Currently, several works from the collections are on view at various institutions worldwide, including a selection of paintings, collages and photographs from the iconic Khartoum School, a Sudanese art movement that began in the early 1960s. On view in the exhibition, Group Dynamics: Collectives of the Modernist Period at the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau in Munich is Ahmed Mohamed Shibrain’s Sonnet XVII (1960). A global pioneer of modernism, Shibrain is known primarily for his calligraphic graphics, painted on canvas and paper. Also on view at the same exhibition is a significant painting, People in Crystal Cubes (1984), by Kamala Ibrahim Ishag. Co-founder of the Sudanese Crystallist Group, Ishag created artworks that depict scenes of women’s resistance and experience in the earthy tones of the sun, sand and sky.
Works from the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection are also part of Abu Dhabi Music and Art Festival’s landmark survey of Emirati art, Portrait of a Nation ll. The exhibition seeks to capture the spirit of the UAE art scene by tracing its past and present, and offering proposals for its future. Curated by Roxane Zand and Maya El Khalil, its diverse voices reveal an ecology of chance encounter, friendship and continuous evolution.
One of the three works on loan to Portrait of a Nation II is Mohammed Kazem’s Window (2003–2005), a multimedia installation consisting of digital prints and photographs that capture the construction of a new building development from the artist’s apartment. Kazem’s work often responds to material settings of his instant geographical setting. Often positioning himself within his art, the artist uses his gaze as a means to assert his subjectivity in a milieu often characterised by a rapid and unstable modernisation.
In London, the Whitechapel Gallery’s major exhibition A Century of the Artist’s Studio maps the interior work spaces of artists, through artworks and studio recreations, between 1920–2020. A key feature of the exhibition is a loan from Sharjah Art Foundation of the late Emirati artist Hassan Sharif’s atelier, which was installed at the Whitechapel by the Foundation’s President and Director Hoor Al Qasimi and Director of Collections and Senior Curator, Dr Omar Kholeif.
In Brussels, a major retrospective of Huguette Caland, Tête-à-Tête, originally staged at The Drawing Centre in New York, comes to life at WIELS with new loans of Caland’s work from the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection. The exhibition reveals the artist’s distinct approach to art and life, which often defied conventional representation. WIELS is currently exhibiting four works from the Foundation’s collection, including Rossinante Diptych (2011), an acrylic and pen on canvas, believed to be one of the Caland’s final completed works. Intertwining body and space into a multi-coloured universe, this piece, like many of the works from our collection currently on loan abroad, suggests the infinite possibilities of artists and their collective imagination.
Group Dynamics: Collectives of the Modernist Period is on view at the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich, until 12 June 2022.
Portrait of a Nation II is on view at Abu Dhabi Music and Art Festival until 16 April 2022.
A Century of the Artist’s Studio is on view at Whitechapel Gallery, London, until 29 May 2022.
Huguette Caland: Tête-à-Tête is on view at WIELS, Brussels, until 12 June 2022.