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Sharjah Art Foundation’s March Meeting 2021 (MM) runs from 12 to 21 March featuring online talks, panels and presentations, as well as on-site performances and film screenings at the Foundation’s venues. Usually organised as a three-day convening of artists, curators and art practitioners to explore critical issues in contemporary art, this edition of March Meeting takes place over 10 days and sets the stage for the 15th edition of Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present (SB15), which is due to open in 2022.
Originally scheduled for March 2020, MM 2021 examines the past thirty years of Sharjah Biennial, as an initiative and a model for disrupting the power of artistic monolingualism and as a horizon for developing another theoretical space for thinking historically in the present. Titled Unraveling the Present, this edition of Sharjah Art Foundation’s annual convening of art professionals brings together former Sharjah Biennial curators, artistic directors and artists as well as art historians and art critics to examine the role, place and impact of the Sharjah Biennial in the region and the global contemporary art scene at large. MM 2021 will also explore the evolution of the Sharjah Biennial, focusing on its shift away from traditional modes of curating and displaying art by activating non-institutional spaces, moving to non-geographic models of representation as well as the development of a year-round programme enabled by the establishment of the Sharjah Art Foundation.
MM 2021 is an integral part of the framework for Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present laid out by Okwui Enwezor (1963–2019) in spring 2018 and that he continued to develop until his untimely passing. Reflecting on his tremendous impact on contemporary art, Enwezor’s visionary work transformed contemporary art paradigms and laid out an ambitious intellectual project that influenced the evolution of institutions and biennials around the world, including the Sharjah Biennial. Enwezor saw the Sharjah Biennial as a model for displacing older, Western-based biennials by offering a critical alternative that was committed to the future of the art exhibition as a relevant platform for engaging with history, politics and society in our global present. SB15 will be realised by Hoor Al Qasimi as curator in conjunction with the SB15 Working Group and Advisory Committee.
March Meeting is open to all and free to attend; however, prior registration is required to attend the live talks on the event platform as well as the on-site performances.
Tarek Abou El Fetouh (curator)
Mona Al Khaja (artist)
Hisham Al Madhloum (Chairman, Sharjah Arts Collection)
Noora Al Mualla (Director of Learning and Research, Sharjah Art Foundation)
Hoor Al Qasimi (President and Director, Sharjah Art Foundation)
John Akomfrah (artist, filmmaker)
Yousif Aydabi (Cultural Advisor, Sheikh Dr Sultan Al Qasimi Centre)
Sammy Baloji (visual artist and Co-founder of the Lubumbashi Biennale)
Ute Meta Bauer (Founding Director, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore and Professor, School of Art, Design and Media, NTU)
Zarina Bhimji (artist)
Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev (Director, Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art and Director, Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerruti)
Lucrezia Cippitelli (scholar, curator)
Iftikhar Dadi (Associate Professor, History of Art and Director, South Asia Program, Cornell University)
Catherine David (Deputy Director, National Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou)
Manthia Diawara (Professor, NYU, and filmmaker)
Bongiwe Dhlomo–Mautloa (artist, curator)
Anita Dube (artist, curator)
Ehab Ellaban (Director, Center of Arts, Cairo)
Reem Fadda (Director, Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation)
Coco Fusco (artist, writer and Professor, Cooper Union School of Art)
Elizabeth Giorgis (Associate Professor, University of Addis Ababa)
Thembinkosi Goniwe (Assistant Professor of Art History, Rhodes University)
Hou Hanru (Artistic Director, MAXXI)
Yuko Hasegawa (Artistic director, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and Professor, Tokyo University of the Arts)
Salah M. Hassan (Director, The Africa Institute, Sharjah and Goldwin Smith Professor, Cornell University)
Eungie Joo (Curator of Contemporary Art, San Francisco Museum of Art)
Geeta Kapur (art critic, curator)
Mohammed Kazem (artist)
Omar Kholeif (Director of Collections and Senior Curator, Sharjah Art Foundation)
Vasif Kortun (curator)
Adrian Lahoud (Dean, School of Architecture, Royal College of Art, London, Co-chair, Rights of Future Generations Working Group and curator, first Sharjah Architecture Triennial)
Peter Lewis (curator)
Arshiya Lokhandwala (art historian, curator and Founder, Lakeeren Art Gallery)
Margarita Gonzalez Lorente (Vice Director, 13th edition of Havana Biennial and Curator, International Contemporary Art, National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana)
Amina Menia (artist)
Gabi Ngcobo (curator, educator)
Otobong Nkanga (artist)
Chika Okeke-Agulu (Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Art & Archaeology, Princeton University)
Jack Persekian (Director, Al Ma'mal Foundation)
Qudsia Rahim (Executive Director, Lahore Biennale Foundation and Director, Lahore Biennale)
Uzma Z. Rizvi (Associate Professor of Anthropology and Urban Studies)
Enrique Rivera (Director, Biennial of Media Arts of Santiago)
Alex Dika Saggerman (Assistant Professor, Rutgers University)
Nada Shabout (Professor, Art History and Coordinator, Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Initiative, University of North Texas)
Sadia Shirazi (Cornell University and Whitney Independent Study Program)
Suha Shoman (Founder and Chair, Darat Al Funun, The Khalid Shoman Foundation)
Aisha Stoby (curator, researcher)
Alia Swastika (curator)
John Tain (Head of Research, Asia Art Archive)
Ming Tiampo (Professor, Art History, Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture, Carleton University and Co-Director, Centre for Transnational Cultural Analysis)
Christine Tohmé (Founding Director, Ashkal Alwan)
Françoise Vergès (author, public educator, decolonial feminist)
Octavio Zaya (Executive Director, Cuban Art Foundation)
Tirdad Zolghadr (Associate Curator, KW Institute for Contemporary Art and Artistic Director, Sommerakademie Paul Klee)
Rayyane Tabet: Exquisite Corpse
12 March - 15 June 2021
Curator: Ryan Inouye, Senior Curator at Sharjah Art Foundation
Venue: Galleries 1, 2 & 3, Al Mureijah Square
Newly commissioned works and reconceived presentations from FRAGMENTS (2016–ongoing), the artist’s most ambitious project to date. Drawing on personal insight and historical records to stage encounters between audiences and matters of geopolitical consequence, the body of work explores an archaeological excavation led by German diplomat Baron Max von Oppenheim in Tell Halaf, northeast Syria, at the turn of the 20th century. The artist’s great-grandfather, Faek Borkhoche, worked as von Oppenheim’s secretary for six months in 1929, a few years after Western powers had carved up the region. Following this familial connection, Tabet has developed works that engage with family heirlooms and archaeological artefacts through accidents of history—across time, generations and continents. The exhibition conveys the story of the Tell Halaf excavation and foregrounds the wide-ranging fallout of an era that Tabet’s project takes up through current discussions of cultural appropriation, museological practice and freedom of movement.
12 March - 15 June 2021
Curator: Omar Kholeif, SAF Director of Collections and Senior Curator
Venue: The Flying Saucer
The first presentation of the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection to be held in the newly renovated Flying Saucer. The exhibition draws its title from a major new acquisition by the late conceptual artist Lothar Baumgarten, Unsettled Objects (1968–1969), which is a slide carousel projection that unfolds the hidden characteristics behind the foundational artefacts of Western museum collections. The work is presented alongside other newly acquired and rarely seen works from the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection, revealing artists and artworks that encourage the viewer to reconsider how the creative imagination is constructed. Designed to create conversations through thought-provoking individual experiences, the exhibition is composed of a constellation of individual presentations and salon hangs that take on the circular shape of The Flying Saucer, one of Sharjah’s architectural landmarks.
Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist
5 March - 26 September 2021
Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Saint-Étienne Métropole (MAMC+), France
Originally organised by Sharjah Art Foundation and curated by Hoor Al Qasimi as the largest and most comprehensive survey of the artist’s work to date, the fourth iteration of the international tour of Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist, co-curated by Al Qasimi and Aurélie Voltz, General Director of MAMC+, will be on view at MAMC+ from March 5 to September 26, 2021. Tracing nearly five decades of the artist’s multimedia practice, including painting, sculpture, assemblage, drawing, installation and photography as well as later works on view for the first time, this landmark retrospective is the culmination of the artist’s lifelong role as an advocate and pioneer for the development of contemporary art and thought in the United Arab Emirates, particularly in Sharjah, where he first began staging interventions and exhibitions of contemporary art and exhibited at the first Sharjah Biennial in 1993.
The European tour of the exhibition has been organised by Sharjah Art Foundation in collaboration with KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Malmö Konsthall; and the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Saint-Etienne.
Presentation in Sharjah ►
The seven chapters of the exhibition, each presented in its own space and with titles inspired by Sharif’s words. The extensive photo tour by UiU includes ca. 160 images and information about the works.
Tarek Atoui: Cycles in 11
On view through 10 April 2021
Curator: Hoor Al Qasimi
Bait Al Serkal
The major solo exhibition marks over a decade of work created by sound artist Tarek Atoui in collaboration with the Foundation and the surrounding Sharjah community. The exhibition centres around experimental and innovative musical forms and offers audiences opportunities to learn about and explore instrument-making, compositional structure and musical collaboration.
Zarina Bhimji: Black Pocket
On view through 10 April 2021
Curator: Hoor Al Qasimi
Galleries 4, 5 and 6, Al Mureijah Art Spaces
The most in-depth survey of the artist’s work to date, featuring a number of her seminal works across film, photography and installation. The exhibition examines the artist’s early exploration into forms of knowledge overlooked by established systems of order as well as her later exploration of architecture and landscape as arbiters of complex experience and emotion.
Opening: February 2023
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Curated by Hoor Al Qasimi,
based on the concept of Okwui Enwezor who was invited to curate SB15 before his untimely passing in 2019
SB15 Working Group, Enwezor’s longtime collaborators:
Tarek Abou El Fetouh, Ute Meta Bauer, Salah M. Hassan, Chika Okeke-Agulu, Octavio Zaya
SB15 Advisory Committee:
Sir David Adjaye OBE, Christine Tohmé