Sharjah Art Foundation’s current exhibitions are on view through 4 July 2022, featuring a wide-ranging slate of pioneering contemporary artists from the MEASA region, including solo presentations of Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Khalil Rabah and artist studio CAMP. Additional solo exhibitions organised in collaboration with other Sharjah-based institutions include retrospectives of Gerald Annan-Forson and Aref El Rayess, on view until 7 July 2022 and 7 August 2022, respectively.

The Sonic Image is Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s largest institutional solo exhibition to date, encompassing four significant bodies of recent work, a large-scale installation commissioned by the Foundation as well as a site-specific performance; What is not is a major exhibition of work created by artist Khalil Rabah from the 1990s to the present, examining states of emergency and displacement; and Passages through Passages, an exhibition of work by Mumbai-based collaborative studio CAMP features video, audio and archival works—including works presented at Sharjah Biennials 9, 10 and 11—that analyse technology, surveillance and public health. Additionally, the Foundation has partnered with other Sharjah institutions to realise major retrospectives for the late Lebanese artist Aref El Rayess, organised in collaboration with Sharjah Museums Authority, and Ghana-based photographer Gerald Annan-Forson, organised in collaboration with The Africa Institute.
Several long-term installations are also on view at Al Hamriyah Studios, Al Hamriyah. Part of the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection, John Akomfrah’s historical montage film ‘Mimesis: African Soldier’ (2018) takes root in Sharjah, where part of the work was filmed. On long-term loan to the Foundation, the last major work of artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, ‘Khayyam Fountain’ (2018), is a kaleidoscopic homage to polymath Omar Khayyam.
Admission to exhibitions is free and bookings can be made at https://ticket.sharjahart.org/Home/
Detailed information on the Foundation’s programme follows below:

Lawrence Abu Hamdan: The Sonic Image
4 March–4 July 2022
Galleries 4, 5 and 6, Al Mureijah Art Spaces
Sharjah Art Foundation

In his largest institutional solo exhibition to date, Turner Prize-winning artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan presents recent multisensory works alongside an ambitious new commission, Air Conditioning (2022). Collectively, these works probe the frequencies, simulations and stimulations of sound, revealing narratives concealed from history. Tracing the contours of immaterial forms of surveillance and control, The Sonic Image presents a distinctive form of visual expression that explores concepts of ‘atmospheric violence’ and the politics of listening. Throughout the exhibition, Abu Hamdan presents various studies of splintered aural leaks, mapping an aesthetic atlas for how we see sound. Through research and analysis, he crafts a new form of image-making, a picture that fluctuates between the ear and the eye, which behaves akin to sound itself.

The Sonic Image features four major new iterations of recent bodies of work; a large-scale installation commissioned by the Foundation as well as a new site-specific performance, Daght Jawi: A Live Audio-Visual Essay, presented in the iconic venue The Flying Saucer. Together, this constellation of artworks investigates the boundaries between voice and speech; translation and testimony; representation and reincarnation; and explore the power of sound and image to operate as mutual progenitors, of and in, public testimony.
The Sonic Image is curated by Omar Kholeif, the Foundation’s Director of Collections and Senior Curator.

Khalil Rabah: What is not
4 March–4 July 2022
Galleries 1, 2 and 3, Al Mureijah Art Spaces
Sharjah Art Foundation

What is not is an exhibition of significant works created by Khalil Rabah from the 1990s to the present, that propose speculative frameworks and platforms for exploring how cultural institutions, curatorial practice, museological discourse and critical knowledge operate under long-standing states of emergency and displacement. The exhibition presents an overview of the artist’s ongoing projects, including the Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind, the Riwaq Biennale and Collaborations: by in form, alongside Scale Models.

Focusing on the processes that art practices are subjected to within international institutions, his projects encourage debates about cultural organisations by questioning the social, cultural and political value attributed to artefacts. Emerging from his deep involvement and background in architecture, Rabah’s works seek to provide an alternative vision that challenges public perceptions. He draws on different methodologies to engage with themes of displacement, memory and identity to examine the relationship between humans and their surroundings as well as the nature of the global human condition.

What is not is curated by Sharjah Art Foundation Director Hoor Al Qasimi.

CAMP: Passages through Passages
4 March–4 July 2022
Bait Al Serkal, Arts Square
Sharjah Art Foundation

Passages through Passages brings together a body of key works by CAMP, the Mumbai-based artist studio founded in 2007 by Shaina Anand and Ashok Sukumaran.

Presenting a cross-section of works created between 2006 and 2020, these projects encompass video and audio works, archives, including works featured in previous
Sharjah Biennials, interventions and collections, and draw upon the collective’s unique artistic and research methods. Through them, CAMP discuss topics such as anxieties and inoculations about public health under surveillance, the longue-durée of technological methods and advancements, and ideas of movement as transport or of finding unexpected ways forward.

Passages through Passages is curated by Sharjah Art Foundation Director Hoor Al Qasimi.

Gerald Annan-Forson: Revolution and Image-making in Postcolonial Ghana (1979–1985)
7 March–7 July 2022
Al Hamriyah Studios, Al Hamriyah
Sharjah Art Foundation

In collaboration with The Africa Institute, Sharjah Art Foundation presents the first retrospective of the work of Ghanaian photographer Gerald Annan-Forson. Featuring photographs primarily taken by Annan-Forson between 1979 and 1985, Revolution and Image-making in Postcolonial Ghana traces the political and social life of Ghana during a period of revolution and transformation, offering a visual story of postcolonial Ghana and its struggles and aspirations in the post-independence period. Annan-Forson’s style of composition, lens focus, formal repetitions, character representation, and long-term commitment to documenting the changing landscape of Accra, Ghana, has reshaped the understanding of photography as a tool of radical image-making.

Revolution and Image-making in Postcolonial Ghana (1979–1985) is curated by Jesse Weaver Shipley, Professor of African and African American Studies and Oratory, Dartmouth College, USA.

Aref El Rayess
26 February–7 August 2022
Sharjah Art Museum

This major retrospective presents a largely unknown body of work created by the prolific Lebanese artist Aref El Rayess (1928–2005). The exhibition includes a wide range of paintings, drawings, works on paper and sculptures that together reveal the rich and complex artistic practice of this important Arab modernist. This exhibition is organised by Sharjah Art Foundation and Sharjah Museums Authority, with the support of the Aref El Rayess Foundation and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut / Hamburg.

About Sharjah Art Foundation
Sharjah Art Foundation is an advocate, catalyst and producer of contemporary art within the Emirate of Sharjah and the surrounding region, in dialogue with the international arts community. Under the leadership of founder Hoor Al Qasimi, a curator and artist, the Foundation advances an experimental and wide-ranging programmatic model that supports the production and presentation of contemporary art, preserves and celebrates the distinct culture of the region and encourages a shared understanding of the transformational role of art. The Foundation’s core initiatives include the long-running Sharjah Biennial, featuring contemporary artists from around the world; the annual March Meeting, a convening of international arts professionals and artists; grants and residencies for artists, curators and cultural producers; ambitious and experimental commissions and a range of travelling exhibitions and scholarly publications.

Established in 2009 to expand programmes beyond the Sharjah Biennial, which launched in 1993, the Foundation is a critical resource for artists and cultural organisations in the Gulf and a conduit for local, regional and international developments in contemporary art. The Foundation’s deep commitment to developing and sustaining the cultural life and heritage of Sharjah is reflected through year-round exhibitions, performances, screenings and educational programmes in the city of Sharjah and across the Emirate, often hosted in historic buildings that have been repurposed as cultural and community centres. A growing collection reflects the Foundation’s support of contemporary artists in the realisation of new work and its recognition of the contributions made by pioneering modern artists from the region and around the world.

Sharjah Art Foundation is a legally independent public body established by Emiri Decree and supported by government funding, grants from national and international nonprofits and cultural organisations, corporate sponsors and individual patrons. All exhibitions are free and open to the public.

About Sharjah

Sharjah is the third largest of the seven United Arab Emirates and the only one bridging the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Reflecting the deep commitment to the arts, architectural preservation and cultural education embraced by its ruler, Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Sharjah is home to more than 20 museums and has long been known as the cultural hub of the United Arab Emirates. In 1998, it was named UNESCO's 'Arab Capital of Culture' and has been designated the UNESCO ‘World Book Capital’ for the year 2019.

Media Contacts

Sharjah Art Foundation
Alyazeyah Al Marri