Questions surrounding art are at once multiple and rich, as they are intimately connected with life's continuous renewal, growth, and evolution. What we endeavour to do at the Department of Culture and Information in Sharjah is to extend the opportunity for creativity in art and to address pressing theoretical issues involving the relationship between contemporary and traditional art Indeed, these are vital parts of our mission, falling squarely within the scope of the comprehensive vision that the department is working to realize. This vision has evolved and taken form under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, member of Sharjah's Supreme Council for the Union whose outlook is distinguished by its broadness and openness. His Highness has always been keen to see that Sharjah continues to contribute to the enrichment of the international art and cultural scene.

The Sharjah Biennial has enjoyed a well-earned reputation and garnered worldwide attention, over the years successfully promoting original artists from the four corners of the earth. This year's biennial is the fulfillment of a project that sprang from our constant efforts to bring together the finest young talent representing the state of art in our world. Belonging is the theme of this seventh biennial. It highlights the creative attributes of today's art and contributes to critical debates surrounding the fine arts.

We trust, therefore, that the exhibition will result in an occasion for transcend-ing geographical borders and extolling the role that art can play in our lives. To achieve this purpose, this biennial's programme hosts symposia that we hope will assist in turning Sharjah into fertile ground for the encounter of artists, art and cultural critics from different parts of the world. Their intellectual inter-ing the role that art can play in our lives. To change will enrich and reinvigorate the local cultural scene. broadening horizons of knowledge, nurturing originality in art and readying the ground for the de-velopment of new and authentic talent to lay the foundation for local art free from restrictive dictates of expression. These essential elements open us all to innovation, imagination, and to life itself.


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