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28 October 2022 - 12 March 2023
Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Germany
Hall of Contemporary Art
Curator: Dr Omar Kholeif
Director of Collections and Senior Curator, Sharjah Art Foundation
Exhibition Designer and Architectural Consultant: Todd Reisz
Drawing from the international collection of Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE, In the Heart of Another Country showcases the work of more than 60 artists through over 140 artworks in all media, many of which have rarely, if ever, been seen outside of their original context. In the Heart of Another Country explores the concept of home—of longing, belonging, and rootedness— tracing a travelogue through multiple underrepresented sites, histories, and geographies within the art historical canon. The artists featured in the exhibition have traversed migratory routes from South and West Asia, through Africa, and the Caribbean.
Recently restored installations are presented alongside contemporary acquisitions, which narrate a communal story of kinship amongst artists—one often developed against a backdrop of political turmoil and social unrest. In the Heart of Another Country embodies Sharjah Art Foundation’s critical role in advancing East-East and South-South understanding of art making, forging a meeting point— a connective tissue that nurtures a polyphonous and inclusive art history.
In an age of constant mobility, In the Heart of Another Country explores human experience through the creative output of three generations of artists who hail from multiple geographies, sites, and histories. Their journeys converge at a single meeting point: Sharjah, a port city in the UAE that extends across from the Arabian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman. Over the last 30 years, the Sharjah Biennial and since 2009, the Sharjah Art Foundation have functioned as a platform for artists who live or work in a geography commonly referred to as ‘the Global South’. The Foundation has accumulated an archive of contemporary thought and form generated by artists through commissions and exhibitions, performances and conversation, and its public collection of modern and contemporary art. These works endure an inter-textual record—a document of varied and collective histories, as well as propositions for the future.
Drawing inspiration from the late artist and author Etel Adnan’s landmark memoir, In the Heart of the Heart of Another Country (2004), the exhibition charts sentiments of longing, memorial, homecoming and separation though a constellation of artworks that unfold across multitudinous borders, both real and imagined. The politics of place and placeless-ness is explored through myriad art forms—from tessellating architectural structures conceived by Saloua Raouda Choucair to the sensuous abstraction found in the paintings of Huguette Caland, and the architectonic sculpture of Simone Fattal. These artworks are put into dialogue with contemporary plans by the likes of Marwan Rechmaoui, who conceives a restorative urban sphere for his native Lebanon, a country too often found in the grip of conflict and ensuing dilapidation. The earth works of the enigmatic figure, Marcos Grigorian—a multi-hyphenate whose biography is as multifaceted as his art, sit alongside Adam Henein’s delicate drawings on papyrus. In-between these visual journeys are extensive presentations of the reconfigured body, as seen in self-portraits by Rasheed Araeen and Amal Kenawy—their evocative images reveal the possibilities of distinguishing the self and the other.
The Sharjah Art Foundation Collection’s roots were seeded with acquisitions and commissions from the Sharjah Biennial and Foundation. It has since grown to be one of the Middle East’s pre-eminent collections, serving to enrich the lives of audiences through the acquisition and rotating exhibition of significant works of modern and contemporary art, both locally and inter- nationally. The more than 1,300 works span art movements from the 1920s to the present day in an ever-expanding range of visual culture and forms. Reflecting Sharjah’s history as a major regional trade route, the collection acts as a node that connects cultures through modern and contemporary art. The collection proposes a re-authoring of the history of art, contextualising it from a South / South and East/East perspective while offering an alternative view that shifts the axis of this history to a more inclusive, intergenerational, and transcultural one.
Sharjah Art Foundation is an advocate, catalyst, and producer of contemporary art within the Emirate of Sharjah and the surrounding region, in dialogue with the international arts community. Under the leadership of founder Hoor Al Qasimi, a curator and artist, the foundation advances an experimental and wide-ranging programmatic model that supports the production and presentation of contemporary art, preserves, and celebrates the distinct culture of the region and encourages a shared understanding of the transformational role of art. The foundation’s core initiatives include the long-running Sharjah Biennial, featuring contemporary artists from around the world; the annual March Meeting, a convening of international arts professionals and artists; grants and residencies for artists, curators, and cultural producers; ambitious and experimental commissions and a range of travelling exhibitions and scholarly publications.
Established in 2009 to expand programmes beyond the Sharjah Biennial, which launched in 1993, the foundation is a critical resource for artists and cultural organizations in the Gulf and a conduit for local, regional, and international developments in contemporary art. The foundation’s deep assurance to developing and sustaining the cultural life and heritage of Sharjah is reflected through year- round exhibitions, performances, screenings, and educational programmes in the city of Sharjah and across the Emirate, often hosted in historic buildings that have been repurposed as cultural and community centres. A growing collection reflects the foundation’s support of contemporary artists in the realization of new work and its recognition of the contributions made by pioneering modern artists from the region and around the world.
Sharjah Art Foundation is a legally independent public body established by Emiri Decree and supported by government funding, grants from national and international non-profits and cultural organizations, corporate sponsors, and individual patrons. All its exhibitions are free and open to the public.
More about SAF in UiU
incl. Art Spaces in Sharjah, selected exhibitions and events.
Special Features by UiU about all the editions since 2003.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Snoek Verlag, edited by Dirk Luckow and Omar Kholeif. 312 pages, clothbound, 240 x 210 mm, 160 coloured illustrations, text (German/English) by Omar Kholeif, introduction / forword by Dirk Luckow and Sheikha Hoor Al Qassimi.
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Opening hours, access:
Tue – Sun 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Every first Thursday of the month 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Open on all holidays except Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve
Website of the exhibition:
Press information, contacts:
Press releases and images are available at www.deichtorhallen.de/presse
Angelika Leu-Barthel, phone +49(0)40-32 103 250
Caroline Huzel, phone +49(0)40-32 103 262
Sharjah Art Foundation:
Alyazeyah Al Marri, phone +971(0)65444113
From Press information.
© Cover image: Etel Adnan. Arbres [Trees], 2015 (detail)
© Sharjah Art Foundation Collection
© Photo: Haupt & Binder, Universes in Universe