John Akomfrah, Vertigo Sea, 2015. Three-channel HD colour video installation, 7.1 sound. Sharjah Art Foundation Collection


Sharjah Art Foundation presents March Meeting 2018: Active Forms (MM 2018), an annual convening of local and international artists, curators, scholars and other arts practitioners who explore topical issues in contemporary art through a programme of talks and performances.

Open to the public from 17 to 19 March, the eleventh edition of March Meeting will address issues of resistance through the consideration of organising as a primary act and condition for artistic and cultural production. Examining the relationship between familiar forms, such as projects, exhibitions and conferences, and the informal activity from which these emerge, MM 2018 explores how organising enables us to conceptualise resistance as not only a practice of ‘standing against’ but also one of ongoing exchange and future planning. MM 2018 will also reassess notions of authorship and agency through the lenses of art, writing, film, music, performance and architecture, which can inspire new ways of catalysing thoughts and actions.

‘The annual March Meeting provides an opportunity to come together for reflection and to continue this ongoing dialogue on the most pressing issues of our time,’ said Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Art Foundation. ‘We look forward to welcoming audiences and participants to be a part of this robust cultural exchange.’

The 2018 edition of March Meeting will present a wide range of programming, featuring artists, curators, cultural producers and representatives from major institutions.

Highlights of the MM 2018 programme and concurrent exhibitions

A number of performances will take place throughout MM 2018, beginning Friday, 16 March with artist Claudia Pagès and collaborators who will present Talk trouble, a reading performance in three acts that focuses on language and collectivity. During each act, a body of text accompanies different contexts in which speech and linguistics operate as processes of alienation and uprooting. Pagès will perform in the Gallery 1 and 2 Courtyard, Al Mureijah Square with musician Aleix Clavera and performers Noela Covelo and Ameen Mettawa.

On the following evening, Saturday, 17 March, the large-scale musical and theatrical performance of Wael Shawky’s The Song of Roland: The Arabic Version (2017) will have its Middle Eastern debut in Sharjah’s Calligraphy Square. Based on the French epic poem La Chanson de Roland and translated into classical Arabic, this work will be brought to life by 20 fidjeri singers and musicians from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, who will perform in the traditional style of Arabian Gulf pearl divers.

In addition, experimental composer and musician Neo Muyanga will present two performances as part of the MM 2018 programme. On Sunday, 18 March, Muyanga will perform Naham – Songs of light and weight, the culmination of a week-long workshop project with a chorus of multilingual singers. Drawing on the songs of the naham, the song leader on a pearling ship, the performance in Al Hamdan Bin Mousa Courtyard, Al Mureijah Square, will provide a platform for ‘hidden voices’ to express their stories of hope, fear and longing through movement and song.

On Monday, 19 March, the final evening of MM 2018, Muyanga will present Tsohle – A revolting mass in Al Hamdan Bin Mousa Courtyard, Al Mureijah Square. Performed by four singers and a conducting pianist, tsohle, which means ‘all things’ in Sesotho, highlights the complexities of contemporary life in South Africa in the wake of the country’s colonial experience.

Active Forms Exhibition
In addition to the programme of talks, panel discussions, lecture performances and theatre and music performances, the 2018 edition of March Meeting will include an exhibition of works from the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection, curated by Reem Shadid, Sharjah Art Foundation Deputy Director. Expanding on the meeting’s key ideas, the exhibition will feature the work of artists John Akomfrah, Basma Alsharif, Halil Altındere, Bahar Behbahani, Simone Fattal, Hazem Harb, Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev, Maha Maamoun, Almagul Menlibayeva, Naeem Mohaiemen, Magdi Mostafa, Raeda Saadeh, Sharif Waked and Abdul Hay Mosallam Zarara. On view from 16 March to 16 June, the works will enrich MM 2018 conversations about issues of resistance, organising and form and extend the dialogue and engagement beyond the three days of the meetings.

Spring 2018 Exhibitions
Concurrent with MM 2018, five solo exhibitions of works by Mona Saudi (7 March–7 June) and Latif Al Ani, Anna Boghiguian, Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim and Zineb Sedira (16 March–16 June) will also be on view across Sharjah Art Foundation’s spaces.

Announcement of Production Programme Grant Recipients
The winners of this year’s Production Programme grant cycle will be announced on 16 March.

March Meeting 2018 speakers and participants

Tarek Abou El Fetouh (curator)
John Akomfrah (artist and filmmaker)
Rheim Alkadhi (artist)
Noora Al Mualla (Curator of Modern Arab Art, Sharjah Art Foundation)
Monira Al Qadiri (artist)
Hoor Al Qasimi (Director, Sharjah Art Foundation)
Saira Ansari (Researcher, Sharjah Art Foundation)
Rasheed Araeen (artist)
Marwa Arsanios (artist)
Mohammad Ali Atassi (Director, Bidayyat)
Sarnath Banerjee (artist, writer and graphic novelist)
Daniel Blanga Gubbay (Researcher and Curator,
Yaminay Chaudhri (artist and Co-founder, Tentative Collective)
Ali Cherri (artist)
Manuel de Rivero (Co-founder, Supersudaca)
Manthia Diawara (University Professor and Director, Institute of African American Affairs, New York University)
Mona El Mousfy (Founder and Managing Director, SpaceContinuum)
Shilpa Gupta (artist)
Ayesha Hameed (artist and Lecturer, Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths College)
Dale Harding (artist)
Salah Hassan (Goldwin Smith Professor and Director, Institute for Comparative Modernities, Cornell University)
Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim (artist)
Saba Innab (artist and architect)
Eungie Joo (Curator of Contemporary Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)
Butheina Kazim (Co-founder, Cinema Akil)
Maha Maamoun (artist)
Ahmed Mater (artist)
Almagul Menlibayeva (artist)
Sally Mizrachi (Co-founder, lugar a dudas)
Naeem Mohaiemen (artist)
Paribartana Mohanty (artist)
Aram Moshayedi (Curator, Hammer Museum)
Hania Mroué (Founder and Director, Metropolis Art Cinema)
Neo Muyanga (composer and musician)
Zeynep Öz (curator)
Claudia Pagès (artist)
Sharmini Pereira (Founder and Director, Raking Leaves)
Filipa Ramos (Co-curator, Vdrome)
Uzma Rizvi (Associate Professor, Anthropology and Urban Studies, Pratt Institute)
Abir Saksouk (Architect, Public Works)
Larissa Sansour (artist)
Mario Santanilla (artist)
Zineb Sedira (artist)
Wael Shawky (artist)
Reem Shilleh (Co-founder, Subversive Film)
Martine Syms (artist)
Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (Co-founder, Atelier Bow-Wow)
Alper Turan (Co-founder, DAS Art Project)
Deepak Unnikrishnan (writer)
Antonio Vega Macotela (artist)
Hajra Waheed (artist)
Ala Younis (artist and curator)

To view the full MM 2018 programme, click here.

MM 2018 and all Sharjah Art Foundation events are free and open to the public. For more information and to register to attend, click here.

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