When I Count, There Are Only You..., 2021. Installation view, Sharjah Art Foundation


This Autumn, Sharjah Art Foundation presents two thematic exhibitions that bring together newly acquired and rarely seen works from the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection, a public collection that has consistently evolved since the establishment of the Foundation in 2009. Curated by Foundation Director Hoor Al Qasimi, each exhibition—titled The Rain Forever Will be Made of Bullets and When I Count There Are Only You…—draws its name and central theme from a work on display, honouring the artists and their collective vision. The exhibitions are currently on view in the Foundation’s Al Mureijah Art Spaces through 1 October 2021.

The Sharjah Art Foundation Collection reflects an ever-expanding range of art forms and visual culture, encompassing a diverse body of more than 1,300 works that span art movements from the 1920s to the present day. The Collection is anchored by acquisitions and commissions from more than two decades of the Sharjah Biennial, the Foundation’s year-round exhibitions and other core commissioning programmes. Reflecting Sharjah’s history as a major regional trade route, the Collection acts as a node that connects cultures through modern and contemporary art. In addition to highlighting the breadth and range of the Foundation’s Collection, these exhibitions build on the Foundation’s work to shift the axis of art history towards a more inclusive, intergenerational and transcultural narrative through its exhibitions, Collection and programs.

The Rain Forever Will be Made of Bullets
24 July–1 October 2021
Gallery 6, Al Mureijah Art Spaces, Sharjah

Taking its title from a work by Simone Fattal, The Rain Forever Will be Made of Bullets brings together works focusing on the struggles and wars that occurred in the respective artists’ home countries through their exploration of artistic mediums and source materials. Previously exhibited works by Etel Adnan, Simone Fattal and Lala Rukh join a selection of newly acquired sculptures and works on paper by Chaouki Choukini.

Etel Adnan’s Mount Tamalpais (2015), commissioned for Sharjah Biennial 12, is a work from a series of tapestries conceived in the 1970s that were inspired by the textures and colours of the Persian rugs of Adnan’s childhood. Her other works on view in this exhibition demonstrate her subtle power as a colourist. Also on view are Lala Rukh’s Sand Drawings 1–4 (2010), exhibited in Sharjah Biennial 12, that reveal her engagement with the sea and horizon as well as her attendant philosophical preoccupations with time, infinitude and nonexistence. An examination of socio-political conditions in the Middle East occurs in works like Zhat El Himma and Abdel Wahab (2006) by artist Simone Fattal. Based on two legendry yet widely unknown heroes of the Sira, from an epic of the same name, these works were part of her solo exhibition in 2016 at Sharjah Art Foundation. On view for the first time at Sharjah Art Foundation are a selection of sculptures, pencil drawings and watercolour paintings by Chauoki Choukini.

When I Count There Are Only You…
24 July–1 October 2021
Gallery 5, Al Mureijah Art Spaces, Sharjah

When I Count There Are Only You… examines the role artists play in society by revealing the most intimate and personal details of their inner thoughts, thus leaving themselves open for public deliberation and interpretation. The exhibition presents works by Farhad Moshiri, Farideh Lashai, Iman Issa, Mandy El Sayegh, Nari Ward, Prajakta Potnis, Rabih Mroué and Rasheed Araeen.

El Amal (2011–2012) is a series by artist Farideh Lashai that offers a commentary on the Arab spring and is on view alongside works such as But When I Look, There is Only a Shadow and When I Count There are Only You... (2012–2013). Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation, Kitchen Debate (2014) by artist Prajakta Potnis brings together staged scenes of political diplomacy and the kitchen of the future. Also on view is Rasheed Araeen’s I Love it, It Loves I (1979–1983) that studies the complex relation between geography, history, identity, performance and aesthetics.

Nari Ward’s We the People (Arabic version) (2018) uses multi-coloured shoelaces to spell out an Arabic translation of ‘we the people’, a phrase taken from the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States. Also on view are Mandy El Sayegh’s Boundary Work (2017), commissioned for Sharjah Biennial 13; Farhad Moshini’s Golden Love Super Deluxe (2003) exhibited in Sharjah Biennial 6; Iman Issa’s project Material (2010–2011) exhibited in Sharjah Biennials 9, 12 and 13; Rabih Mroué, included in Sharjah Biennial 9 and 13, is represented by his work on paper Notebook 2010 #7 (2018).

Also on view at Sharjah Art Foundation

Sharjapan 3 – Remain Calm: Solitude and Connectivity in Japanese Architecture
24 July–1 October 2021
Galleries 1, 2 & 3 in Al Mureijah Square, Sharjah

The third exhibition in a four-year series titled Sharjapan curated by Yuko Hasegawa for Sharjah Art Foundation, Remain Calm examines modern and contemporary architecture in Japan, exploring ideas that resonate powerfully when the pandemic has made staying at home the ‘new normal’, while disrupting individual connectivity to an outside world that feels fraught with challenges, risk and unknown possibilities.

Note to visitors

To ensure the comfort and safety of our community and adhere to social distancing guidelines, visitors interested in viewing the exhibition should book a slot in advance through our website. Enhanced sanitation and disinfection will take place between visits in line with recommendations from health authorities. The exhibition is free to attend and open to all. However, booking in advance is highly encouraged.

To learn more, visit sharjahart.org

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 learning 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. It was named UNESCO's Arab Capital of Culture in 1998 and the UNESCO World Book Capital in 2019.

Media Contact

Alyazeyah Al Marri