Sharjah Art Foundation’s March Meeting 2021 (MM) will return in an extended dual on-site and online format from 12 to 21 March 2021. 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, serving as the launch of the15th edition of Sharjah Biennial: 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 dealing with the disruptive 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 disruption of 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 that were laid out by the late Okwui Enwezor (1963–2019) in spring 2018 and that he continued to develop until his untimely passing. Organised as a posthumous homage to Okwui Enwezor’s remarkable and transformative contributions to contemporary art, Sharjah Biennial 15 (SB15) will serve as a platform for the exploration of Enwezor’s curatorial and intellectual legacy. Reflecting on the critical work of alternative platforms and artistic experimentation enabled by the emergence of the contemporary art biennial, SB15 uniquely embraces Enwezor’s insistence on the art exhibition as an important vehicle for engaging with history, politics and society and how these domains shape our global present. SB15 will be realised by Hoor Al Qasimi as curator in conjunction with the SB15 Working Group and Advisory Committee. Programme details will be made available in the coming weeks.
March Meeting 2021 Speakers and Participants
MM 2021 speakers and participants include Tarek Abou El Fetouh (curator); Thuraya Al Baqsami (artist, writer); 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); 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'amal Foundation); Qudsia Rahim (Executive Director, Lahore Biennale Foundation and Director, Lahore Biennale); Enrique Rivera (Director, Biennial of Media Arts of Santiago); Nada Shabout (Professor, Art History and Coordinator, Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Initiative, University of North Texas); 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); and Tirdad Zolghadr (Associate Curator, KW Institute for Contemporary Art and Artistic Director, Sommerakademie Paul Klee).
Spring 2021 Exhibitions
Coinciding with MM 2021, the exhibitions Rayyane Tabet: Exquisite Corpse, curated by SAF Senior Curator Ryan Inouye, and Unsettled Objects, curated by SAF Director of Collections and Senior Curator Omar Kholeif, will open on 12 March 2021. Zarina Bhimji: Black Pocket and Tarek Atoui: Cycles in 11, both curated by SAF Director Hoor Al Qasimi, will also remain on view through 10 April 2021.
Registration for March Meeting 2021
MM2021 is free to attend. Register to join in-person or online here.