April 30, 2018 - Barjeel Art Foundation - A Century in Flux
April 30, 2018

Barjeel Art Foundation

(1) Etel Adnan and Simone Fattal, La Montagne, Liban, 1973, Oil on canvas. (2) Saloua Raouda Choucair, Composition in Yellow, 1962-65. Oil on panel. (3) Kadhim Hayder, Fatigued Ten Horses Converse with Nothing (The Martyr's Epic), 1965. Oil on canvas. (4) Dia Azzawi, A Wolf Howls: Memories of a Poet, 1968. Oil on canvas. (5) Ibrahim El-Salahi, The Last Sound, 1964. Oil on canvas. Images courtesy of Barjeel Art Foundation.

A Century in Flux
Highlights from the Barjeel Art Foundation
May 12, 2018–May 31, 2023

Opening: May 12, 5–7pm

Sharjah Art Museum
Corniche Street
United Arab Emirates

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A long-term exhibition, A Century in Flux​: Highlights from the Barjeel Art Foundation, will open at the Sharjah Art Museum featuring a selection of key modernist paintings, sculptures and mixed media artworks from the Barjeel Art Foundation collection. Curated by Salwa Mikdadi with Barjeel curators Mandy Merzaban and Karim Sultan, the exhibition covers a century of artistic production in the Arab region and its diaspora, beginning from the late 19th century to the late 20th Century. The exhibition will remain on display for the next five years through an agreement between the Sharjah Museums Authority and Barjeel Art Foundation.

A Century in Flux aims to make a selection of modern works accessible for study by researchers, scholars, artists, curators, and art enthusiasts to encourage a greater understanding of the region’s history of artistic production. The exhibition features works by notable modernist artists such as Ibrahim El-Salahi, Saloua Raouda Choucair, and Kadhim Hayder. Also included are recent acquisitions such as Dia Azzawi’s 1968 work A Wolf Howls: Memories of a Poet, a painting based on the poem “Hassan Al Shammus” by Muzaffar Al Nawab. A number of contemporary works will punctuate the exhibition that resonate with those from the modern period and offer a sense of continuity with the present.

The exhibition is Barjeel Art Foundation’s last project before it restructures to focus its operations on preserving the collection and artwork loans. This well-documented collection of modern and contemporary art is known for its inclusion of significant 20th century art from across the Arab region. Over the past decade, Barjeel’s team has overseen the expansion of the collection, curating and collaborating on 30 local, regional, and international art exhibitions. These exhibitions were coupled with the release of numerous publications and the organisation of public programmes, with the aim of reflecting on Arab history through its art and artists.


About the curators

Salwa Mikdadi is Associate Professor Practice of Art History at NYU Abu Dhabi. Prior to joining NYUAD, Mikdadi was a lecturer in Art History at Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, and held leading positions at Art and Culture institutions in the Arab World and in the US. Mikdadi was the founding director of the Cultural & Visual Arts Resource/ICWA (1988-2006). She curated several exhibitions in the US and in Arab countries, including the ground-breaking Forces of Change (1994) and the first Palestinian Exhibition at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009) and recently co-curated Permanent Temporariness at NYUAD Gallery (2018). She is the author and co-editor of several publications, among them Cities and Legends: Elias Zayat (Skira 2017), New Visions: Arab Contemporary Art of the 21st Century (co-editor with Nada Shabout, Thames & Hudson 2009), Palestine c/o Venice (2009), In/Visible: Arab American Artists (2005), Rhythm and Form: Visual Reflections on Arabic Poetry (1998) and Forces of Change (1994).

Mandy Merzaban is the founding curator of the Barjeel Art Foundation, for whom she has curated and organised seventeen local exhibitions and numerous international exhibitions, including Terms and Conditions at the Singapore Art Museum (2013), as co-curator, Modern Art From the Middle East at Yale University Art Gallery (2017) and advised for The Sea Suspended (2016) at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and No to the Invasion: Breakdowns and Side Effects (2017) at CCS Bard College. She received her BFA from the University of British Columbia (2008) and her MA in Cultural Translation from the American University of Paris (2015) with the thesis project titled An Unknown Lover’s Discourse; an on-going research art project on themes of subjectivity, love, tarab music and film.

Karim Sultan is the director and a curator at Barjeel Art Foundation. He has recently curated a number of exhibitions such as Between two rounds of fire, the exile of the sea at the American University Museum in Washington D.C., The Sea Suspended at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, and The Short Century (co-curated with Suheyla Takesh) at the Sharjah Art Museum, an exhibition of contemporary and modern art from the Barjeel collection at Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris (co-curated with Philippe van Cauteren), and Ishara: signs, symbols, and shared languages at Concrete (Alserkal Avenue) for UAE Unlimited, a platform for emerging artists. Karim has participated in talks and public programming around the interpretation and presentation of Arab modern art histories, contemporary cultural production, literature, and music. He is also a practicing and performing artist.

About Barjeel Art Foundation
Barjeel Art Foundation, an independent collecting philanthropic institution based in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, was established by Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi in 2010 to manage, preserve, and exhibit an extensive collection of modern and contemporary Arab art. Since then, Barjeel has curated and collaborated on 30 exhibitions locally, regionally, and internationally, with the guiding principle to contribute to a greater understanding of the living and dynamic art history of the Arab world and its diaspora. In addition to this active exhibition programme, Barjeel has also developed a number of print and online publications, organised public programming, supported scholarly conferences and symposia, and established partnerships with art, cultural, and educational institutions globally with the aim of encouraging public awareness of the presence, importance, and history of art in the Arab world.

About Sharjah Art Museums Authority
The Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA) was established in 2006 by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, as an independent government department.

SMA includes 16 museums covering Islamic art and culture, archaeology, heritage, science, marine life and the history of Sharjah and the region.

To be a cultural beacon that enhances Sharjah’ s identity locally and internationally and contribute in nurturing a community aware of museums’ importance as a cultural, educational and enjoyable destination.

Deliver the highest museum standards to preserve collections & enhance an appreciation of culture and learning through our exhibitions, educational and community programs.

Barjeel Art Foundation
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