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Re:emerge. Towards a New Cultural Cartography

About the curatorial concept of Sharjah Biennial 11, 2013

Inspired by the courtyard in Islamic architecture—in particular the historical courtyards of Sharjah, where elements of both public and private life intertwine—SB11 Curator Yuko Hasegawa proposes a new cultural cartography that reconsiders the relationships between the Arab world, Asia, the Far East, through North Africa to Latin America.

For the Sharjah Biennial’s upcoming edition, curator Yuko Hasegawa (see the biography) looks at artworks and practices that resonate with strands of the Sharjah Biennial 11 theme: complexity and diversity of cultures and societies; spatial and political relations; notions of new forms of contact, dialogue and exchange; and production through art and architectural practices of new ways of knowing, thinking and feeling.

Hasegawa was inspired by the courtyard in Islamic architecture — in particular the historical courtyards of Sharjah— where elements of both public and private life intertwine, where the objective political world and the introspective subjective space intersect and cross over. What sorts of encounter and exchange do they make possible? What are the ambiguities of such ‘open-closed’ spaces – and their potentials?

The courtyard is also seen as a "plane of experience and experimentation" — an arena for learning and critical thinking of a discursive and embodied kind. It marks a generative space for the production of new awareness and knowledge. Within the network of intensifying international and globalising links, the courtyard as an experiential and experimental space comes to mirror something of Sharjah as a vital zone of work, labour and creativity, of transmission and transformation, of cosmopolitanising forces from below.

Hasegawa states, "I am inviting a selection of architects and practitioners from Lebanon, India, Belgium, Japan, Spain and elsewhere to create temporary architectural interventions that will help envision new urban structures that connect Sharjah’s historic area and its courtyard typology with the larger city. Within these new and traditional structures, a range of artists will be invited to create works, performances and events that will explore and articulate new forms of shared experience. Here the courtyard becomes more than a ‘familiar dwelling place’—it becomes a ‘condition’ of production, a launch pad of new artistic and cultural experience and knowledge."

Hoor Al Qasimi, President and Director of the Sharjah Art Foundation, adds, "The 2013 Biennial will reflect Sharjah’s long history as a place where diverse communities are encouraged to share ideas and contribute to the multi-cultural landscape that is characteristic of the Emirate. Ms. Hasegawa has proposed a deeply thoughtful Biennial that will address some of the issues critical to art production in this current moment of great cultural change."

(From press information by Sharjah Art Foundation, 2013)

Sharjah Biennial 11

13 March - 13 May 2013
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Re:emerge. Towards a New Cultural Cartography

President and Director of the Sharjah Art Foundation: Hoor Al Qasimi

Curator: Yuko Hasegawa

List of participants
More than 100 artists and groups

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