SAF announces artist list, commissions for 2019 Sharjah Biennial

SHARJAH, 1st October, 2018 (WAM) — The Sharjah Art Foundation, SAF, will feature nearly 90 established and emerging artists from around the globe, over 60 new commissions, as well as many never-before-seen works in the next Sharjah Biennial.

Open to the public from 7th March to 10th June 2019, under the theme ‘Leaving the Echo Chamber’, the 14th edition of the Sharjah Biennial, SB14, will explore the possibilities and purpose of producing art when news is fed by a monopoly of sources, history is increasingly fictionalised, when ideas of “society” are invariably displaced, and when borders and beliefs are dictated by cultural, social and political systems.

Curators Zoe Butt, Omar Kholeif and Claire Tancons, who have collaboratively conceived the SB14 theme, will present three distinct exhibitions bringing together a range of experiences and works – including major commissions, large-scale public installations, performances and film – to create a series of provocations about how one might re-negotiate the shape, form, and function of the “echo chamber” of contemporary life, towards a multiplying of the echoes within.

Such a vibration is representative of the vast forms of human production – its rituals, beliefs and customs. Butt, Kholeif, and Tancons will also spearhead three distinct programmatic approaches for SAF’s March Meeting, an annual convening of local and international artists, curators, scholars and other arts practitioners who explore topical issues in contemporary art through a programme of talks and performances.

“Contemporary life is dominated by competing information and fluctuating histories – a reality that raises important questions about the trajectory of contemporary art, as well as the conditions in which it is made,” said Hoor Al Qasimi, President and Director of Sharjah Art Foundation. “Zoe Butt, Omar Kholeif, and Claire Tancons bring incredibly different perspectives to these questions, and together represent the complexity of challenges faced by today’s artists and society as a whole. The aim of the biennial is to deepen the context of these questions through thought-provoking and often experiential works of art, and the March Meeting will complement and provide opportunities to explore these works and the Biennial theme more deeply.”

On view in buildings and courtyards across the city’s arts and heritage areas, as well as in SAF’s studios in Al Hamriyah, in the East Coast city of Kalba and other spaces in Sharjah, ‘Leaving the Echo Chamber’ will explore subjects ranging from migration and diaspora, to concepts of time and interpreted histories – giving artists the agency to explore stories that echo in a different way, revealing differing means of connecting, surviving and sustaining a collective humanity.


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