9–11 December 2021

Talks Programme: The Flying Saucer
10:00 am–4:00 pm, 9 December

Art Book Fair: Bait Obaid Al Shamsi, Arts Square
4:00 pm–10:00 pm, 9–11 December

Free admission, booking is required.

Sharjah Art Foundation announces the programme and exhibitors for FOCAL POINT, the region’s largest and most diverse art book fair. Returning for its fourth edition, the fair brings together printed matter from the MEASA (Middle East, Africa, South Asia) region, including artist books, academic volumes and journals, zines and other non-traditional and experimental publications from more than 120 publishers, magazines, artists, editors, authors and makers from the UAE and MEASA region. FOCAL POINT takes place from 9 to 11 December 2021 in Sharjah Art Foundation’s Bait Obaid Al Shamsi, Arts Square.

For the first time this year, FOCAL POINT will feature a day-long talks programme at the iconic Flying Saucer about new books released from the Foundation, The Africa Institute and publications supported and made possible by the FOCAL POINT Publishing Grant. The event will bring together publishers, distributors, art professionals, knowledge producers, graphic designers, writers, journalists and editors to learn about these publications.

FOCAL POINT’s public programme extends throughout the art book fair with children and community workshops, music events and more.

A number of major publications and artist monographs will launch during FOCAL POINT 2021. These include:

Ahmed Morsi: A Dialogic Imagination, published by Sharjah Art Foundation, The Africa Institute and Skira, a significant monograph discussing the places, people, texts, ideas and materials that have shaped the unique practice of the New York–based Egyptian artist Ahmed Morsi.

Creating Dangerously: A Postscript to Sharjah Biennial 14, a collection of essays, poems and thoughts representing an extension of the SB14 platform, Making New Time, edited by Omar Kholeif, Director of Collections and Senior Curator, Sharjah Art Foundation.

The second edition of Beirut Bereft: The Architecture of the Forsaken and Map of the Derelict, a collaborative publication and exhibition project by Rasha Salti and Ziad Antar, which was originally commissioned, published and produced for Sharjah Biennial 9 (2009).

Corniche 3, a SAF Community publication project which brings together artists specialised in comics and illustrations based in the UAE and broader region.

The Africa Institute will launch Selene Wendt’s latest book Beyond the Door of No Return: Confronting Hidden Colonial Histories through Contemporary Art which explores the legacies of colonialism in contemporary art as well as the memoirs of Ibrahim El-Salahi, At Home in the World, tracing his life and career from Khartoum to Doha to São Paulo to New York.

FOCAL POINT 2021 Exhibitors

The art book fair brings together more than 120 publishers, magazines, artists, editors, authors and makers from the UAE and MEASA region and includes over 500 titles sourced from a variety of cultural partners and collaborators including art book fairs in Singapore and Tehran; independent, critical and arts-focused publishers from Lebanon, South Africa, Morocco, Pakistan and Palestine; as well as a selection of new magazines, zines, art and photography books, prints and other ephemera from the MEASA region.

The fair also brings together the publishing work of art and cultural organisations from the United Arab Emirates, including a selection of catalogues, artist books and other published matter produced locally and by artists from around the world who are represented by UAE galleries. FOCAL POINT will also exhibit a range of young and emerging UAE creatives, illustrators, zine makers, cartoonists and product designers.

2021 Exhibitors include:

Afterall, Al Mutwasit, Al Nahda Al Arabiya, Al Qasimi publications, Alia & Maitha Damithan, Alia Al Hammadi, Alireza Mohammadi, Ameerah Mousa, Arman Golestaneh, Art Africa magazine, Art Jameel, Asai, Atelier HOKO, Ayesha Bin Haider, Barakunan, Barjeel Art Foundation, Barthelemy Toguo, Beirut Concept Store, Black Dog Press, Blaft Publications, Bloomsbury Publishing, Book Depository, Cat Hu, Catsdraws, Chimurenga, Combined Academic Publishers, Contemporary Image Collective, Daniel Kotter, Dar Al Saqi, Dar Al Tawheed, Darat Al Funun, Department of Culture Sharjah, Dima Bittard, Editions Snoubar Bayrout, Emirates Fine Art Society, Errant Journal, Esraa Artist, Fa9la.ae, Famous Ilavbare, Fana' Collective, Fanzeen comics, Farside Collective, Fehras Publishing Practices, Galerie Clementine, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, GINGKO, Golara Jahanian, Green Art Gallery, Gulf Photo, Plus, Hadeel Ahmed, Hedieh Ahmadi, Hessa Al Zarooni, In Plain Words, IRTHI, Jabal Amman Publishers, Juliana Tan, Kalimat foundation, Kalimat Group, Kaph Books, Kawkab ElRasameen, Kayfa Ta, Khatt Books, Khawla AlMarzooqi, KULTE, La Decouverte, Lai Yu Tong, Lawrie Shabibi, Locale, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Maamoul Press, Maha Al Mazrouei, Mahmoud Safwat, Makan Magazine, Maraya Art Centre – 1971 Design Space, Mariaam's store, Mediabus, Mizna, Mophradat, Mouza Al Hamrani, Nang Magazine, Nope Fun, Nora Zeid, NYU Abu Dhabi, Paper monument, Penpowder, Plant Press, Qamise, Rafiqi, Rasamett, Rimal Books, Sadjad Ghoroqi, Salon für Kunstbuch, Samuel Nja Kwa, Sana Haroon, Saqi, Sara AlDhubaib, Sara AlKhayyal, Shabahang Tayyari, Shadah.ae, Shadda.ae, Sharjah Institute for Heritage, Sharjah Museums, Shiva Sherveh, Swalif Collective, Tara Books, Tashkeel, Temporary Press, The Africa Institute, The Funambulist, The Institute of Critical Zoologists, The Marg Foundation, The Palestinian Museum, The Third Line, TokTok Magazine, UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth, Valiz, Yaarbal Books, YaHala Studio Archive, Zaghlool Socks, Zaman Books, ZAT magazine and 3losh Store.

FOCAL POINT Talks Programme

On December 9 2021, the FOCAL POINT 2021 Talks Programme will bring together publishers, distributors, art professionals, knowledge producers, graphic designers, writers, journalists and editors from the UAE at Sharjah Art Foundation’s Flying Saucer.

Sessions will include presentations of Abdul Hay Mosallam Zarara’s recently released monograph by artist and editor Ala Younis; a session by SAF’s Director of Collections and Senior Curator Omar Kholeif about Creating Dangerously: A Postscript to Sharjah Biennial 14; a conversation about The Africa Institute’s publications with Hoor Al Qasimi, President and Director of Sharjah Art Foundation and President of The Africa Institute; Noora Al Mualla, Director of Learning and Research at Sharjah Art Foundation; Salah M. Hassan, Director of The Africa Institute; Edoardo Ghizzoni, International Publications Manager, Skira; Sherine Morsi, Custodian and Administrator, Ahmed Morsi Estate; and Selene Wendt, Art Historian, Curator and Writer. The second round of talks will focus on FOCAL POINT Publishing Grant supported projects with participation from past cycles awardees Ma3azef, SHFRA and Barzakh (Mansour Aziz, Nour Ezz El Dine and Bara’a Faruq Moh’d Al-Hara), Ali Essafi, hākārā journal (Noopur Desai and Ashutosh Potdar), Ridha Moumni and Gabriella Nugent.

For more information about FOCAL POINT Talks Programme, click here.

FOCAL POINT Publishing Grant

The 2021 edition of the FOCAL POINT Publishing Grant extends the Foundation’s mission to provide opportunities that contribute to interdisciplinary publishing practices in the region. The grant is conceived as a means to support projects that contribute to the production of original ideas and critical thinking, and that offer experimental and innovative approaches to publishing in art and culture.

This year the Foundation will award a total of USD 30,000 to multiple grantees and provide publishing and distribution support in three categories: long-form essays, reproduction of small publications and experimental publications.

The 2021 grant awardees will be announced on 9 December 2021 at the Talks Programme held in the Foundation’s Flying Saucer.

About FOCAL POINT and SAF Publishing

Launched in 2018, FOCAL POINT is an annual art book fair held in Sharjah by the Foundation to support, catalyse and promote interdisciplinary publishing practices as part of the arts ecology. Since its establishment in 2009, Sharjah Art Foundation has published a variety of books on modern and contemporary art, including artist books, exhibition catalogues and critical essays. The Foundation supports the research-based efforts of visiting artists, curators and scholars year-round and publishes catalogues for biennials and curated exhibitions available to the public.

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 non-profits and cultural organisations, corporate sponsors and individual patrons. All exhibitions and events 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 Muhammad 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 was designated the UNESCO ‘World Book Capital’ for the year 2019.

Media Contact

Alyazeyah Al Marri, alyazeyah@sharjahart.org, +971(0)65444113