As part of its spring 2018 programme, Sharjah Art Foundation hosts March Meeting 2018: Active Forms (MM 2018), its annual convening of local and international artists, curators, scholars and other arts practitioners who explore topical issues in contemporary art during three days of talks and performances. Also included in the foundation’s spring 2018 programme are five career-spanning surveys presenting the works of Latif Al Ani, Anna Boghiguian, Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, Mona Saudi and Zineb Sedira.
‘Sharjah Art Foundation’s spring exhibitions spotlight five artists from across our region who have made pioneering contributions to contemporary art and whose practices address a broad range of timely concerns,’ said Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Art Foundation. ‘Through these solo presentations, we aim to provide new insights on their practices and on the issues that have influenced contemporary art practitioners for decades. With the March Meeting presented concurrently this spring, we look forward to welcoming local and international visitors, artists and cultural producers alike to reflect on the transformational role of art and its influence on today’s most pressing issues.’
MM 2018 and all exhibitions are free and open to the public.
March Meeting 2018: Active Forms (MM 2018) 17–19 March 2018
17–19 March 2018
The eleventh edition of March Meeting, Active Forms, explores issues of resistance through consideration of organising as a primary act and condition for artistic and cultural production. Presentations, panels, performances and conversations will examine how practices in art, writing, film, music and architecture impact engagement with instances of resistance and encourage a reassessment of art’s relationship to notions of authorship, agency and the public.
In addition to the programme of talks and panel discussions, MM 2018 will include a number of performances. Co-commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation, Wael Shawky’s large-scale music and theatre work The Song of Roland: The Arabic Version (2017) will have its Middle Eastern debut in Sharjah at MM 2018. Composer and musician Neo Muyanga will present two performances: Naham – Songs of light and weight, a choral work inspired by pearl divers’ songs, and Tsohle – A revolting mass, a survey of the musical narrative of the South African struggle performed by four singers and a conducting pianist. Claudia Pagès and collaborators will present Talk trouble, a reading performance in three acts focusing on language and collectivity.
MM 2018 will also include an exhibition of works from the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection that expand on the meeting’s key ideas. Among them are installations and other works—including co-commissions by the foundation—by 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.
Mona Saudi: Poetry and Form
ona Saudi (b. 1945, Amman, Jordan) is widely recognised for her stone sculptures that explore the relationship between natural material and modern form. Spanning five decades of the artist’s work, Mona Saudi: Poetry and Form will provide rare insight into the evolution of Saudi’s aesthetic and intellectual trajectory. With materials sourced from the surrounding Middle Eastern region, her sculptures incorporate many different types and colours of stone, including white and green marbles, pink limestone and black diorite, while her works on paper draw inspiration from Arabic poetry. Through a large selection of her stone sculptures, paintings, drawings and works on paper inspired by the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and Syrian poet Adonis, the exhibition will cultivate a nuanced understanding of Saudi’s approach to notions of growth, fertility and the body.
Latif Al Ani: Through the Lens 1953–1979
16 March–16 June 2018
atif Al Ani (b. 1932, Baghdad, Iraq) was one of the first photographers to capture cosmopolitan life in Iraq from the 1950s through the 1970s. His photographs represent a unique visual record of the country’s complex culture, politics and industry during a period in which everyday life was increasingly influenced by urbanisation.
Spanning these three pivotal decades of Al Ani’s photography, Latif Al Ani: Through the Lens 1953–1979 traces the progression of his life both in Iraq and throughout his travels. The exhibition includes photographs taken while Al Ani worked for the Arabic-language magazine Ahl Al Naft [People of Oil], part of the photography unit in the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC), and during the period he served as head of the photography department at the Iraq Ministry of Culture and head of the Iraqi News Agency.
16 March–16 June 2018
Born to an Egyptian-Armenian family, Anna Boghiguian’s (b. 1946, Cairo, Egypt) work reflects her itinerant life. Through her travels to countries such as Canada, France, India and Italy, she became a consummate chronicler of modern metropolitan life, creating dense compositions—whether two-dimensional pieces or room-size installations—that combine diverse materials, including wax, wood, paint, cut-outs and collage.
The artist’s first major retrospective to date, the exhibition spans over four decades of Boghiguian’s practice. The presentation will focus on the multimedia installations The Salt Traders (2015), A Play to Play (2013) and Unfinished Symphony (2011–2012); the drawing series Cavafy (1995–2017); a large selection of illustrated notebooks (1981–present) and a recreation of the artist’s studio in Cairo.
The exhibition was originally on view this autumn at Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, where it was curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev and Marianna Vecellio. The Sharjah presentation of this travelling exhibition is co-curated by Al Qasimi and Christov-Bakargiev and is organised by Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino in conjunction
Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim: Elements
16 March–16 June 2018
ohamed Ahmed Ibrahim (b. 1962, Khorfakkan, UAE) has been a principal contributor to the development of contemporary art in the UAE. Best known for his explorations into land art, he has been inspired by his lifelong relationship with the environment of Khorfakkan, a town in the United Arab Emirates that is surrounded by the Gulf of Oman on one side and the Hajar Mountains on the other. His work often utilises organic material or form and explores an interest in the relationship between nature and urban development.
Through paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations and documentation, the exhibition will trace the development of Ibrahim’s practice and its enduring influence on contemporary art in the UAE.
Zineb Sedira: Air Affairs and Maritime NonSense
16 March–16 June 2018
ineb Sedira (b. 1963, Paris, France) is recognised internationally for her explorations of family, tradition, oral history, migration and the intergenerational transmission of knowledge. Although these concerns have recently come to wider public attention, they have long been the focus of Sedira’s work in video, photography, sculpture and installation.
Air Affairs and Maritime NonSense will include Sedira’s best-known works, such as Image Keepers (2010), The End of the Road (2010) and Saphir (2006), as well as Mother Tongue (2002), which portrays the struggle to find a common language among three generations of women raised in Algeria, France and the United Kingdom. New commissions, titled Sunken Stories, Air Affairs and Laughter in Hell, will engage with geopolitical histories of the recent past.
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.
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 Mohammad Al Qasimi, Sharjah is home to more than 20 museums and has long been known as the cultural hub of the United Arab Emirates. In 1998, it was named UNESCO's 'Arab Capital of Culture' and has been designated the UNESCO ‘World Book Capital’ for the year 2019.
Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa