Images courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation


Sharjah Biennial continues its compelling selection of film screenings, performances, online talks and workshops as part of the 15th edition and 30-year anniversary. Running through 11 June 2023 in different venues across Sharjah, the programmes build on the Biennial theme, ‘thinking historically in the present’.

Conceived by the late Okwui Enwezor, Sharjah Biennial 15 (SB15) is curated by the Director of Sharjah Art Foundation Hoor Al Qasimi, who elaborates on Enwezor’s proposal with a presentation of more than 300 artworks—including 70 new works—critically centring the past within the present. The artworks as well as the film, talks and learning programmes span 19 venues in 5 cities and towns across the emirate: Al Dhaid, Al Hamriyah, Kalba, Khorfakkan and the city of Sharjah.

SB15 Performances

Two contemporary dance performances will be presented this month as part of Sharjah Biennial 15:

My body, my archive (2023)
Faustin Linyekula
20 May 2023, 8:00 pm
Sharjah Performing Arts Academy, Sharjah

Faustin Linyekula is a contemporary dancer and choreographer who derives elements of the West African dance style of Ndombolo and incorporates its quick, syncopated rhythms into his work. An exploration of personhood, Linyekula’s My body, my archive (2023) interrogates his artistic output and revisits his own embodied experiences as a living archive and vessel to tell stories over the years. Co-produced by Théâtre National de la danse, Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne, the work wonders about the artist’s Congolese ancestors and attempts to unearth the suppressed stories of all the invisible women of generations past.

Admission is free; however, prior booking is advised.
For more information and to book your ticket, click here.

Paradise Rumour (2023)
Black Grace
26 May 2023, 8:00 pm
Africa Hall, Sharjah

Contemporary dance company Black Grace will premiere Paradise Rumour (2023) at Sharjah Biennial 15. Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation, this performance is an extension of their work Gathering Clouds (2009), which addresses prejudice and xenophobia against Pacific migrants in Aotearoa [New Zealand]. Asking ‘how far have we really come since then?’, Paradise Rumour deals with personal and collective memories and experiences of the Pacific Island community, starting with the arrival of the missionaries.

Admission is free; however, prior booking is advised.
For more information and to book your ticket, click here.

These performances are made possible with the generous support of Bank of Sharjah and Sharjah Government Media Bureau. Bank of Sharjah's sponsorship of the Sharjah Biennial aligns with its focus on social responsibility and fostering cooperation among communities and connecting them through the arts.

SB15 Film Programme

The SB15 Film Programme presents a series of narrative, documentary and experimental films by participating artists and other significant filmmakers. Highlighting the overall empowering nature of the filmic medium, the line-up features varied and radical imaginations of Indigenous futures as well as subversive portrayals of resistance to the legacies of colonialism.

Launched in March, screenings take place at Sharjah Art Foundation’s open-air Mirage City Cinema in Al Mureijah Square and Al Hamra Cinema until June 2023.

The May segment includes Show Me on the Map (2010), a two-episode film that depicts the lives of Aboriginal citizens in Canada voicing their perspectives and concerns about the unprecedented mining industry development on Aboriginal lands; SOL (2014) explores the death of a young Inuk man, Solomon Tapatiaq Uyarasuk, who is found dead in a Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in a remote Inuit community. As the documentary investigates Solomon’s death, it sheds light on the underlying social issues of Canada’s North, a region with one of the highest youth suicide rates in the world.

Both films are directed by Canadian film director and producer Marie- Hélène Cousineau.

Taking place on 27 May 2023 at Al Hamra Cinema, Show Me on the Map will be screened at 8:00 pm while SOL will be screened at 8:55 pm.

Film screenings are free and open to the public. For more information, click here.

SB15 Talks Programme

Taking place online until 10 June 2023, the SB15 Talks Programme consists of a discursive series of events that brings together artists, practitioners, scholars and historians. Their conversations amplify some of the most pressing issues with which SB15 has been dialoguing, including heritage, memory and culture; race, gender and migration; violence, dystopia and resistance; and postcolonial and decolonial futures.

Upcoming sessions include:

20 May 2023

‘Against Erasure and Forgetting’
A Conversation with Ruanne Abou-Rahme and Basel Abbas

‘Dystopic Futures and the Age of Petro-Modernity’
A Conversation with Monira Al Qadiri

3 June 2023

Subverting the Gaze: Indigenous Representation in Visual Art and Dance
A Conversation with Kahurangiariki Smith and Neil Ieremia

Everyday Topographies of Violence
A Conversation with Doris Salcedo

From Extractive Capital to the Neocolonial: Perspectives from the Visual Arts
A Conversation with Carolina Caycedo and Remi Kuforiji

10 June 2023

Panel: Food Politics

Sessions are free and open to the public. However, prior registration is required. For more information and to register, click here.

SB15 Learning Programme

The Learning Programme includes exhibition tours with experts, workshops, talks, panel discussions, excursions, photowalks and storytelling sessions that simultaneously engage with Sharjah’s history, diverse communities and landscapes. Conducted in Arabic and English, the SB15 Learning Programme unfolds across multiple venues, from Al Mureijah Square, Arts Square and Dasman in the city of Sharjah to Al Hamriyah, Al Dhaid, Al Madam, Khorfakkan, Dibba Al Hisn and Kalba in the Foundation’s six Art Centres.

Learning Programme for Children and Families

Sharjah Art Foundation invites children and families to make cyanotype and block prints, embroider plants and letters, take excursions to the past and build an art installation in the form of a storybook. Taking place until 10 June 2023, the programme provides an array of arts activities and events inspired by the work of international artists and collectives participating in Sharjah Biennial 15.

Offered in English and/or Arabic, depending on participant needs, the May sessions will take place in the city of Sharjah—at the Collections Building and Bait Obaid Al Shamsi in Arts Square—and in Al Hamriyah Studios.

20 May 2023

Design Floral Embroidery
Weave with Paper

27 May 2023

Prepare Your Canvas for Painting
Embroider Fabric Letters
Ongoing Sharjah Biennial 15 Mural Project
Create a Storybook Installation

3 June

Experiment with Block Printing
Excursion and Workshop: Connect with the Past
In collaboration with the Sharjah Archaeology Museum

10 June

Weave Wool and Silk Tapestries
Show Your Fashion through Mixed-Media Collages

Admission is free and all materials are provided. To find the full schedule of events, click here.

Learning Programme for Youth and Adults

The SB15 Learning Programme for Youth and Adults ranges from meetups, supper clubs, excursions and open mic nights to workshops inspired by SB15 works, including gardening and photography sessions. Through this programme, participants will be able to work with and learn from exhibiting artists as well as local artisans and craftsmen.

Venues are located in Al Mureijah Square and Arts Square in the city of Sharjah. Sessions are in English and/or Arabic, depending on participant needs. Sessions are free, and all materials are provided.

20 May 2023

Edible Flora Cultivation Excursion and Workshop

4 June 2023

Herbal Teas and Remedies Meetup

Admission is free and all materials are provided. To find the full schedule of events, click here.

Biennial Bytes: Official SB15 Podcast

Sharjah Art Foundation has launched Biennial Bytes, the official podcast of Sharjah Biennial 15. Bringing the Biennial to life for culture enthusiasts around the world, the podcast delves into the work of some of the most prominent artists practising today.

In each 30-minute episode, host Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of the Foundation and curator of SB15, asks artists about their practice, their process and their Biennial project. The first season of Biennial Bytes includes 12 episodes, featuring artists Nari Ward, Mary Sibande, John Akomfrah, Joiri Minaya, Yinka Shonibare, Kambui Olujimi, Archana Hande, Annalee Davis, Mithu Sen, Abdulraheem Salem and Amar Kanwar. New episodes will be released every Monday until 12 June 2023.

To subscribe and listen to the podcast, tune into Biennial Bytes on Apple, Spotify, Google or other platforms.

About Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present

Sharjah Art Foundation brings together over 150 artists and collectives from more than 70 countries for the 15th edition and 30-year anniversary of the Sharjah Biennial. Conceived by the late Okwui Enwezor and curated by the Foundation’s Director Hoor Al Qasimi, Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present reflects on Enwezor’s visionary work, which transformed contemporary art and has influenced the evolution of institutions and biennials around the world, including the Sharjah Biennial.

Al Qasimi interprets and elaborates on Enwezor’s proposal with a presentation of more than 300 artworks—including 70 new works—critically centring the past within contemporary times. These works, as well as a wide-ranging programme of performance, music and film, activate more than 19 venues in five cities and towns across the emirate: Al Dhaid, Al Hamriyah, Kalba, Khorfakkan and the city of Sharjah. Among the many venues are sites within Sharjah’s historical quarter; buildings recently restored and transformed by the Foundation, including The Flying Saucer and Kalba Ice Factory; and repurposed structures that once served as a vegetable market, medical clinic and kindergarten. Free and open to the public, Sharjah Biennial 15 runs through 11 June 2023.

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. 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.

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 Mohammad Al Qasimi, Sharjah is home to more than 20 museums and has long been known as the cultural hub of the United Arab Emirates. It was named UNESCO's Arab Capital of Culture for 1998 and the UNESCO World Book Capital for 2019.

Media Contact

Alyazeyah Al Marri