KARACHI: An installation by Pakistani artist Adeela Suleman was reportedly “forcefully shut down” at the Karachi Biennale ’19 on Sunday. The exhibit, titled “Killing Fields of Karachi”, had an installation of 444 pillars that were symbolic of the 444 murders/victims of now retired, Pakistani police officer, Rao Anwar. According to an article by The News last year, Rao Anwar led police encounters that brought 444 suspects to their death between 2011-2018.
According to the artist, the installation was a retelling of this. According to The Express Tribune, the exhibit also included a short documentary that featured Muhammad Khan, the father of Naqeebullah Mehsud, a victim of a fake police encounter on officer Rao Anwar’s command. The documentary also narrated facts surrounding the encounter.
At around noon, The Express Tribune reports that “important-looking men” found their way to the exhibit and padlocked the doors leading to the gallery, prohibiting any public access to it. Civil society members such as lawyer and activist Jibran Nasir took to his social media to voice his concerns about taking the display down and demanded the reopening of it.
He further held a press conference at Frere Hall on the issue. The lawyer reported that his press conference was disrupted by “unknown men.”
The incident has been noticed by social media where users are voicing their opinions on the closure.
A recent video posted by journalist Mubashir Zaidi has shown art students attempting to restore Adeela’s work.