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Sharjah Biennial 2017

Sharjah Biennial 2017

Sharjah Biennial 13: Tamawuj

5 parts, October 2016 - January 2018

Exhibitions, programmes in Sharjah, Beirut, Dakar, Ramallah, Istanbul

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

Curator: Christine Tohmé


Unfolding in five parts between October 2016 and January 2018, Sharjah Biennial 13: Tamawuj extends beyond previous Sharjah Biennial formats in both space and time to encompass exhibitions, projects and education programmes in five locations.

Curated by Christine Tohme, Sharjah Biennial 13 includes a public programme in two acts, one in Sharjah (10 March - 12 June 2017) and one in Beirut (14 October 2017 - January 2018), as well as the SB13 School education programme in Sharjah.

The thematic focus of SB13, Tamawuj [rising and falling in waves], is grounded in four keywords water, crops, earth and culinary, which form the foundations of social interaction and exchange.

Just as the thematic keywords are porous and feed into one another, SB13 places researchers and interlocutors in conversation with one another, and with Sharjah. Its multi-city, multi-part programmes are envisaged as infrastructures to channel knowledge transmission and information sharing between artists, curators, editors, researchers and the general public. This fluidity of knowledge irrigates new, enduring terrains of collaboration and references the threefold meaning of Tamawuj: a rising and falling in waves; a flowing, swelling, surging or fluctuation; and a wavy, undulating appearance, outline or form.

Christine Tohmé

10 March - 12 June 2017

In our extensive visual tour through the exhibition in Sharjah we show works by all participants, with texts from the SB13 Guide Book, as well as information about the venues.

SB13 in Sharjah

SB13 concludes in Beirut, with the fourth and final off-site project, themed around the keyword of ‘culinary’. From 14-15 October, The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts – Ashkal Alwan organizes Upon a Shifting Plate, a weekend of discursive and performative activities, where talks, walks, workshops, cooking sessions, food tasting and other events explore the production and consumption of our eating habits and how they condition our psychological and cultural dispositions.

The culinary off-site project is followed by Act II, the concluding exhibitions and public program of SB13. On 14 October, Act II launches two exhibitions in Beirut, conceived by guest curators Reem Fadda and Hicham Khalidi at the Sursock Museum and Beirut Art Center respectively.

SB13 in Beirut

Off-site Projects

Conceived by four interlocutors, each engaging with one of the keywords

SB13 also features other two important components:

chip-ship, is an online repository for textual, visual and auditory data related to the four SB13 keywords. The material was collated over eight months by 15 researchers located in Dakar, Istanbul, Ramallah, Beirut and Sharjah.

tamawuj.org, the year-long publishing platform of the Biennial. Edited by Omar Berrada, Amal Issa, Kaelen Wilson-Goldie and Brian Kuan Wood, featuring essays, images, videos, experimental writings, fragmentary texts and other audio-visual materials in Arabic, English, French and Turkish, the platform functions as a site of inquiry and reflection for a wider audience.

About Sharjah Art Foundation

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 organisations in the Gulf and a conduit for local, regional, and international developments in contemporary art.

The foundation’s deep commitment 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 realisation 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 nonprofits and cultural organisations, corporate sponsors, and individual patrons. All events are free and open to the public.

Sharjah Art Foundation
PO Box 19989
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Website / Email

Connect with Sharjah Art Foundation:
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Media contact:
Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa
Email  |  T +971 6 544 4113

About Sharjah

Sharjah is the third-largest of the seven United Arab Emirates, and the only one bridging the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Reflecting the deep commitment to the arts, architectural preservation, and cultural education embraced by its ruler, Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Sharjah is home to more than 20 museums and has long been known as a hub of culture in the United Arab Emirates. In 1998, it was named UNESCO's “Arab Capital of Culture” and was designated the UNESCO “World Book Capital” for the year 2019.

© Texts: From information by Sharjah Art Foundation.
Cover image: Oscar Murillo, installation at Bait Al Serkal.
© Photos and videos: Universes in Universe, unless otherwise indicated.

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