Sharjah Biennial 13 programme kicks off with educational and digital project

Sharjah Biennial 13 extended public programme kicks off with education events in Sharjah and an online digital research project.

On 15 October 2016 the Sharjah Biennial 13 opened “School” and launched the digital project “Chip-Ship”.

Sharjah Art Foundation Art Spaces, Sharjah Heritage Area, Image courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation.

Sharjah Art Foundation Art Spaces, Sharjah Heritage Area. Image courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation.

SB13 Curatorial vision: “Tamawuj” and the extended programme

On 28 September 2016 Sharjah Art Foundation announced that the Sharjah Bienniale 13 (SB13) would have an extended public programme, holding satellite events in other cities in the MENASA region as well as the main exhibition and education events in the Sharjah emirate. The keyword for SB13 is “Tamawuj” – an Arab word that translates as “a rising and falling in waves; a flowing, swelling, surging, or fluctuation; a wavy, undulating appearance, outline, or form”. Works by over 50 international artists that explore this theme will be on display in the main contemporary art exhibition, running from 10 March to 12 June 2017. Alongside the main art exhibition, Sharjah Art Foundation will preside over the production of:

  • an online repository of research material
  • four projects to take place outside the UAE (in Dakar, Istanbul, Ramallah and Beirut) curated by so called “Interlocutors”
  • a year-long education programme in Sharjah
  • a year-long online publishing platform
  • a public programme in two parts, designated  as Act I for the biennial exhibition and programme in Sharjah (March to June 2017) and Act II  (the culmination of SB13, taking place in Beirut in October).

This marks a shift in ambition and scale of the Sharjah Biennale, whose events have previously taken place in Sharjah and other sites within the United Arab Emirates. The programme’s focus on digital archiving and education can perhaps be attributed to SB13’s Curator Christine Tohmé, who is the founding director of the Beirut-based Ashkal Alwan – a year long post-graduate residency programme in Beirut that has been running since 1994.

Curator of Sharjah Biennial 13 Christine Tohmé. 2015. Photo credit Tarek Moukaddem. Image courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation.

Curator of Sharjah Biennial 13 Christine Tohmé, 2015. Photo: Tarek Moukaddem. Image courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation.

The “SB13 School” and “Chip-Ship”

The first of SB13’s programmes began on 15 October and is called “the SB13 School” – a yearlong educational programme based in Sharjah that offers workshops and meeting spaces for children and adults. As stated in the press release, the programme is designed to target

local infrastructures in the western, central and eastern regions of the Emirate of Sharjah [to] empower their various communities.

On the same day, SB13 launched a digital platform that Christine Tohmé has dubbed the “chip-ship” – an online repository described in the project statement as

a centralized digital storage space, housing various media, images, and texts, addressing the four keywords: water, earth, crops and culinary.

Rirkrit Tiravanija, 'Untitled' 2015. Mixed-media installation commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation. Installation view, Sharjah Biennial 12. Photo credit Jamal Shanavas. Image courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation.

Rirkrit Tiravanija, ‘Untitled’ 2015, mixed-media installation commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation, installation view at Sharjah Biennial 12. Photo: Jamal Shanavas. Image courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation.

Each of the four terms – water, earth, crops, culinary – corresponds to specific programmes in one of the partner locations, which will each be curated by Christine Tohmé’s chosen “Interlocutors”. In the 28 September statement, the interlocutors were confirmed as artist Kader Attia, curators Lara Khaldi and Zeynep Oz, and the Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts, Ashkal Alwan. The project relating to the key term “water” will take place in Dakar, “crops” will be explored in Istanbul, “earth” will be explored in Ramallah, and in Beirut the theme of “the culinary” will be addressed.

Each of the special projects are still in the process of developing in their respective cities, however clues are beginning to emerge: on the Facebook page of Beirut based Ashkal Alwan (where the “culinary” exhibition will open on 15 October 2017), a message was posted on the 24 of August 2016 publicising an open call for a “cook-in-residence”.

Rebecca Close

1365

Related Topics: Artist residencies, Biennales, events in the Emirati (UAE), Workshops

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