Established in 2007, Gallery 39K was founded by Abdullah Qureshi, with Rakhshanda Atawar and Rubab Uppal, as an alternative and critical space in Lahore.
Recognising a lack of opportunities for emerging artists in Pakistan, as well as platforms that allowed experimental and risk-taking within art making, from 2007 - 2016, the programme remained broad and interdisciplinary through curated exhibitions, residencies, and artist-led workshops and talks. Working with local and international artists, many of these activities challenged ways of approaching art in the country by showcasing a range of practitioners, as well as addressing key social issues such as gender, urbanisation, and queer politics along with issues of religious and ethnic minorities in the country.
To view an archive of exhibitions and events, please visit the Gallery 39K Facebook page.
In 2016, all public facing programming was discontinued in order to re-evaluate mission and focus - leading to the formation of Shameem Sarfraz Scholarship for Cultural Studies, an annual award supporting one post-graduate student pursuing Cultural Studies at the National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore.
In 2018, Hina Aziz was selected as the 1st recipient of the Shameem Sarfraz Scholarship for Cultural Studies. This year, in 2019, the scholarship has been awarded to Noor Ul Ain Khawaja.