CAMP, From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf (still), 2010. Colour video projection with sound, 80 minutes. Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation. Courtesy of the artist


Sharjah Art Foundation has awarded its biannual Production Programme grants to 10 artists selected from an international open call. In this 7th cycle of the Production Programme, a total of $200,000 will be distributed to provide core funding and professional support for the realisation of the selected grantees’ proposed projects. The 2020 grantees are Jumana Emil Abboud, Mohamed Abdelkarim, Noor Abuarafeh, Basma al-Sharif, Abdessamad El Montassir, Köken Ergun, Pak Khawateen Painting Club, Moad Musbahi, Philip Rizk and Subversive Film.

As one of Sharjah Art Foundation’s core initiatives, the Production Programme aims to broaden the possibilities for the production of art in the MENASA region through the support of innovation and excellence in artistic practice and the encouragement of risk-taking and experimentation. Through the biannual Production Programme open call, art practitioners are invited to propose imaginative, ambitious and inspirational projects that will expand our understanding of what art is and how it can be experienced.

The 2020 grantees were selected by an international jury composed of Iftikhar Dadi, Lara Khaldi and Agustín Pérez Rubio. While originally tasked with selecting two to six proposals from a group of short-listed applicants from the open call, the Foundation and the 2020 jury expanded the number of grantees to 10 this past March, in response to the economic hardships faced by artists and funding bodies due to the global pandemic.

Past Production Programme grant cycles have made significant contributions to the rise in artistic activity throughout the region and beyond, enabling artists to realise ambitious projects of a scale and complexity that would have been challenging to achieve without this support. Many of the resulting projects have been presented by organizations around the world, contributing to increased visibility and awareness of the grantees’ practices. Examples include 2010 grantees CAMP and Bani Abidi whose projects premiered at documenta (13); 2012 grantee Sean Gullette whose film Traitors premiered at the 2013 Venice Film Festival; Lindsay Seers’ Nowhere Less Now presented in London by Artangel and now part of the Artangel Collection at Tate; 2014 grantee Jumana Manna’s film A Magical Substance Flows into Me premiered as part of her solo exhibition at London’s Chisenhale Gallery in 2015; 2016 grantee Khaled Sabsabi’s Bring the Silence, included in the 21st Biennale of Sydney; and 2018 grantee Mounira Al Solh whose work Freedom is a Habit I am Trying to Learn was avant-premiered at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven in 2019.

Originally launched alongside Sharjah Biennial 9 in 2009, the Production Programme grants are among a growing number of year-round opportunities and programs offered by Sharjah Art Foundation to support artists and art practitioners in the production and development of new creative work, including curatorial residencies and grants for the creation of short films and publishing projects. The Production Programme grants have been offered biannually since 2010, following the first cycle in 2009 that received over 500 submissions, from which 28 projects were selected for production and presentation in the Biennial.

About the 2020 Production Programme Grantees

Jumana Emil Abboud
b. 1971, Nazareth, Occupied Palestinian Territories
Lives and works between Jerusalem and London

Jumana Emil Abboud uses drawing, video, performance, objects and text to navigate themes of memory, loss and resilience.

Mohamed Abdelkarim
b. 1983, El Minya, Egypt
Lives and works in Cairo

Mohamed Abdelkarim’s work in video, text, performance and installation examines the connection between research and experimentation.

Noor Abuarafeh
Artist, Writer
b. 1986, Jerusalem
Lives and works between Cairo and Jerusalem

Noor Abuarafeh explores imagination and history, focusing on how history is documented, read and perceived as well as the possibility of using imagination and history to predict the future.

Basma al-Sharif
b. 1983, Kuwait City
Lives and works in Cairo

Basma al-Sharif de-territorialises a singular perspective, reconceiving it with a more subjective, fallible vision of both history and the future as well as a questioning of the present.

Abdessamad El Montassir
b. 1989, Saidate, Morocco
Lives and works between Rabat, Boujdour and Marseille

Abdessamad El Montassir’s work calls upon micro-stories made invisible by official discourse and explores their place and stake in contemporary societies.

Köken Ergun
b. 1976, Istanbul
Lives and works in Istanbul

Köken Ergun’s films and installations often deal with the importance of rituals in communities that are not known to a greater public.

Pak Khawateen Painting Club
Est. 2020, Lahore
Live and work in Lahore

Pak Khawateen Painting Club (Pure Pakistani Women’s Painting Club) investigates powerful megastructures that lead to problems at a transnational level.

Moad Musbahi
Artist, Curator
b. Tripoli, Libya
Lives and works between Tripoli and London.

Moad Musbahi’s work investigates migration as a method for cultural production and political expression, focusing on the social practices and forms of knowledge that it engenders.

Philip Rizk
Filmmaker, Writer
b. 1982, Limassol, Cyprus
Lives and works in Cairo

Philip Rizk’s practice has moved beyond the documentary mode that directly engages with realities of historical moments, allowing the documented image to be infiltrated by imaginary worlds.

Subversive Film
Researchers, Filmmakers, Curators
Est. 2011, London and Ramallah
Live and work between Ramallah and Brussels

Subversive Film aims to cast new light upon historic works related to Palestine and the region, engender support for film preservation and investigate archival practices and effects.

About the Production Program Jury

Iftikhar Dadi
Art Historian, Artist
b. 1961, Karachi
Lives and works in Ithaca, US

Iftikhar Dadi is an associate professor in Cornell University’s Department of the History of Art and director of the South Asia Program.

Lara Khaldi
b. Jerusalem, Palestine
Lives and works in Jerusalem, Palestine

Lara Khaldi is a cultural worker whose projects address colonial issues, the dystopian present and the impossibilities inherent in language and communication.

Agustín Pérez Rubio
Historian, Art Critic, Curator
b. 1972, Valencia, Spain
Lives and works in Berlin

Agustín Pérez Rubio has curated more than 150 exhibitions at museums, art centres and biennials, mainly in Europe and Latin America.

About Sharjah Art Foundation

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 learning 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 exhibitions are free and open to the public.

About Sharjah

Sharjah is the third largest of the seven United Arab Emirates and the only one bridging the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Reflecting the deep commitment to the arts, architectural preservation and cultural education embraced by its ruler, Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Sharjah is home to more than 20 museums and has long been known as the cultural hub of the United Arab Emirates. It was named UNESCO's Arab Capital of Culture in 1998 and the UNESCO World Book Capital in 2019.

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