Returning for its third edition from 16 to 19 December 2020, Sharjah Art Foundation’s annual art book fair, FOCAL POINT, will offer a broad range of printed matter by artists, writers, scholars, and independent and established publishers from the MEASA (Middle East, Africa, South Asia) region and beyond. The fair, usually host to interdisciplinary art publishers and independent and alternative practices, has expanded its reach to include titles on art history, theory and criticism, many of which have been sourced through academic presses.

FOCAL POINT 2020 will take place across four days instead of the usual three, with specific time slots allocated for visitors to safely browse the hundreds of artist books, academic volumes and journals as well as zines and creative matter produced by both local and international artists.

The fair will showcase a wide variety of publishing practices across a number of sections, including SAF/EDIT, the Foundation’s own curated table; the UAE section, which features publications from galleries and art institutions in the Emirates; and independent displays representing publishers from the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and other parts of the world.

The fair will also present a number of new Foundation publications in the SAF Publications section, including the second edition of Corniche, an annual anthology of work by illustrators and comic artists based in the UAE; Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist (Hoor Al Qasimi, ed.), a major volume of critical new research into the practice of the pioneering Emirati artist; Abdul Hay Mosallam Zarara (Ala Younis, ed.), a monograph on the Palestinian artist that includes extensive reproductions of his work and archives as well as personal memoirs; Art in the Age of Anxiety (Omar Kholeif, ed.), an expansive reader that brings together the work of thought leaders in the field of image and internet culture; Look for Me All Around You (Claire Tancons, ed.), the final volume of the Sharjah Biennial 14 three-volume set; and March Meeting 2019: Beyond the Echo Chamber, a compilation of individual responses from four March Meeting 2019 correspondents.

On the first night of the fair, 16 December 2020, Sharjah Art Foundation will announce the winners of the second annual FOCAL POINT Publishing Grant (up to 30,000 USD), which aims to further the Foundation’s mission to advance scholarly research and publish content that generates a more expansive understanding of the history of art in the region and its relationship with the wider world. The 2020 edition of the grant will support art historical research projects that focus on global modernism in relation to artists, practices and theoretical content produced in the MEASA region during the post-war period. The 2020 grant recipients will have the opportunity to present their work at future editions of the FOCAL POINT Art Book Fair.

Taking place in the historic Bait Obaid Al Shamsi, the 175-year-old heritage house that sits across from Sharjah’s port, FOCAL POINT 2020 also features a variety of learning workshops suitable for children and families as well as live music performances. More details about the workshops and performances will be published on our website closer to the event date. Workshop participation is free; however, prior registration is required.

The list of participants is provided below:

Africa Institute, Afterall, Al Mutawassit Publishing, Al Saqi, Art Africa, Art Asia Pacific, Bazar Art Book, Bloomsbury Publishing, Chimurenga, Combined Academic Publishers, Darat Al Funun, Douxspace, Edition Patrick Frey, Fa9la.ae, Farside Collective, Fehras Publishing Practices, The Funambulist, GINGKO, Kawkab ElRasameen, Kayfa Ta, Khaleejesque, Khatt Books, LIFTA Volumes, Maamoul Press, Marg, Mophradat, Nang Magazine, Rimal Books, Snoubar Bayrout, Tabl Research and Experiment House, Tara Books, TokTok Magazine, Ugly Duckling Presse, Valiz, and Vasl Artists' Association.

Sana Abdul Majeed, Maliha Abidi, Maryam Ahmad and Aymen Ansari, Sara Al Dhubaib, Azim Al Ghussein, Mouza Al Hamrani, Mohamed Al Junaibi, Shaikha Al Maazmi, Mohammed Al Shaibani, Aysha Al Shamsi, Maryam Al Shamsi, Nasser Alzayani, Ayesha Bin Haider, Yesmin Choutri, Alia and Maitha Damithan, Mehr Husain / Zuka Books, Khalid Mezaina, Qamise, Esraa Ramadan, Iman Shaggag, Mariaam’s Store, Zain.Voyage, Nora Zeid, and Amna Zuberi.


1x1 Art Gallery, Al Qasimi Publications, Art Jameel, Barjeel Art Foundation, Emirates Fine Arts Society, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Green Art Gallery, Grey Noise, Gulf Photo Plus, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Maraya Art Centre / 1971 Design Space, NYUAD Art Gallery, Sharjah Department of Culture, Sharjah Museums, The Third Line, UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth, and Warehouse421.

FOCAL POINT continues Sharjah Art Foundation’s commitment to the medium of print. Since its establishment, the Foundation has produced a variety of artist books, exhibition catalogues, monographs and critical texts as part of its mission to provide a platform for regional and international artists and cultural practitioners.

Visitor information

To facilitate the comfort and safety of our visitors and community, this year’s fair will be spread across four days. Visitors are encouraged to book an available slot online in advance, but bookings will also be available at the venue. FOCAL POINT 2020 is free and open to the public. Sharjah Art Foundation’s health and safety guidelines are available to view here. Book your visit on this link.

Fair timings

Wednesday, 16 December 2020
4:00 pm–10:00 pm

Thursday, 17 December 2020
4:00 pm–10:00 pm

Friday, 18 December 2020
4:00 pm–10:00 pm

Saturday, 19 December 2020
2:00 pm–10:00 pm

Additional information about FOCAL POINT 2020 will be made available closer to the event date. Visit sharjahart.org to learn more.

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 exhibitions and events 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 Muhammad 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 was designated the UNESCO ‘World Book Capital’ for the year 2019.

Media Contacts

Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa, alyazeyah@sharjahart.org, +971(0)65444113