Sharjah Biennial 11

Sharjah Art Foundation

Sharjah Art Foundation Art Spaces, Sharjah Heritage Area, image courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation.

November 7, 2012

Sharjah Biennial 11
March 13–May 13, 2013
Sharjah, UAE

Opening Week Programme: March 13–17, 2013
register [​at​] 

Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) has announced new details of Sharjah Biennial 11 (SB11), which takes place from March 13–May 13, 2013, in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Inspired by the courtyard in Islamic architecture—in particular the historical courtyards of Sharjah, where elements of both public and private life intertwine—SB11 curator Yuko Hasegawa proposes a new cultural cartography that reconsiders the relationships between the Arab world, Asia, the Far East, through North Africa. 

Hasegawa has begun to look at artworks and practices that resonate with strands of the SB11 theme: complexity and diversity of cultures and societies; spatial and political relations; notions of new forms of contact, dialogue, and exchange; and production through art and architectural practices of new ways of knowing, thinking, and feeling.

Film Programme
A film programme curated by Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul will feature programming by leading figures in the film industry, including Steve Anker, Dean of the School of Film/Video at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Los Angeles; Tilda Swinton, Scotland; Mehelli Modi, Founder of Second Run DVD, London; Alcino Leite Neto, editor, Sao Paulo; Khavn De La Cruz, poet, pianist, filmmaker, Mondomanila, the Philippines; Jean-Pierre Rehm, theorist, Festival Director, FIDMarseille, Paris; Ali Jaafar, Executive Director, Independent Film Division, Quinta Communications, London; and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, film director/ producer, Chiang Mai, Thailand. The programme will include evening screenings in an outdoor courtyard cinema in the new SAF spaces. 

Sharjah Art Foundation New Art Spaces
The opening of SB11 will mark the inauguration of SAF’s five new multi-functional art spaces, which have been in development since 2009. With approximately 20,000 square feet of interior space, connected by open-air courtyards and roof-top terraces, these new spaces will provide venues for SAF’s growing activities and the increasing needs of its community.  

The new buildings are located in the Sharjah Heritage Area, which is characterised by clusters of courtyard buildings with windowless, peripheral walls that form narrow alleys. Many of the existent buildings in these areas are former traditional Emirati family homes which have been preserved or restored over the past 50 years. The new SAF art spaces will follow this typology while re-introducing lost historic details, such as the use of rooftops as social and communal spaces with bridges connecting one to another. 

New Commissions
For SB11, Yuko Hasegawa has invited approximately 24 artists to create site-specific works in the new SAF spaces or in the other existing buildings and courtyards across the Arts and Heritage Areas that have been used for the Sharjah Biennial since 2003. Among the confirmed new commissions are works by artists, musicians and filmmakers including Saadane Afif, Tiffany Chung, Yang Fudong, Runa Islam, Lucia Koch, Nasir Nasrallah, Ernesto Neto, Otobong Nkanga, Anri Sala, Wael Shawky, and a collaborative work by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Seigen Ono and Shiro Takatani.

Hasegawa has also announced the names of architects and designers who will create new works including Office KGDVS, Kersten Geers and David Van Severen; SANAA, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa; Studio Mumbai, Bijoy Jain; and SUPERFLEX, Jakob Fenger and Bjørnstjerne Christiansen. 

Sharjah Biennial Opening Week Programme & March Meeting Dates
The Opening Week Programme will begin with the professional opening on March 13, 2013, followed by the evening Opening Gala Dinner and Biennial Awards ceremony. A full schedule of events March 13–17 will include performances, films, lectures, and the annual March Meeting, a three-day symposium. Visit register [​at​]

About the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF)
SAF brings a broad range of contemporary art and cultural programmes to the communities of Sharjah, the UAE and the region. Since 2009, SAF has built on the history of cultural collaboration and exchange that began with the first Sharjah Biennial in 1993.

For more information on SAF and its programmes, visit

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November 7, 2012

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