Nationwide art competition on SDG themes launched in Islamabad​

Founder Editor Tazeen Akhtar..

Islamabad: A nationwide competition for fine arts students aimed at promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was officially launched at Pakistan National Council of the Arts in Islamabad on Tuesday. On this occasion, an international art curator Ms. Alexie Glass-Kantor delivered a lecture on the role of young people in development and the potential of culture as a medium for overcoming ethnic and religious differences. Curator at Art Basel, Hong Kong and Executive Director of Artspace Sydney Ms Glass-Kantor is in Pakistan to address a series of inaugural events in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar.

Jointly organized by the Embassy of Switzerland and the UN Information Centre in partnership with several other organizations, the competition titled ‘We the Peoples, We the Arts’ was first launched in 2016. It involved students of five leading art schools across Pakistan, who produced sculptures, paintings and miniature paintings, highlighting the theme of Zero Hunger; the second of the 17 SDGs. In the second edition, fine arts students, aged 18 and above, enrolled in accredited Pakistani colleges and / or universities have been invited to participate and produce art in four categories, including print making. The thematic areas have also been expanded to include all the 17 SDGs.

An international jury will judge the submissions in two phases. In the first phase, judges will pre-select twenty-four finalists (six from each category). All the finalists will be awarded USD200 each. In the second phase, the jury will announce one winner from each category at an award ceremony to be held in Islamabad in May 2018. Each of the four winners will be awarded USD500. Artworks from all the 24 finalists will feature in a high-quality catalogue and will be exhibited across Pakistan. Candidates need to register by 15 December 2017 to participate in the competition. Detailed guidelines are available on the website of the Embassy of Switzerland in Pakistan -https://www.fdfa.admin.ch/countries/pakistan/en/home.html.

The event in Islamabad was attended by fine arts students, Ambassador of Switzerland to Pakistan Thomas Kolly, Head of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Ms. Stefanie Burri, and Deputy Director of Artspace Sydney, Ms. Michelle Newton. Before coming to Islamabad, Ms. Glass-Kantor also delivered lectures at the Indus Valley of School of Arts and Architecture and VM Art Gallery in Karachi and the National College of Arts and Beaconhouse National University in Lahore. ‘We the Peoples, We the Arts’ will also be launched in Peshawar on Tuesday.

Curator at Art Basel, Hong Kong and Executive Director of Artspace Sydney Ms Glass-Kantor Ms. Alexie Glass-Kantor said: “‘We the Peoples, We the Arts’ is a wonderful initiative that is aimed at inspiring emerging artists to consider how they can use art as an instrument to consider unique perspectives and solutions to the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The Ambassador of Switzerland, Mr. Thomas Kolly said: “We the Peoples, We the Arts is a joint initiative supported by the Embassy of Switzerland to promote Sustainable Development Goals. The competition will bring forward new ideas to formulate the right questions and generate debate on global challenges. I am excited that young Pakistani artists have this opportunity through this engagement.”

Head of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation - Ms. Stefanie Burri said: “We are proud to launch the second edition of this competition and bring it to more young people across Pakistan. The youth have a responsibility to stand up for development and peace. This competition will give visibility to Pakistani artists in Switzerland, Australia and other countries.”

Background:

‘We the Peoples, We the Arts’ is an art competition that aims to involve young artists in promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is a joint initiative of the Embassy of Switzerland in Pakistan and the United Nations Information Centre. First launched in 2016, ‘We the Peoples, We the Arts’ involved students of five leading art schools across Pakistan, who produced sculptures, paintings and miniature paintings, highlighting the theme of Zero Hunger; the second of 17 SDGs. Twenty-three finalists participated in the award ceremony held in Islamabad in November 2016. Three winners were selected by a panel of international contemporary experts including Ms. Alexie Glass-Cantor; Ms. Priyanka Mathew, Principal Partner - Sunderlande New York; Mr. Karin Seiz, Co-Director - Galerie Urs Meile in Beijing and Lucerne, and Ms. Heike Munder, Director - Migros Museum for Contemporary Art in Zürich. The jury included also representatives from the Embassy of Switzerland and the United Nations. Artworks from all the 23 finalists were featured in a high-end catalogue (http://bit.ly/2gamj46) and have been exhibited throughout Pakistan. Building on the success of this initiative, partners have decided to launch the second edition of ‘We the Peoples, We the Arts’ and expand participation and thematic areas of the competition.

Sustainable Development Goals:

The SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. By 2030, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind. The SDGs address the most pressing global challenges of our time, calling upon collaborative partnerships across and between countries to balance the three dimensions of sustainable development, economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social inclusion.