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Artistic Director Rashid Rana Withdraws from Inaugural Lahore Biennale

Rashid Rana, artistic director of the inaugural Lahore Biennale—slated to be the largest contemporary art event ever held in Pakistan—has announced that he is stepping down. A joint statement issued by Rana and the Lahore Biennale Foundation, posted on the biennial’s Instagram account, said they “were not able to reach a formal agreement on their proposed collaborative relationship and have decided to amicably part ways and not work together.”

It also said the foundation recognizes that any ideas proposed by Rana for the concept and methodology of the exhibition are his intellectual property and will not be used for the upcoming event. The statement concluded with: “Both parties wish each other continued success in their future endeavors.”

When the Pakistani artist took up the position in March 2016, he said, “This biennale will set out to challenge the parameters of both the biennale format and the discipline of art itself, seeking to imagine possible futures and potentials in subversive yet expansive ways. Further, by attempting to engage residents of the city directly, this biennale aims to create a network where participation and power are diffused, creating a horizontally, as opposed to vertically, structured system.”

A spokesperson for the biennial told that the event will no longer kick off in November as originally planned. Instead, it will take place in February 2018. The organizers of the exhibition will announce a new curatorial approach later this month.