Hoor Al Qasimi , President and founding Director of Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF), is a practicing artist and curator, who established Sharjah Art Foundation in 2009 as a catalyst and advocate for the role of art in Sharjah, the UAE, 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 ten-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 for children and adults in Sharjah. In 2003, Al Qasimi co-curated Sharjah Biennial 6, and has since continued as Biennial Director. Under Al Qasimi’s leadership, the Sharjah Biennial has continued to grow as an internationally recognised platform for contemporary artists, curators and cultural producers. Her leadership in the field led to her election as the new president of the International Biennial Association (IBA) in 2017, an appointment that transferred IBA’s headquarters to Sharjah. Complimenting her role at SAF, Al Qasimi also serves as the President of The Africa Institute, as well as on the Board of Directors for the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, which will debut its inaugural edition in November 2019. Al Qasimi will also serve as Curator of the second Lahore Biennale (LB02) opening in early 2020 and presented across the city of Lahore, Pakistan. An accomplished curator, Al Qasimi has curated several major exhibitions mounted by Sharjah Art Foundation, including the major retrospective Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist (2017), Yayoi Kusama: Dots Obsession (2016–17), Robert Breer: Time Flies (2016–17) and Amal Kenawy: Frozen Memory (2018–19). Other notable projects include 1980–Today: Exhibitions in the United Arab Emirates, the UAE Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), as well as the solo exhibitions Rasheed Araeen: Before and After Minimalism, (2014), Simone Fattal (2016), Farideh Lashai (2016) 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, France, Haus der Kunst in Munich, Germany and IVAM in Valencia, Spain. She also co-curated major survey shows When Art Becomes Liberty: The Egyptian Surrealists (1938 –1965) in Cairo, Egypt (2016) and The Khartoum School: The Making of the Modern Art Movement in Sudan (1945–Present) in Sharjah (2016–17).
Al Qasimi serves on the Board of Directors for MoMA PS1 in New York, USA; KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, Germany; and Ashkal Alwan in Beirut, Lebanon. She is the Chair of the Advisory Board for the College of Art in Design at the University of Sharjah and is a member of the advisory boards for Khoj International Artists’ Association, New Delhi, India and Darat al Funun, Amman, Jordan.
Currently, she serves as a member of the Prince Claus Award Committee (2016–current), and a juror for the PinchukArtCentre’s 5th edition of the Future Generation Art Prize. She has previously served on the juries and prize panels for the Bonnefanten Award for Contemporary Art (2018), Maria Lassnig Prize (2017), Mediacity Seoul Prize (2016), Hepworth Wakefield Prize for Sculpture (2016), Prince Claus Awards (2016), Berlin International Film Festival – Berlinale Shorts (2016), Videobrasil (2015), Dubai International Film Festival (2014) and Benesse Prize (2013).
Al Qasimi has an MA in curating contemporary art from the Royal College of Art in London (2008). She holds a diploma in painting from the Royal Academy of Arts in London (2005) and received her BFA from the Slade School of Fine Art in London (2002).