Home » Sharjah Biennial 15 opens next week with a robust programme celebrating 30-year anniversary

Sharjah Biennial 15 opens next week with a robust programme celebrating 30-year anniversary

by Dubaiforum

SHARJAH, 31st January, 2023 (WAM) — The Sharjah Art Foundation will host the 15th edition of the Sharjah Biennial from Feb 7 to June 11, 2023. The event will feature over 150 artists and collectives from 70+ countries and showcase over 300 artworks, including 70 new works. The biennial, curated by Hoor Al Qasimi, will take place across 19 venues in 5 cities in the Emirate of Sharjah, including sites in the historical quarter, newly restored buildings, and repurposed structures. The theme of the biennial, “Thinking Historically in the Present,” reflects on the late Okwui Enwezor’s visionary work and centers the past within contemporary times. The biennial is free and open to the public.

“Okwui’s Documenta 11 impacted me 20 yrs ago with its postcolonialism focus, shaping my curatorial views. For the 30-yr anniversary Biennial, we aim to pay homage to Okwui’s “thinking historically in the present” concept and reflect on our own past, present, and future.

“The themes of nationhood, tradition, race, gender, body, and imagination will be explored by artists for local and global audiences,” said Al Qasimi.

Enwezor saw the contemporary art exhibit as a way to delve into history, politics, and society. The 15th Biennial will continue his “postcolonial constellation” idea. Al Qasimi, as former visitor, artist, curator, and now Foundation director, builds on her relationship with the Biennial.

19 venues in Sharjah showcase artworks, reflecting the emirate’s diverse communities, history, and landscapes. The 300+ pieces propose a transcultural universe of thought and intimate observations of everyday life through exhibitions, performances, concerts, workshops, and more.

Al Qasimi has collaborated with artists on 70+ new works, major commissions, and themes of postcolonial subjectivity, memories, decolonization, and more. Artists like John Akomfrah, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Berni Searle, and Carrie Mae Weems reflect on colonialism, nation-building, and individual/collective memories.

Outdoor installations by Kerry James Marshall, urban interventions by Lubaina Himid, and site-specific projects by Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme and others connect with the local context. Performances and musical programmes with artists like Youssou N’Dour and Abdullah Ibrahim are also part of the Biennial.


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