Sharjah Biennial

Sharjah Biennial

Sharjah is the third largest of the 7 constituent emirates of the United Arab Emirates. It has long been known for its strong commitment to the arts, culture and history. In 1998, Sharjah was UNESCO cultural capital of the Arab World.

The international Art Biennial takes place in the city of Sharjah since 1993. The Sharjah Biennial was fundamentally reoriented in 2003 on the initiative and under the direction of Hoor Al Qasimi, introducing a new era for contemporary art in the Gulf. Sharjah became a driving force of communication and cooperation between the region and the art scenes in other parts of the world.

The Sharjah Art Foundation has massively fueled this development since its creation in 2009. It organizes the Biennial, and is in charge of an extensive and diverse program of residencies, production grants, commissions, exhibitions, events, research activities, publications, and a growing collection.

more about SAF

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
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