Launches at Venice Biennale

Launches at Venice Biennale

Sharjah Art Foundation

June 9, 2009

Sharjah Art Foundation launches at Venice Biennale

HH Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of the Sharjah Biennial, announced the launch of the Sharjah Art Foundation in a special reception held during the opening week of Venice Bienniale 09. This comes as the Sharjah Biennial wraps up its nine edition with over 21,000 visitors attending in its two month run.

The Sharjah Art Foundation is a new and powerful initiative committed to supporting the development of a flourishing arts environment in the Gulf by nurturing artistic opportunities and pursuing both regional and international exchange programmes. Building on the pioneering role that Sharjah has played in the UAE, the Foundation will be dedicated to supporting the production and presentation of contemporary art.

The Sharjah Biennial’s extensive programmes will form the core of the new Foundation, while its values will inform its mission. Cultivating the spirit of research, experimentation and the accumulation of knowledge and experience, the Sharjah Art Foundation will continue in the role of artistic and cultural think-tank for the region.

The Sharjah Art Foundation will also expand upon the success of programmes initiated and developed under the auspices of the Sharjah Biennial and make possible a deeper and more continuous engagement with local and international arts communities.

These programmes manifest the Foundation’s guiding principles of production, collaboration and exchange. The Programmes include:

Sharjah Biennial
The Sharjah Biennial is one of the most celebrated cultural events in the Arab world. Since its inception in 1993, it has formed a cultural bridge between artists, art institutions and organisations locally, regionally and internationally.

The Production Programme
The Production Programme provides direct support to artists for the production of art as well as funding to art practitioners for projects, research, publications and film.

The March Meeting
The March Meeting is an annual gathering of global art professionals and institutions involved in the production and dissemination of art in the Arab world.

Artists’ Residencies
There are dedicated residency programmes for artists to explore their relations with the UAE and the region.

The Foundation fosters collaboration with regional educational and cultural institutions as it develops specialized programmes of workshops, seminars, lectures and events designed for a range of age groups.

The Launch of the Sharjah Art Foundation comes as Sharjah Biennial wraps up its ninth edition, which received visitors from all around the world including Museum groups, art critics, artists, art organisations, curators, collectors and the general public. Over 21,000 visitors visited the 9th edition of the biennial, surpassing last edition’s 11,500 visitors.

The Biennial’s program comprised the exhibition programme titled ‘Provisions for the Future’ curated by Isabel Carlos, and the performance and film programme ‘Past of the Coming Days’ curated by Tarek Abou El Fetouh. The Art and heritage areas in Sharjah were offered to artists for context-specific work, and other SB9 activities took place across a wide range of venues including the Sharjah Art Museum, the Collections Museum, and the Sharjah Museum for Contemporary Arab Art.

As well as exhibiting works by more than 80 artists from around the world, there were a number of events and programmes designed to support and nurture creativity for local and visiting participants. These included the March Meeting, which brought together a group of art professionals and directors from around the Arab world and beyond for an annual meeting in Sharjah, to connect, share ideas and expertise, network and collaborate on future projects. The programme also included, the Curators Workshop which was a week-long series of seminars/workshops for emerging contemporary art curators from the Middle East region, it brought 24 curators from across the region, and was in collaboration with Tate and the International Curators Forum.

In addition to the programmes, Sharjah Biennial 9 reaffirmed its commitment to providing full and comprehensive resources and documentation of its multi-layered activity, with various publications, such as: Provisions, catalogue of the exhibition in collaboration with Bidoun Magazine, Past of the Coming Days, catalogue of the film and performance programme, SB8 2, follow up on Sharjah Biennial 8 first catalogue, The March Meeting, which features input from leading curators, artists and critics, as well as transcripts from 2008′s edition of the March Meeting debates and symposia, Bereft Beirut Architecture of the Forsaken and Map of the Derelict, A collaboration between photographer Ziad Antar and writer Rasha Salti, the book charts the visible effects of civil war on Beirut’s urban landscape, through photography and text.

Additional Information can be found on

For inquiries, please contact
Mariam W. Al Dabbagh – Head of Communications – Sharjah Art Foundation
mariam [​at​]

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