KARACHI: The Central Institute of Arts and Crafts (CIAC) hosted Art Night – a tribute to Ali Imam, the late patriarch of Karachi art scene who was instrumental in making CIAC the foremost art school of the city in the 1960s and 1970s. Held at a local hotel yesterday, the event was also a call for funds for renovation and upgrade of the CIAC’s art facilities.
CIAC, founded in 1966 by a group of philanthropists, aimed to educate people in the field of visual art and graphic design and was the first art school in Karachi to offer a design programme. Ali Imam took over the CIAC in 1966 shortly after his return from London and worked enthusiastically to bring art education to everyone, no matter if they could afford it or not. He left the CIAC in 1970 and established the Indus Gallery.
The show began with messages from Ali Imam’s wife and children about their father and their fond memories of him. His friends Kamal Ahmed Rizvi, Saleem Asmi and Aftab Tapal along with his formers students Nahid Raza, Noorjehan Bilgrami, Tabinda Chinoy and Nargis Khalid also spoke lovingly of Ali Imam and his life. Nahid Raza, incidentally also Imam’s niece, spoke of how he was the reason behind she being an artist now and how he taught her to look at the world differently.
A presentation by Seema Tahir Khan, another former CIAC student, highlighted the years that Imam headed the CIAC with a montage of black and white pictures and music. The pictures provided a unique view of the thriving art scene in the 60’s and 70’s and provided a look at the younger selves of many famous artists today.
An exclusive exhibition by Tapu Javeri of Ali Imam’s portraits was also unveiled alongside black and white photographs provided by the CIAC Alumni. A silent art auction featuring the works of CIAC Alumni Shakeel Siddiqi, Nahid Raza, Imran Mir, Tabinda Chinoy, Omar Farid and Momin was also held.