Photo: Eric T. White


Omar Kholeif, PhD, CF FRSA, is a writer, curator and cultural historian who has curated more than 100 exhibitions of visual art, architecture and digital culture. Kholeif’s research is concerned with the intersection of cybernetics, critical-race, ethnicity and post-colonial theories in the context of ‘global modern’ and contemporary art.

Kholeif is the Director of Collections and Senior Curator at Sharjah Art Foundation, where he oversees collection strategy, development and acquisition as well as exhibitions and related research. Before joining the Foundation, Kholeif was Manilow Senior Curator and Director of Global Initiatives at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Curator at Whitechapel Gallery, London; Senior Curator at Cornerhouse and HOME, Manchester; Artistic Director at Arab British Centre, London and founding Director of the UK’s Arab Film Festival (now Safar). Kholeif has served as an artistic director or consultant for numerous international film festivals and development labs.

Select curatorial projects include Art in the Age of Anxiety, Sharjah Art Foundation (2020); Time, Forward!, V—A—C Foundation, 58th Venice Biennale (2019); Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber (2019); David Lynch: My Head Is Disconnected, Manchester International Festival, UK (2019); Two Days After Forever: Cyprus Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale (2015); Before History: Abraaj Group Art Prize, Dubai (2015); Focus: Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean, Armory Show, New York (2015); and Liverpool Biennial (2012).

Kholeif is the author or editor of 31 books of prose, art or criticism, which have been translated into 12 languages. Recent volumes include, Goodbye, World! Looking at Art in the Digital Age (2018) and Art in the Age of Anxiety (2021).

Kholeif has taught at numerous research universities globally including, Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford; University of Chicago; Northwestern University; SAIC; and Hunter College, City University of New York. Kholeif holds MAs from the University of Glasgow and the Royal College of Art, London and a PhD from the University of Reading.

SAF participation:
Unsettled Objects (2021)
Art in the Age of Anxiety (2020)

To Speak with Many Tongues (2020)
Sharjah Film Platform (2019)
Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber
March Meetings 2012, 2013, 2019 and 2021