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:
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.