In the interpretation of Islam, Sharjah rates as the most austere of the 7 United Arab Emirates. At the same time, however, local authorities are aiming at the creation of an open-minded platform for the international art scene. Not only would the 6th edition of this Biennial clearly mark a new orientation of the event, it would far more introduce a "new era for contemporary art in the Gulf".
The initiative for this new orientation comes from Hoor Al-Qasimi, director of the Biennial since the end of 2002. In this, she enjoys the support her father, Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammad Al-Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah. It is due to this personal commitment that Sharjah has for a long time already been considered as the cultural centre of all Federal Emirates.
Since we were invited to the symposium of the Biennial, we could assess for ourselves how the organizers were doing justice to their new claim. As for all our information and reports on biennials worldwide, our extensive report on Sharjah is published in the Caravan section of Universes in Universe. If you click on the report links you will therefore leave the site of this online magazine and experience the networking between different areas of our general project.
Our richly illustrated report also includes an account by Antonia Carver, who lives only 20 km away from Sharjah, in Dubai, further texts and information, and above all a tour of the exhibition with works by 71 from a total of 117 participants. In this selection, we have taken particular note of the pieces that are of special interest in the context of our online magazine. "New art practices" and "discourses between aesthetics and politics" from the Near and Middle East are moreover a central issue of the Biennial.
>> 6th Sharjah Biennial Report
Pat Binder & Gerhard Haupt
Publishers of Universes in Universe - Worlds of Art and of Nafas Art Magazine. Based in Berlin, Germany.
8 April - 8 May 2003
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Curator: Peter Lewis