales (2005-06), London Print Studio in England (2008) and Glasgow Print Studio in Scotland (2008).
Khan has been a faculty member at the prestigious National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan since 2005.
City within a City
Mr. Abdullah Sumbal & Ms. Wasimah Umar – Commissioner’s Office lahore
Mr. Shakeel Ahmad – Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA)
Mr. Khawaja Irfan
Awais Gohar – Retro-House Productions
We would also like to extend special thanks to Mr. Rashid Khalil and his team of technicians and craftsmen involved.