Photo: Eric T. White


Omar Kholeif, FRSA, is a writer, curator and cultural historian who has curated more than 100 exhibitions, special projects and commissions globally. At the heart of his work is a mission to change the way that people see and engage with hidden histories in an era of fast-paced social and economic change and hypermediated technological evolution.

Kholeif is currently Director of Collections and Senior Curator at Sharjah Art Foundation, where he oversees collection strategy, development and acquisition as well as attendant exhibition, publishing and discursive opportunities. Before joining the Foundation, he was Manilow Senior Curator and Director of Global Initiatives at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Curator at Whitechapel Gallery, London; and Senior Curator at Cornerhouse and HOME, Manchester. He has also served as an artistic director or consultant for numerous international film festivals.

Selected curatorial projects include Art in the Age of Anxiety, Sharjah Art Foundation (2020); Time, Forward!, V—A—C Foundation, 58th Venice Biennale (2019); Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber (2019); David Lynch: My Head Is Disconnected, Manchester International Festival, UK (2019); Focus: Drawing, Tracing and Mapping, Abu Dhabi Art (2019); Cyprus Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale (2015); Abraaj Group Art Prize, Dubai (2015); Focus: Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean, Armory Show, New York (2015); and Liverpool Biennial (2012).

He is the author of over two dozen books and catalogues on modern and contemporary art, many of which focus on the relationship between art and technology or the politics of art in the Middle East. His writing in books, newspapers, journals and magazines has been translated into 12 languages, and he has sold more than 100,000 books.

He has served as a Visiting Tutor at the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, and taught at a number of other universities, including the University of Chicago and Hunter College, New York. He holds an MA from the University of Glasgow and the Royal College of Art, London, and a PhD from the University of Reading and Zurich University of the Arts.

SAF participation:
Art in the Age of Anxiety (2020)
Sharjah Film Platform (December 2019)
Sharjah Biennial 14
March Meetings 2012, 2013, 2019

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