Hoor Al Qasimi, President and Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, is a curator who established the Foundation in 2009 as a catalyst and advocate for the arts in Sharjah, UAE, as well as regionally and internationally. With a passion for supporting experimentation and innovation in the arts, Al Qasimi has continuously expanded the scope of the Foundation over its 10-year history to include major exhibitions that have toured internationally; artist and curator residencies in visual art, film and music; commissions and production grants for emerging artists; and a wide range of educational programming in Sharjah for both children and adults. In 2003, Al Qasimi co-curated Sharjah Biennial 6 and has since continued as Biennial Director. Under Al Qasimi’s leadership, Sharjah Biennial has become an internationally recognised platform for contemporary artists, curators and cultural producers. Her leadership in the field led to her election as President of the International Biennial Association (IBA) in 2017, an appointment that transferred IBA’s headquarters to Sharjah. Complementing her role at the Foundation, Al Qasimi also serves as the President of The Africa Institute and Chair of the Board for the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, which inaugurated its first edition in November 2019. Al Qasimi served as curator of the second Lahore Biennale (2020).
Since its establishment in 2009, Al Qasimi has curated several major exhibitions mounted by Sharjah Art Foundation, including Xenogenesis, presenting key works by The Otolith Group (2021–2022); Tarek Atoui: Cycles in 11 (2020–2021); Zarina Bhimji: Black Pocket (2020–2021); Amal Kenawy: Frozen Memory (2018–2019); the major retrospective Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist (2017–2018), which travelled to KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2020), Malmö Konsthall, Sweden (2020–2021) and the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Saint-Étienne, France (2021); Yayoi Kusama: Dot Obsession (2016–2017); and Robert Breer: Time Flies (2016–2017). Other notable projects include 1980–Today: Exhibitions in the United Arab Emirates, the UAE Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015) and the solo exhibitions Simone Fattal (2016), Farideh Lashai (2016), Rasheed Araeen: Before and After Minimalism (2014) and Susan Hefuna: Another Place (2014), presented at Sharjah Art Foundation. Al Qasimi co-curated the landmark exhibition Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige: Two Suns in a Sunset (2016), which debuted in Sharjah and travelled to Jeu de Paume in Paris, Haus der Kunst in Munich and IVAM in Valencia, Spain. She also co-curated Bani Abidi: Funland (2019), which travelled to MCA Chicago as Bani Abidi: The Man Who Talked Until He Disappeared (2021–2022); Kamala Ibrahim Ishag: Women in Crystal Cubes (2019–2020), Prince Claus Fund Gallery, Amsterdam, following its 2016–2017 presentation at Sharjah Art Foundation; When Art Becomes Liberty: The Egyptian Surrealists (1938–1965) in Cairo (2016); and The Khartoum School: The Making of the Modern Art Movement in Sudan (1945–Present) in Sharjah (2016–2017).
Al Qasimi serves on the Board of Directors for Kunst-Werke Berlin e. V. in Germany and Ashkal Alwan in Beirut. She is the Chair of the Advisory Board for the College of Fine Arts and Design at the University of Sharjah and is a member of the advisory boards for Khoj International Artists’ Association, New Delhi; Darat al Funun, Amman; Independent Film Council, ICA, London and the Eye Art & Film Prize (2022–2024), Eye Filmmuseum, Amsterdam.
Previously, she was a board member for MoMA PS1 in New York (2010–2021), UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2013–2016) and a member of the Prince Claus Award Committee (2016–2020) as well as on the juries and prize panels for the PinchukArtCentre’s 5th edition of the Future Generation Art Prize (2019), Bonnefanten Award for Contemporary Art (2019), Maria Lassnig Prize (2017), Mediacity Seoul Prize (2016), Hepworth Wakefield Prize for Sculpture (2016), Berlin International Film Festival–Berlinale Shorts (2016), Videobrasil (2015), Dubai International Film Festival (2014) and Benesse Prize (2013).
Al Qasimi holds an MA in curating contemporary art from the Royal College of Art, London (2008). She earned a diploma in painting from the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2005) and received a BFA from the Slade School of Fine Art, London (2002).