Academic Forum and Art Speak sessions of Lahore Biennale Festival (LBF) were held at Alhamra Art Center on Monday. Artists Salman Toor and Komail Aijazuddin described their work on display at the Bienalle.Talking about his work, Komail Aijazuddin said it was based on the vocabulary of traditional religious art such as gold leaf, illuminations, altar pieces, paintings, scrolls and votive objects to investigate contemporary ideas of divinity, belief, religion, identify statehood, belonging and the question of what constitutes personal faith. He added that while working on his art projects, he had deeply studied the Islamic Architecture and style. Aziz Sohail, the curator of the academic panel and Art Speak, says there was an overwhelming response by the public over the lectures by Komail Aijazuddin, Salman Toor and Ashish RajadhyakshaSalman Toor, explaining the idea behind his work, said that his project combined painting, collage and installation, connecting Lahore to New York City, which was a new trend showcased by him at the LBF. He said that the forms in the work aimed to create an interface between seemingly divergent understandings of an over connected world, developing societies like Lahore and microcosms of cultures like Brooklyn’s art scene where the artists live and work. He told Daily Times that the stories in the paintings and text highlight the issues of assimilation and resistance to the cultural rhythms of both cities. Talking to the session, he said that the ‘Boom’ panels act as thought bubbles and sudden revelations as seen in exclamations of advertisement marking sales on signs all over Lahore and New York City. He said that the text included random diary entries in (legible and illegible) English as well as Persio-Arabic gibberish, memories of graffiti dribbled in alleyways and mosques, calligraphic protest banners and shop signs in Lahore and New York City.Ashish Rajadhyaksha from New Delhi, a writer and film reviewer, spoke about Lahore and missing history of Bombay Cinema. While talking to Daily Times, he said that he was presently based in Bangalore in India and was working on this subject sine long. He said that it was important to narrate the connection of Bombay and Pakistani Cinema and also the new generation needs to know how the old artists who worked together ignoring boundaries and borders. He said that there was an element of harmony and connection between the artists and he remembered Madam Noor Jahan travelling to Bombay for work and meeting friends. He told Daily Times that LB01 has provided a great platform for the artists to interact with each other and share their experiences with the audience. Talking to Daily Times, Aziz Sohail, the curator of the academic panel and Art Speak, who himself is a art historian and writer, said that there was an overwhelming response by the public over the lectures by Komail Aijazuddin, Salman Toor and Ashish Rajadhyaksha. He said that the purpose of these academic sessions and talks was to provide the artists a platform to explain their work and art. He added that Pakistan lacked the culture of artists interaction and so Biennale Lahore is trying its best in introducing this culture and trend here. He said the festival is an opportunity for the artists to sit on a panel and interact with the audience. He told Daily Times that there was an audience of 60 to 70 persons in today’s sessions and the turnover of students from institutes like Beaconhouse National University, National College of Arts, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) was immense. He added that professionals like art historians, curators, painters, artists and writers also attended today’s sessions.Aziz Sohail informed Daily Times that the session by Ashsish Rajadhyaksha was to showcase the relationship between Bombay and Lahore. He also mentioned that Ashsish Rajadhyaksha focused on the life of Pakistani Singer Madam Noor Jahan and how she worked for Bombay Industry. Executive Director of Lahore Biennale Qudsia Raheem, while talking to Daily Times, said that today’s session was a dialogue on this region. She added that LB01 is a platform to bring international scholars to Pakistan who are working on the art and culture of Pakistan and also on Turkey, South Asia, South East Asia and other arts cities . “It allows for the audience to engage with the work on display, and for the artists to re-examine their own practices” she concluded. Published in Daily Times, March 27th 2018.