Sharjah Art Foundation

From 9 to 12 March 2023

Al Araba Al Madfuna II, 2013

Wael Shawky
Al Araba Al Madfuna II, 2013
Black and white video projection with sound
33 minutes
Film still
Co-produced by the Wiener Festwochen and Sharjah Art Foundation
Sharjah Art Foundation Collection


Following a short introduction to his work, Wael Shawky will join Curator Murtaza Vali in a conversation about the vernacular in his work and, hopefully, other regional delights. This event is held in conjunction with Sharjah Art Foundation's upcoming exhibition: Wael Shawky: Horsemen Adore Perfumes and other stories scheduled to open March 13 at SAF Art Spaces.

Examples of the vernacular abound throughout Wael Shawky’s extensive oeuvre: his use of Arabic, and more recently Urdu; his retelling of local fables and regional histories; his use of popular cultural forms ranging from 200 old marionettes to the 1970s German television program Telematch; and, arguably, even his interest in religion, which Shawky, unlike many of his peers, does not shy away from. This use of the vernacular seems strategic, a leveraging of local specificity against the grand narratives of History and the cosmopolitanism of contemporary art discourse, to create hybrid texts that remain stubbornly rooted yet declaratively polyvalent.


On Vernaculars: curator Murtaza Vali in Conversation with artist Wael Shawky

Shawky, Wael

In photographs, installations, videos and performances, Wael Shawky mines traditions of entertainment and performance through multilayered historical reconstructions that force viewers to navigate the territory of truth, myth, stereotype and cliché.