Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) today announced its autumn 2018 exhibition programme, which features major solo exhibitions and group surveys highlighting influential artists from the region and around the world. In addition to solo exhibitions of the works of Frank Bowling, Amal Kenawy, and Ala Younis, SAF will mount an exhibition of site-specific works created by the March Project 2018 resident artists and a tribute to the 10th anniversary of the Production Programme, which offers grants and professional support for the realisation of projects selected from an international open call. This exhibition season will also inaugurate new institutional collaborations, including a three-year exchange with guest curator Yuko Hasegawa, Artistic Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, and a partnership with Haus der Kunst, Munich and the Museum of Modern Art Ireland (IMMA) for Frank Bowling: Mappa Mundi. SAF’s autumn 2018 roster continues the foundation’s commitment to building a bridge between local, regional and international arts communities.
‘The autumn 2018 exhibition season offers a wide range of perspectives on contemporary art through the work of emerging and established artists from the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and around the world, as well as that of artists who have created new projects with the support of our decade-long Production Programme,’ said Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Art Foundation. ‘The extraordinary scope of the autumn 2018 exhibitions speaks to SAF’s core mission to catalyse and support dialogue that reaches across boundaries of discipline and origin in order to encourage a shared understanding of the transformational role of art.’
All Sharjah Art Foundation exhibitions are free and open to the public.
Frank Bowling: Mappa Mundi
29 September 2018–12 January 2019
Focusing on the artist’s widely-recognised map paintings, the exhibition Frank Bowling: Mappa Mundi [Map of the World] presents an overview of major developments in Bowling’s practice, exploring the artist’s engagement with history, migration, memory and representation across a six-decade career.
Incorporating a number of works never or rarely shown before, the exhibition presents a selection of the artist’s map paintings that were formative to Bowling’s depiction of new ideas, forms and subject matter. The show also contributes to a complex understanding of the artist’s formal and conceptual exploration of density, opacity, transparency and colour, which has expanded the social and political dimensions of painting. Material from the Frank Bowling archive and films featuring interviews with the artist provide further insight into the development of his practice and the larger cultural discussions he has helped shape since the 1960s.
In conjunction with the exhibition, SAF presents 5-plus-1: Rethinking Abstraction, an international symposium that will explore the implications of the original 5-plus-1 exhibition, curated by Frank Bowling in 1969. The symposium organisers are Okwui Enwezor (curator, critic, and former director of Haus der Kunst), Hoor Al Qasimi (President and Director, Sharjah Art Foundation) and Salah M. Hassan (Goldwin Smith Professor and Director, Institute for Comparative Modernities (ICM), Cornell University), and speakers include Bowling, artist Melvin Edwards, and leadership and curators from institutions and universities around the world, including Columbia University, Dia Art Foundation, and the Tate. The event will be held on Sunday, 30 September 2018 at Africa Hall. The full schedule and list of speakers is available here.
Frank Bowling: Mappa Mundi is organised by Haus der Kunst, Munich in collaboration with the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Dublin and Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah. The exhibition is curated by Okwui Enwezor with Anna Schneider at Haus der Kunst, Munich. The Sharjah presentation is co-curated by Hoor Al Qasimi and Okwui Enwezor with Anna Schneider.
Ala Younis: Steps Toward the Impossible
29 September 2018–5 January 2019
Sharjah Art Foundation presents a solo exhibition exploring Ala Younis’ multifaceted practice of the past 10 years. Best known for her extensively researched projects, Younis has explored the formation of the modern Arab world and the potential for renewed thought and action that the era continues to inspire. Her works in sculpture, installation, drawing and moving image often examine political realities through imaginative engagement with the era’s visual and material culture.
The exhibition will present two of Younis’ early works: Nefertiti (2008), which examines Gamal Abdel Nasser’s nationalist project in Egypt through the story of its curvaceous home-grown sewing machine, and Tin Soldiers (2011), a moving reflection on militarisation enumerated through the minting of toy figurines representative of the region’s standing armies. The presentation also features Enactment (2017), a suite of graphite drawings and inkjet prints based on documentation of political events that the artist has lifted from their original context and recomposed to portray moments of collective virtuosity. A new Sharjah Art Foundation commission self-reflexively considers the emergence of the Arab daytime TV dramas and the dramatic interplay of nations, investors, studios, currency fluctuations and political crises that shifted centres of culture and politics.
Ten Years of the Production Programme
29 September–10 November 2018
In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Sharjah Art Foundation Production Programme, the foundation will present a selection of works commissioned over the course of the decade-long programme. Initiated in 2009 as one of the foundation’s core initiatives, the Production Programme broadens the possibilities for the production of art through grants and professional support for artists selected through an international open call. The Production Programme challenges artists to conceive and realise innovative work that transforms the way art is understood and experienced.
This exhibition will include works by 2014 awardees Marwa Arsanios and Raed Yassin and 2016 awardees Mohammed Fariji, Rula Halawni, Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn, Khaled Kaddal, Basir Mahmood, Amina Menia and Khaled Sabsabi.
March Project 2018
29 September 2018–10 January 2019
An exhibition of site-specific works in photography, sculpture and installation will be presented as the culmination of March Project 2018, an annual educational residency programme that provides opportunities for young artists from the region and beyond to research, realise and present site-specific works at Sharjah Art Foundation. During the seven-month residency, March Project participants conduct extensive research and immerse themselves in the life of the city and the emirate through a series of site visits and discussion sessions with the foundation’s professional support.
The March Project 2018 artists are Shaikha Al Mazrou, Lêna Bùi, Baris Dogrusöz, Hind Mezaina and Tulip Hazbar, and Ayman Zedani. In the fifth edition of this annual programme, participants are focusing on the impact of urban development on material and non-material culture as well as sociopolitical and historical narratives in the Gulf region.
Amal Kenawy: Frozen Memory
3 November 2018–19 January 2019
Sharjah Art Foundation presents the first retrospective of the work of Amal Kenawy (1974–2012) since her passing. With elegant gestures of significant symbolic weight, Kenawy’s work explores political, social and feminist issues, primarily in Egypt, and reflects on topics of death and regeneration. Her work balances notions of memory and illusion against tangible and intangible dimensions of lived reality, using the body as a site of violence, desire, memory and transcendence.
Reflecting the artist’s varied practice, the exhibition will bring together a full range of her works, from animation, painting, drawing, sketches and journals to video works, installations, performance documentation and archival material. Both well-known works such as Silence of the Sheep (2009) and a selection of her lesser-known early works, including Frozen Memory (2002), will be featured.
Kenawy participated in Sharjah Biennial 8 in 2007 and received the Sharjah Biennial award for her contribution.
Sharjapan: The Poetics of Space
21 November 2018–15 January 2019
Inaugurating a three-year collaboration with Yuko Hasegawa, Artistic Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo and curator of Sharjah Biennial 11 (2013), the exhibition will explore the relationship between art and books. The exhibition will highlight book design in Japan through innovative exhibition methods, presented in a space designed by Yoshiaki Irobe of Nippon Design Center. Made possible with the support of Japanese bookseller Culture Convenience Club Co., Ltd, Sharjapan: The Poetics of Space will feature works from the modernist era to the present, exploring topics such as photography, performance, architecture and artist books.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a comprehensive programme of performances, talks and film screenings running from 21 to 25 November 2018.
All Sharjah Art Foundation exhibitions are free and open to the public. For more information, visit sharjahart.org.
Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa