Naiza Khan’s interest in interventions into public and urban space in Pakistan has led her to a long-term investigation of Manora Island. Manora was historically a defense fort facing the Arabian Sea and forms part of a small archipelago just off the natural harbor of Karachi. The presence of different religious buildings points to a multi-religious social fabric that perhaps once existed on this island. Over the years, she has witnessed a particular kind of development, in which the natural ecology of the island and its history has been slowly erased. Unlike the grand scale of power struggles that are difficult to articulate in the city, the island is marked by built structures, where it is possible to visualize the sense of urban decay and transformation. Her presence as an artist on the island has acted as a catalyst for possible outcomes. Like the island which stands as a sentry-post; this research has become an observation point that informs her broader project examining the port city of Karachi, its urban sprawl, its history and the decaying machinery of colonialism. The assault on urban and architectural materiality has become a symbol of geopolitical strife. The contested sovereignties over land have produced multiple mappings and conflicts: how the land has been used and by whom, has also produced competing imaginations of space.
Naiza H. Khan: Born in 1968, is based in Karachi, Pakistan. Khan trained at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University and Wimbledon School of Art, London. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including the 2012 Shanghai Biennale, Hanging Fire: Contemporary Art from Pakistan at the Asia Society in New York, Biennale Donna, Art Dubai, Manifesta 8, and the Cairo Biennale. She has also curated three exhibitions of Pakistani contemporary art, including “The Rising Tide: New Directions in Art from Pakistan 1990-2010” in the Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi. She is currently lecturing at the Visual Studies Department at Karachi University. Co-sponsored by the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design, the Department of the History of Art and UMMA.
Currently Naiza Khan's work is being exhibited at Michigan State University: