Thursday, 9 December, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Flying Saucer, Sharjah

The FOCAL POINT 2021 talks programme will bring together publishers, distributors, art professionals, knowledge producers, graphic designers, writers, journalists and editors from the UAE to learn about new book releases from Sharjah Art Foundation, The Africa Institute and publications from SAF’s annual publishing grant.


10:00 am – 10:15 am: Reception
Visitor registration

10:15 am – 10:30 am: Introduction

10:30 am – 11:00 am: Abdul Hay Mosallam Zarara monograph
Speaker: Ala Younis (Artist and Publisher of Kayfa-ta)

Surveying the archives, life and work of Palestinian artist Abdul Hay Mosallam Zarara, this presentation by Ala Younis will offer an intimate view on the process of composing the Foundation's latest monograph on the artist, who decried the violent suppression of his Palestinian homeland and promoted international solidarity worldwide. The presentation will highlight the different sections of the monograph which include his personal memoirs, expanded readings of the material from his portfolios, press clippings which quote the artist and timeline his career, a bilingual bibliography and the artist’s exhibition history.

11:00 am – 11:30 am: Creating Dangerously: A Postscript to Sharjah Biennial 14
Speaker: Omar Kholeif (Director of Collections and Senior Curator, Sharjah Art Foundation)

Acting as a postscript to the discursive qualities that biennials provide to artists, curators, thinkers and the broader arts community, Creating Dangerously is a new release by the Foundation, edited by Omar Kholeif. In this segment, Kholeif asks what does it mean to ‘create’ in an age of constant precarity, and will reflect on their experience of curating Sharjah Biennial 14, in particular, the confluence of influences that shaped their curatorial process. This publication, conceived as an integral component of their Biennial, gathers key moments and conversations which emerged from the framework of the Biennial and seeks to propose questions relating to the duty of care for artists and curators alike.

11:30 am – 12:30 pm: Ahmed Morsi: A Dialogic Imagination; Beyond the Door of No Return and Ibrahim El-Salahi: At Home in the World, a Memoir
Speakers: Edoardo Ghizzoni (International Publications Manager, Skira), Salah M. Hassan (Director, The Africa Institute), Sherine Morsi (Custodian and Administrator, Ahmed Morsi Estate), Noora Al Mualla (Director of Learning and Research, Sharjah Art Foundation), Hoor Al Qasimi (President and Director, Sharjah Art Foundation), Selene Wendt (Curator, Writer and Art Historian)

Cultivating Sharjah’s unique historical role in strengthening African-Arab relations, The Africa Institute is a Sharjah-based interdisciplinary academic research institute dedicated to the study, research, and documentation of Africa and the African diaspora. In this collaborative segment, Sharjah Art Foundation, The Africa Institute and their publishing partner Skira will present their latest co-publication: Ahmed Morsi: A Dialogic Imagination, a significant monograph discussing the places, people, texts, ideas, and materials that have shaped the unique practice of the New York–based Egyptian artist Ahmed Morsi. The Africa Institute will release Selene Wendt’s latest book Beyond the Door of No Return: Confronting Hidden Colonial Histories through Contemporary Art which explores the legacies of colonialism in contemporary art as well as the memoirs of the visionary modernist painter Ibrahim El-Salahi, At Home in the World, tracing his life and career from Khartoum to Doha to Sao Paulo to New York to Oxford.

12:30 pm – 1:00 pm: Book signings and informal discussion
Attendees browse and get signed copies of the Foundation and The Africa Institute's most recent releases


2:10 pm – 2:15 pm: Introduction to FOCAL POINT Publishing Grant
A presentation on the Foundation's annual FOCAL POINT Publishing Grant which is committed to advancing both experimentation in interdisciplinary publishing practices in the region and their relationship with the wider world. In this segment, 2019 and 2020 grantees will present on their winning publication and research projects, and the winners of the 2021 will be announced.

2:15 pm – 2:45 pm: FOCAL POINT Publishing Grant 2019
Speakers: Mansour Aziz (Founder, SHFRA Studios and Barzakh), Nour Ezz El Dine (Editor, Ma3azef) and Bara’a Faruq Moh’d Al-Hara (Editor, Ma3azef)

Releasing and presenting their latest ‘mooks’ The Moment of Tarab and Omissions in the Official Narrative, Ma3azef in collaboration with Beirut-based design studio SHFRA and Barzakh will present two new anthologies on Arabic music as a result of their winning proposal for FOCAL POINT Publishing Grant 2019. The Moment of Tarab, takes an intimate look into the lives of singing legends such as Fayrouz and Abu Bakr Salem, and Omissions in the Official Narrative, an anthology of the Golden Age of Arabic music,will also be released at the fair. The two publications are a collaboration between Ma3azef, SHFRA studios and Barzakh.

2:45 pm – 3:45 pm: FOCAL POINT Publishing Grant 2020
Speakers: Ali Essafi (Filmmaker), hākārā journal (Noopur Desai and Ashutosh Podar, Editors, hakara journal), Ridha Moumni (Art and Archaeology Historian) and Gabriella Nugent (Art Historian and Curator)

Showcasing the ongoing research processes of the FOCAL POINT Publishing Grant 2020 winners, this segment will bring together Ali Essafi’s examination of the North African tradition of the Halakat, hākārā journal’s (Noopur Desai and Ashutosh Podar) mapping of regional modernism from publications produced in Maharashtra India, Ridha Moumni’s exploration of the political legacy of the School of Tunis (1943–1979) in fostering the cult of Habib Bourguiba, and Gabriella Nugent’s study of Inji Efflatoun’s artwork and its relationship to Mexican muralists David Alfaro Siqueiros, Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco.

3:45 pm – 3:50 pm: FOCAL POINT Publishing Grant 2021
Announcement of the winners of the third cycle of the Foundation's annual FOCAL POINT publishing grant.

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FOCAL POINT 2021: Talks Programme


FOCAL POINT 2021 will take place on 9 – 11 December 2021 in Sharjah Art Foundation’s Bait Obaid Al Shamsi. It will bring together the work of 120+ publishers, magazines, artists, editors, authors and makers from the UAE and MEASA region.