Sharjah Art Foundation

Sharjah Biennial 9: Provisions for the Future
and Past of the Coming Days


The 9th edition of Sharjah Biennial transcended central themes and pre-cast frameworks, exhibiting instead a wide range of works selected by open invitation.

Sharjah's Department of Culture and Information hosted the 9th Sharjah Biennial from March 19 until May 16 2009. Organised under the Patronage of HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, ruler of Sharjah and under the auspices of Biennial Director, HH Sheika Hoor Al Qasimi, the 9th Sharjah Biennial was overseen by Curators Isabel Carlos and Tarek Abou El Fetouh and led by Artistic Director Jack Persekian.

Since its inauguration in 1993, the Sharjah Biennial has served to connect artists, institutions and organisations and to foster artistic dialogue and exchange. It ranks amongst the most established and prominent cultural events in the Middle East. 

'The Sharjah Biennial 9, unlike many other Biennials, imposes no geographical classifications on displaying work,' says Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of the Sharjah Biennial 9. 'We have also decided not to limit the selection process to a wish-list of participants, but have opted instead to consider work submitted by artists and non-artists alike, who were brave enough to take up the challenge and respond to an open invitation to realise their ideas.'

The SB9 programme comprised the exhibition programme titled Provisions For The Future, curated by Isabel Carlos, and the performance and film programme Past Of The Coming Days, curated by Tarek Abou El Fetouh. The entire city of Sharjah was offered to artists for context-specific work, and other SB9 activities took place across a wide range of venues including the Sharjah Art Museum, the Heritage Area of Sharjah and the American University of Sharjah.

'Sharjah is a geographic and cultural meeting place, where the notion of future is permanently evoked,' comments Isabel Carlos, Curator of the Sharjah Biennial 9. 'More than a presentation of a global selection of art works, 'Provisions For The Future' aims to be a place of production and development of artworks in the context of the city of Sharjah.'

As well as exhibiting works by more than 50 artists from around the world, there were a number of events and programmes designed to support and nurture creativity for local and visiting participants. These include the March Meeting, a networking opportunity for regional art institutions; the Sharjah Biennial Production Programme which explores various schemes and methodologies of artistic production through the provision of resources and know-how; and the Artist-in-Residence Programme, a scheme that hosts visiting artists in Sharjah with the goal of developing context-related work.

'The Sharjah Biennial has a track record as one of the few art institutions in the region leading a programme of support for artists' productions,' explains Jack Persekian, Artistic Director of the Sharjah Biennial 9. 'This support needs to be sensibly extended to artists operating in the region and those working elsewhere who can positively contribute to the crucial dialogue amongst artists and practitioners, the exchange of experience and the progress of knowledge.'

SB9 Guidebook

Sharjah Biennial 9 Guidebook is available for download here.