Sameera Raja, gallerist from Karachi, Pakistan
Being a gallerist in Pakistan or in Berlin – what’s the difference?
I think it is harder to run a gallery in Pakistan because it is a completely new market. Here in Germany, people have links with art through a tradition that goes back centuries. They have a lot of experience and knowledge. In Pakistan, we have to educate people about art first, so it's harder, but also more exciting.
What are your perceptions about the art scene in Berlin?
Very lively, enthusiastic and young. It is ahead of its time, but at the same time there is a great museum scene with old art, such as on Museum Island. That is a wonderful mixture.
What ideas are you taking home with you?
In Pakistan, the significance of art has not yet been recognised. Here in Berlin, as everywhere in Germany, there are many funding programmes for artists and exhibition venues that are supported with public money. I wish there were something like that in Pakistan too. I would love to go to the government and say: ‘Do something like that, give something back!’ Art provides a wonderful means for understanding a country’s culture. In contrast with the image often conveyed by international media, art reveals what makes people tick, what they think, who they are.