Canvas Art is one of Pakistan’s leading art galleries dedicated to supporting emerging artists from across the country. The gallery deals in modern, miniature and contemporary art, and possesses a collection of over 1,000 objects by 100 different Pakistani artists, making it an excellent destination for those looking to discover more about the current state of Pakistani art. Alongside the permanent collection, each month Canvas Art also presents two exhibitions – past shows have included a display of works by Muhammad Zeeshan, a talented and internationally recognised miniature painter and Nazia Ejaz, whose paintings depict colourful cityscapes and rickshaws inspired by the urban life of Lahore, her hometown.
ArtChowk has a quite unique background story. The gallery wasn’t established as an actual gallery, but started out in 2008 as an online exhibiting and selling platform. The decision was made to overcome the geographical constraints of a physical gallery and reach a truly international audience; but following the success of this experience, the curatorial team behind the web platform decided to also set up a physical art space in Karachi. The gallery offers cutting-edge solo and collective exhibitions showcasing works by both emerging and established artists from Pakistan and, more generally, South East Asia. A recent show, The Garden of Her Memories, was a display of naturalistic paintings by established Pakistani painter Jamil Afridi.
For a gallery specialising in the history of Pakistani painting, Unicorn Gallery is probably the best choice in Karachi. Founded by art critic Seemah Niaz, the gallery was inaugurated with an outstanding collective exhibition which presented works by some of the most distinguished Pakistani painters, including Ahmed Parvez, Bashir Mirza, Abdur Rahman Chughtai and master calligrapher Sadequain. A recent exhibition displayed works by Ghulam Rasul, an influential Pakistani landscape painter. Unicorn Gallery is also active in the preservation of the history of regional painting by way of a prolific production of art monographs and books, which can be bought directly at the bookshop found in the gallery.
Unicorn Gallery, D116/1A, Block 4, Clifton, Karachi, Pakistan, +92 21 3583 1220
KOEL was established in 1977 as a textile workshop. Founder Noorjehan Bilgrami opened the workshop as a space to preserve the then-dying craft of hand-block printing, an artisanal technique for which fabrics are decorated with patterns by using a carved wood block much like a stamp. With time, a gallery was added to the workshop with a similar mission: to preserve and promote regional artworks, including paintings, sculptures, photography, and craft objects such as ceramics and, of course, textiles. In addition to lovely artworks on display, the gallery also boasts a cafe and a charming courtyard.
Koel Gallery, F-42/2 Block 4, Karachi, Pakistan, +92 021 583 1292