International Artists' Residency 2003

The first Vasl Residency kicked off on the 9th of August, with the arrival of Liew Kwai Fei from Kuala Lumpur and Afshar Malik from Lahore. Their arrival coincided with the launch of Sadequain’s Retrospective Catalogue at the Mohatta Palace Museum!

Our Vasl Pilot Residency has come after a gap of almost two and a half years after the Gadani Workshop. Much has happened in the socio–political scenario in this part of the world. And we have had to think hard and long before taking the next steps for Vasl.

In the first week to 10 days, the artists became familiar with the complex and rich context of this urban city. Karachi never ceases to shock and amaze the visitor with its myriad visual culture, its bazaars and energy…. And so, with the help of Munawar Ali and Adeela Suleman, the artists took many trips to Khajoor Bazaar, Botal Gali, Eidgagh and Khori Gardens. They visited the Sunday book fairs, art shops and hardware stores. Many objects were found, bought, collected, over the next few weeks, as ideas crystallized, and a more comfortable dialogue developed amongst the 5 artists.

Over a period of 5 weeks, many artists came to the ‘Vasl flat’ as it came to be known, and shared their work with the Residents. This was important in terms of the artists getting acquainted with the local artists and the kind of contemporary work happening in Karachi, it generated a source of informal conversations. The numerous dinners, almost every other night, added to the stream and flow of dialogue…!

Some events that were scheduled proved to be an important link for the audience and the artists. There was an Open Forum, which was targeted towards art students and, teachers, and artists. Each Vasl Artist showed slides of their work, and projects they are involved in their respective countries, a question and answer session followed…. The Open Studio, was another point of contact, that was essential to gaining an insight into ‘process’, and enjoying a relaxed chat with the artists, in their studio spaces.

The Residency offered a time for experimentation, where the artists could benefit from the new urban context and from new contacts with local artists and art professionals in Karachi. It has also encouraged the development of International links between artists, promoting an inclusive approach to the diversity of international art.



Working up to the Exhibition is always a hectic, and intensive time! All nighters in the studios, lots of tea…and lots of help from the VM Gallery team!

Over 300 people attended the Opening of the Vasl Residency Exhibition at the VM Gallery! There was press coverage in Karachi and Mumbai, and TV coverage in GEO and Telebiz, to be aired on International transmission.



Open Forum September 1st 2003 3-5pm VM Gallery
Open Studio September 5th 2003 3-6pm Studio space, Rangoonwala Centre
Exhibition 10th –13th September 2003 VM Gallery
Outreach 15th September 2003 VM Gallery
Lahore Outreach 16th – 20th September 2003 NCA and SVA


Vasl working group:

Roohi Ahmed, Munawer Ali, Moeen Faruqi, Amin Gulgee, Naiza Khan, Sumaira Tehzeen, Adeela Suleman


Supported by:

Rangoonwala Foundation and VM Gallery
Triangle Arts Trust, UK and Robert Loder
Arts Council England, International Artists Fellowships
British Council, Karachi
National Art Gallery, Malaysia
Khoj International Artists’ Workshop


A major local partner, the Rangoonwala Foundation has supported the Residency immensely. Providing the Vasl Residency with living accommodation for the 5 artists, studio spaces within the Rangoonwala Foundation complex, and the brilliant space of the VM Gallery. Alongside this, they have provided much needed logistical support with Riffat Alvi , Farhan , and the whole team at the VM Gallery and Centre.

This residency is the result of a partnership between Vasl and the Rangoonwala Foundation, Karachi. We have also been supported by the Arts Council England, International Artists Fellowships, organised in conjunction with Triangle Arts Trust, UK.


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