In the foreground: A Play to Play, 2013, paint, pencil, paper, fabric and wood, variable dimensions. Collection of the artist. Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg & Beirut Installation view: Anna Boghiguian, Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli, Torino, September 2017 Photo: Renato Ghiazza


16 March–16 June 2018
Bait Al Serkal, Arts Square, Sharjah

Sharjah Art Foundation presents the first retrospective of Anna Boghiguian. Encompassing four decades of the artist’s work, the exhibition brings together a comprehensive body of artist’s books, drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures as well as large-scale installations. A recreation of the artist’s Cairo studio is also presented in Sharjah. Organised by Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea in conjunction with Sharjah Art Foundation, Anna Boghiguian is co-curated by Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, and Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Director of Castello di Rivoli.

‘Anna Boghiguian’s work transcends languages, borders and cultural barriers. A product of a multicultural background herself, Boghiguian is a traveller and social observer. In combining her personal narrative with global contemporary concerns such as migration and diaspora, she creates a world that fuses poetry, politics and passion together,’ said Al Qasimi. ‘As the first major retrospective devoted to the artist’s work, Anna Boghiguian is a wonderful opportunity for local and regional audiences to become familiar with her rich and varied practice. It has been a great pleasure working with Castello di Rivoli and its Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev to bring this important retrospective to Sharjah and the UAE. We hope this will be the first of many future projects together.’

‘Born in Cairo to Armenian parents, Anna Boghiguian is an artist of our time,’ said Christov-Bakargiev. ‘Today she is a citizen of the world, particularly sensitive to human suffering in a historical period characterised by wars and mass migrations. We are pleased to mark Castello di Rivoli’s first collaboration with Sharjah Art Foundation through the work of this significant artist. We look forward to working together in the years to come.’

Through bold colours and saturated compositions, Boghiguian’s paintings and sculptures combine materials like wax, wood and paint with cut-outs and collage. Her work also comprises photography, handwritten text, sound and site-specific installations that often derive from her observations of social and political conflicts.

Many of Boghiguian’s works, such as paintings inspired by train journeys through India and Nepal and notebooks produced during stays in Canada and Egypt, draw from her experiences while travelling. For Boghiguian, travel marks a simultaneous separation and connection between places and times that she explores in rich detail throughout her work. Other series are informed by the lives of prominent historical figures, namely, poets and intellectuals such as Constantine Cavafy, Ahmed Shawky, Rabindranath Tagore and Friedrich Nietzsche.

Among the exhibited works are Boghiguian’s multimedia installations The Studio, originally presented at Castello di Rivoli in 2017; Promenade dans l’inconscient (Walk in the unconscious), originally presented at Carré d'Art, Nîmes in 2016; The Salt Traders, originally presented at the 14th Istanbul Biennial in 2015; A Play to Play, originally presented at Iniva, London in 2013 and Unfinished Symphony (2011–2012), originally presented at dOCUMENTA (13) in 2012, as well as the drawing series A Poet on the Edge of History (Constantine Cavafy) (1995–2017) and a large selection of illustrated artist’s books (1981–present).

Originally co-curated by Christov-Bakargiev and Marianna Vecellio, the exhibition is on view in Sharjah following its original presentation at Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli, Turin from 19 September 2017 to 7 January 2018.

About Anna Boghiguian

The artist’s work has been presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including Woven Winds, Index–The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, Stockholm (2017); Unfinished Conversations: New Work from the Collection, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2017); The Restless Earth, Triennale di Milano, Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Milan (2017); A Walk in the Unconscious, Carré d'Art, Nîmes, France (2016); The Unfaithful Replica, Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid (2016); SITE Santa Fe, US (2016); 14th Istanbul Biennial (2015); Positions #2, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands (2015); Armenian Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale (2015); Cities by the Rivers, SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art, Montreal (2015); dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012); Sharjah Biennial 10 (2011); A Journey to Cavafy’s Alexandria, Benaki Museum, Athens (2010) and 11th International Istanbul Biennial (2009). Her work for Sharjah Biennial 10, The Simple Affair that Moved the World (2010–2011), was commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation. Winner of the Golden Lion for the best pavilion (Armenia) at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), the artist also took part in the travelling exhibition Contemporary Arab Representation, 50th Venice Biennale (2003) and was a finalist for the 8th Artes Mundi award (2017).

Born in 1946 in Cairo to an Egyptian-Armenian family, Boghiguian is currently based in Cairo but is continually travelling to other destinations across the world.

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 educational 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 events are free and open to the public.

Media Contacts

Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa