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TAJAROB: All that chance has given me by Aya Chikri


Sharjah Art Foundation announces the open call for the 12th iteration of its annual photography exhibition, Vantage Point Sharjah (VPS). This year’s theme, ‘If I Were Another’, derives from the title of a poem by Mahmoud Darwish, which addresses intimate individual experiences and the weight of history and collective memory. VPS12 is an invitation to see the world through the lens of others who hold different identities, histories and sensibilities.

Emerging photographers working in all areas, genres and styles are welcome to submit applications in line with this year’s theme. The selection committee will identify five artists whose work will be showcased in a group exhibition from 28 September to 8 December 2024 at Bait Obaid Al Shamsi. The shortlisted artists will be encouraged to present in creative formats, and a proportion of the production funding will be provided by the Foundation. As well as the opportunity to exhibit, the chosen artists will benefit from professional support, including workshops and mentorships devised to foster their development as photographers.


Please apply through the form here. Only applications submitted through this link will be considered.

The deadline for submission is 11:59 pm, UAE local time (GMT +4), on 24th June 2024. Submissions received after the deadline will not be accepted.

In case your query is not answered in the FAQs section below, please contact


Who can apply for the open call?

Applicant criteria:
● The application process is open to all globally.
● Works in all areas, genres and styles of photography are welcome.
● Applicants should not have had institutional solo exhibitions before the date of the application.
● Applicants should have at least three bodies/series of existing photographic work.

What materials do I need to submit?
You will need to submit a portfolio suitable for a solo presentation (PDF format, under 30 MB). The portfolio must include an artist statement, a short bio and a series of at least five photographs. Each portfolio can contain up to a maximum of four series. The submission can also include work images, installation photos, videos, statements and reviews.

How many artists will be selected, and how?
A total of five artists will be selected by Foundation staff. Deliberations will be based strictly on the submitted portfolio; applications that do not meet the submission criteria will be automatically disqualified. When examining entries, Foundation staff will consider the following questions:
● What is the importance of the theme or subject matter?
● Is the theme or subject matter applied consistently throughout the series?
● Are the images strong individually?
● What technical and presentation choices has the photographer made, and are they appropriate for the work?
● Does the body of work take an innovative or unique approach to the theme or subject matter?

What will I receive if I am selected?
The selected artists will receive a standard artist fee and participate in VPS12. All works for the exhibition will be produced in Sharjah with the professional and financial support of the Foundation. A booklet for the exhibition, featuring the artists and their works, will be published.

The artists will be invited to Sharjah for the exhibition and offered opportunities to participate in public programmes and digital projects produced and distributed by the Foundation. To foster their growth and development as photographers, they will be paired with mentors and take part in a series of workshops, meetups and studio visits with professionals in the field.

Which works will be shown in the exhibition, and how will they be produced?
Exhibited works will be selected mainly from the artist’s submission, in consultation with Foundation staff. However, artists are encouraged to include new works or new elements in the exhibition. There is no maximum number of works, but there are limits with regard to space and production budgets. The production of the exhibited works—any type of fabrication, including printing and framing—should take place in Sharjah and use the resources of the Foundation. All works produced for the exhibition are temporary copies; if the artist wishes to keep the works after the exhibition, packaging, crating, shipping and customs costs should be borne by the artist.

When and where will the exhibition take place?
VPS12 will take place from 28 September to 8 December 2024 at the house of Obaid bin Hamad Al Shamsi. A creekside heritage house in the Al Shuwaiheen neighbourhood, was the personal residence of pearl merchant Obaid bin Hamad Al Shamsi and his family until the 1970s.

What is Vantage Point Sharjah?
Introduced in 2013 to cultivate public engagement with photography as an artistic medium, Vantage Point Sharjah began with an open call for photographers based in the UAE to explore the Emirate of Sharjah. Over the past decade, VPS has expanded its open call, inviting entries from not only the UAE but also Asia and Africa, and encompassing all forms of lens-based art. Sharjah Art Foundation has also broadened its criteria for VPS, shifting from solely focusing on the image to recognising the comprehensive practice that includes the photograph, the artist and professional development.