Sharjah Biennial 11

Ahead of Art Week Sharjah Biennial 11 opened under the curatorial title Re:emerge - Towards a New Cultural Cartography. Curator Yuko Hasegawa was inspired by the courtyard in Islamic architecture, and in particular the historical courtyards of Sharjah, where the biennial is presented - in and around the heritage houses of the area known as Heart of Sharjah. Wandering through the sprawling plot of houses and courtyards, discovering artworks, performances, film screenings, and installations the works introduce us to interactions, experimentations and new journeys as we consider the meaning of this space in a global context.

Take Sharjah, the area of the Biennial is used not only by the arts and cultural community but by the people who live there. People still recur the incident of last Biennial when a man passing by stopped to listen to a musical performance. He started to dance, which in turn changed a quiet contemplative arts audience into a party as everyone started to dance until 3am in a courtyard in the Heart of Sharjah. That was truly a special moment.

It’s the focus of engaging local audiences that drives Sharjah Arts Foundation’s activities in it’s year round programme, and it’s encouraging to see this years Biennial getting back to that ethos under the Directorship of Sheikha Hoor Bint Sultan Al Qasimi- do read the interview with her in Harpers Baazar Art Arabia.

As always the works presented at the Biennial are inspiring, well researched, and of an International standard. This year there is a lot of video art (maybe too much) which demands time to fully appreciate the work, so at least 2 days is needed to see all the exhibits.

Here’s a run through of our favourite pieces:

'Someone Else - A library of 100 books written anonymously or under pseudonyms' by Shilpa Gupta
'Someone Else - A library of 100 books written anonymously or under pseudonyms' by Shilpa Gupta
The ThirdLine Artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian
The ThirdLine Artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian
'Session' by Nevin Aladag. A musical composition and video triptych shot in Sharjah's urban areas and desert using instruments found in the UAE
'Session' by Nevin Aladag. A musical composition and video triptych shot in Sharjah's urban areas and desert using instruments found in the UAE
Artist Wei Liu
Artist Wei Liu
Artist Ernesto Neto
Artist Ernesto Neto
Capsule Arts Director Rachael Brown in Thilo Frank's 'Infinite Rock' installation
Capsule Arts Director Rachael Brown in Thilo Frank's 'Infinite Rock' installation
An installation, game, performance titled 'Terra Incognita, et cetera' by Tintin Wulia
An installation, game, performance titled 'Terra Incognita, et cetera' by Tintin Wulia
Seven door openings were transformed in Bait Al Serkal by Lucia Koch in 'Conversation'
Seven door openings were transformed in Bait Al Serkal by Lucia Koch in 'Conversation'
Emirati Artist Nasir Nasrallah's 'The Story Convertor'
Emirati Artist Nasir Nasrallah's 'The Story Convertor'
Capsule Arts Director Deepa Bhatia stuck in Valia Fetisov 'Installation of Experience'
Capsule Arts Director Deepa Bhatia stuck in Valia Fetisov 'Installation of Experience'
Sara Ramo's 'The Garden From The Freezone' on the tenth floor of the Sharjah Islamic Bank building on Bank Street
Sara Ramo's 'The Garden From The Freezone' on the tenth floor of the Sharjah Islamic Bank building on Bank Street
IMG_1325
IMG_1325

A full schedule of events is planned from March 13 – 17 that will include performances, films, lectures, and the annual March Meeting, a symposium featuring thematic sessions and moderated panel discussions that will reflect on and contexualise the concept of SB11.

You also have until 13 May 2013 to see all the exhibits and check their website www.sharjahart.org for events taking place post the opening week.