Mor Gueye, Cheikh Amadou Bamba Praying on the Waters, 1998. Reverse-glass painting. Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation.



Unfolding in five parts between October 2016 and January 2018, Sharjah Biennial 13: Tamawuj extends beyond previous Sharjah Biennial formats in both space and time to encompass exhibitions, projects and education programmes in five locations. Curated by Christine Tohme, Sharjah Biennial 13 (SB13) includes a public programme in two acts, one in Sharjah (10 March–12 June 2017) and one in Beirut (19 October 2017–19 January 2018), as well as the SB13 School education programme in Sharjah. Off-site projects have been conceived by four interlocutors, each engaging with one keyword underpinning the conceptual framework of SB13. Kader Attia investigates water in Dakar (8–9 January 2017), Zeynep Oz considers crops in Istanbul (opening 13 May 2017), Lara Khaldi studies earth in Ramallah (opening 10 August 2017) and Ashkal Alwan reflects on the culinary in Beirut (opening 15 October 2017). SB13 also features two more notable components in the form of interrelated digital platforms: chip-ship, a data-rich source of research, and, the year-long publishing platform of the Biennial.

Launched on 15 October 2016, chip-ship is an online repository for textual, visual and auditory data related to the four SB13 keywords: water, crops, earth and culinary. The material was collated over eight months by 15 researchers located in Dakar, Istanbul, Ramallah, Beirut and Sharjah. With essays, archival material and commissioned topical research, the cloud-hosted chip-ship server is a rich source of data created by the interlocutors during the research phase of their respective off-site projects. The wordplay in the title emphasises the digital aspect of the data server as a vessel of knowledge. This repository serves as a ‘lighthouse’ to engage SB13 artists and academics and facilitate movement in the ‘tamawuj’ [rising and falling in waves] of knowledge. Chip-ship will become a permanent archive of SB13, functioning as a record of the Biennial and extending its life beyond 2017.

Publishing Platform:
For the publishing platform, Tohme has invited four editors – Omar Berrada, Amal Issa, Kaelen Wilson-Goldie and Brian Kuan Wood – to collaborate closely with the SB13 interlocutors in developing content that expands upon the four keywords of water, earth, crops and culinary. Featuring essays, images, videos, experimental writings, fragmentary texts and other audio-visual materials in Arabic, English, French and Turkish, the platform functions as a site of inquiry and reflection for a wider audience. With the aim of making research accessible, commissioned content for the publishing platform will be compiled into four downloadable compendia. Each compendium will focus on one of the four keywords and the release will coincide with the start of its corresponding off-site project: water in Dakar (8 January 2017), crops in Istanbul (13 May 2017), earth in Ramallah (10 August 2017) and the culinary in Beirut (15 October 2017).

The first compendium on water, is now available and it includes articles by Saloua Luste Boulbina, Victoria Ivanova and Ibrahima Wane.

The Tamawuj publishing platform and Water compendium can be accessed here.

About Sharjah Biennial

Sharjah Biennial is organised by Sharjah Art Foundation, which brings a broad range of contemporary art and cultural programmes to the communities of Sharjah, the UAE and the region. Since 1993, Sharjah Biennial has commissioned, produced and presented large-scale public installations, performances and films, offering artists from the region and beyond an internationally recognised platform for exhibition and experimentation. For more information about Sharjah Biennial, please visit:

For more information about Sharjah Art Foundation, visit

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