Act II of Sharjah Biennial 13: Tamawuj ( SB13) launched in Beirut on 14 October 2017 with Upon a Shifting Plate, a programme of talks and performances. Themed around the keyword 'culinary', the final SB13 off-site project followed three previous off-site events in Dakar (keyword 'water'), Istanbul (keyword 'crops') and Ramallah (keyword 'earth').
After welcoming remarks from Hoor Al Qasimi, President and Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, and Christine Tohme, Director of Ashkal Alwan and curator of SB13, Act II was inaugurated with two days of talks for Upon a Shifting Plate. Presenters Iman Mersal, Tarek El-Ariss, Deepa Bhashti, Sahar Mandour, Monika Halkort, Lina Mounzer and James T. Hong discussed discursive interpretations of the culinary, ranging from the language of food through televised cooking shows; the communal context of making, naming and finding food; historical narratives from times of famine; kitchen utensils in the context of legal domestic cases in Lebanon and the philosophical and scientific relationship between the intestines and the brain.
Act II exhibitions Fruit of Sleep, curated by Reem Fadda, and An unpredictable expression of human potential, curated by Hicham Khalidi, opened on the evening of 14 October at Sursock Museum and Beirut Art Center, respectively, and featured more than ten new artwork commissions. From 14 to 22 October, the opening programme for Act II presented a host of daily events, from film screenings and performances to curator-led exhibition tours. Performances by artists such as Rabih Mroue, Radouan Mriziga, Christodoulos Panayiotou and Madison Bycroft took place at various landmark theatres and other venues across the city. The programme also included films by Mohamed Khan, Anton Vidokle, Hiwa K and Naeem Mohaiemen, whose film was co-commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation and Art Jameel. Also screened were two premieres: a feature by Roy Samaha and a short film by Rania Stefan, which was commissioned by Sharjah Biennial 13.
Commissioned books by Noor Abuarafeh, Iman Issa and Karine Wehbé were also launched during the opening week of Act II, and all the publications released through SB13 in Beirut, Dakar, Istanbul, Ramallah and Sharjah were presented at the Ashkwal Alwan library as part of a recurring 'reading room' programme throughout the opening week.
Fruit of Sleep will be on view until 31 December 2017, and An unpredictable expression of human potential will be on view until 19 January 2018.
Act II was co-organised by Sharjah Art Foundation and the Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts, Ashkal Alwan, a non-profit organisation based in Beirut. Since 1993, the association has been committed to the production, facilitation and circulation of creative and theoretical endeavours across a range of disciplines and media.