Sharjah Art Foundation in partnership with Air Arabia presents A Tripoli Agreement, a research project and exhibition that explores the coalitions, dialogues and politics that mobilise around official documents. Featuring newly commissioned works and performances as well as archival and research projects, the exhibition takes as its point of departure the spirit of the Tripoli Agreement, a peace accord between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front signed in Tripoli, Libya in 1976.

The exhibition draws attention to moments of artistic imagination, archival mediation and diasporic intelligence within the arena of international relations. Works by artists Mark Salvatus, Prajakta Potnis, Sina Seifee and titre provisoire are viewed together with projects by research platforms such as From Bandung to Berlin and Malaysia Design Archive. Abstract forms of agreement, solidarity and collaboration are subject to new readings and formations of history, allegiance and participation. In the exhibition, artists forge new circuits of internationalisms, and archives reveal new political trajectories in the world.

A Tripoli Agreement introduces cross-disciplinary practices of translation by the late avant-garde composer and ethnomusicologist José Maceda in conversation with the intellectual pursuits of cosmopolitan thinkers such as historian Cesar A. Majul, sociologist Mamitua Saber and educator Najeeb Saleeby. Their collections of writings and documents articulate concrete patterns of influence, histories of alliances, spatiotemporal conversations and spaces for experimentation. The exhibition revisits these scholars’ engagement with anthropology, ethnography and modernity as the project shows the capacity of artistic and cultural interventions to produce political subjectivities.

Through a geopolitical lens, A Tripoli Agreement brings into close proximity the construct of Southeast Asia and the regional bloc of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA), staging encounters of transnational thinking, cultural production and institution-making that not only reveal desires for collective understanding and intimate connection but also suggest the need for a comparative study of regional and national histories and contexts.

A Tripoli Agreement is the culmination of Laru-an’s research supported by the Air Arabia Curator in Residence Programme. As part of the residency, Laru-an travelled from Sharjah to Tehran and brought artists and researchers to Sharjah from other Air Arabia destinations such as Mumbai and Istanbul. Through his meetings and discussions, he was able to develop an exhibition that explores the conditions before and after the 1976 peace agreement and the intertwined histories of the different regions involved.

This exhibition is curated by Renan Laru-an, researcher, curator and founding member of the Philippine Contemporary Art Network at Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center.