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Sharjah Biennial 13, 2017

5 parts, October 2016 - October 2017

Exhibitions, programmes, projects in Sharjah, Beirut, Dakar, Ramallah, Istanbul

Main exhibition and programme in
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates:
12 March - 12 June 2017
Opening programme: 10 - 14 March

President and Director of the
Sharjah Art Foundation: Hoor Al Qasimi

Curator: Christine Tohmé

More than 60 participants

The first of the four Sharjah Biennial 13 off-site projects:

Vive l’Indépendance de l’Eau
[Long Live the Independence of Water]

8 – 9 January 2017
Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Salle Atelier UCAD II, Dakar, Senegal

SB13 curator Christine Tohmé has invited artist Kader Attia to be the interlocutor who researches and dialogues with the keyword ‘water’. Attia has conceived and organised a programme of workshops, symposiums and performances that theoretically and artistically explore different aspects of this keyword.
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Vive l’Indépendance de l’Eau


Mapping the Stages of SB13

Sharjah Biennial 13, Tamawuj, curated by Christine Tohmé will unfold in five parts from October 2016 through October 2017, encompassing exhibitions and a public programme in two acts in Sharjah and Beirut; a year-long educational programme in Sharjah; projects in Dakar, Ramallah, Istanbul and Beirut; and an online publishing platform.

October 15, 2016:
Launch of SB13 School, a year-long educational programme in Sharjah
Launch of a digital research platform titled chip-ship

January 8-9, 2017:
Vive l’Indépendance de l’Eau [Long Live the Independence of Water]
Off-site project in Dakar, Senegal. Interlocutor: Kader Attia

March 10 - 14, 2017:
Opening of Sharjah Biennial 13 Act I, featuring the SB13 exhibition and programme in Sharjah; exhibition runs through June 12, 2017

May 13, 2017:
Off-site project in Istanbul (around the theme of crops)

August 10, 2017:
Off-site project in Ramallah (around the theme of earth)

October 15, 2017:
Off-site project in Beirut (around the theme of culinary)

October 19, 2017:
Sharjah Biennial 13 Act II, culminating exhibitions and programmes in Beirut

By cultivating collaborations, infrastructures and strategies within Beirut, Dakar, Istanbul, Ramallah and Sharjah, Tamawuj will pose questions around, and propose answers to, the conditions for the possibility of an art world. In a region currently being invested with larger institutions and lesser infrastructures, SB13 will cross from the ideal to the material. Vital interventions will stretch the idea of the biennial in order to traverse rooted contexts, harnessing the agility and fragility of present informal networks.

Underway since the launch in October 2016 of SB13 School, a yearlong educational programme focusing on local infrastructures and empowering various communities in western, central and eastern Sharjah, and chip-ship, a web-based collaborative research platform with programmes running through October 2017, Tamawuj extends far beyond Act I in Sharjah (March 10–June 12, 2017). Tohme draws on Sharjah’s unique positioning in the region in order to expand the biennial through various nodes, inviting four "interlocutors" to create varied permutations of artistic conversation and production across four other sites: Dakar, Senegal; Ramallah, Palestine; Istanbul, Turkey; and Beirut, Lebanon.

These localities were selected not for their geopolitical attributes, but rather for the long-standing affiliations, as well as the common history and vision Tohme shares with the interlocutors. These four actors will each envision and conceive a different programme, rooted in their local context and engaging with a particular keyword, to which a body of researchers, artists and thinkers will also respond.

The thematic focus of SB13 is grounded in the four keywords water, crops, earth and culinary, which form the foundations of social interaction and exchange. Between January 8 and 9, 2017, artist Kader Attia will launch the first off-site project around water in Dakar, a workshop taking place at the Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD); curator Zeynep Oz will lead the Istanbul programme related to crops (May 13, 2017); curator Lara Khalidi will address the subject of earth in Ramallah (August 10, 2017); and Ashkal Alwan will organise the closing Act II of the biennial alongside a project around the keyword of the culinary, both in Beirut (October 15, 2017).

Just as the thematic keywords are porous and feed into one another, SB13 places researchers and interlocutors in conversation with one another, and with Sharjah. Its multi-city, multi-part programmes are envisaged as infrastructures to channel knowledge transmission and information sharing between artists, curators, editors, researchers and the general public. This fluidity of knowledge irrigates new, enduring terrains of collaboration and references the threefold meaning of Tamawuj: a rising and falling in waves; a flowing, swelling, surging or fluctuation; and a wavy, undulating appearance, outline or form. The talks, performance and film programmes will be released at a later stage.

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Sharjah Biennial opening week

Sharjah Biennial opening week programme in 2017 will begin with the professional preview on March 10, followed by the evening Opening Gala Dinner and Biennial Awards ceremony on March 11. The full schedule of events from March 10–14 will include performances, films, lectures, and the annual March Meeting, featuring presentations by artists, art professionals and institutions focused around the main curatorial framework of SB13.

March Meeting 2017 open call

In conjunction with SB13’s opening week, SAF will host the tenth annual March Meeting (March 10–14, 2017). SAF is pleased to announce an open call for participants to correspond to a series of talks, keynote lectures and performances.

SAF welcomes applications from artists, writers and researchers working on topics related to SB13’s conceptual framework. Interested parties should submit a text or image-based proposal related to their existing research or practice, alongside the completed application form, to marchmeeting(at)sharjahart.org by January 10, 2017.

To receive updates on the SB13 Programme, please email register(at)sharjahart.org

(From press information, December 2016.
Image: Mapping the Stages of SB13, by Nancy Naser Aldeen)



Sharjah Biennial is organised by Sharjah Art Foundation, which brings a broad range of contemporary art and cultural programmes to the communities of Sharjah, the UAE and the region.

Since 1993, Sharjah Biennial has commissioned, produced and presented large-scale public installations, performances and films, offering artists from the region and beyond an internationally recognised platform for exhibition and experimentation.

Sharjah Art Foundation
PO Box 19989
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Website / Email

Connect with Sharjah Art Foundation:
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Media contacts:

Sharjah Art Foundation: Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa
alyazeyah(at)sharjahart.org  | T +971 6 544 4113

FITZ & CO: Katrina Weber Ashour
kweber(at)fitzandco.com  | T +1 212 627 1653

Christine Tohmé

The four Interlocutors:
Artist Kader Attia; curators Lara Khaldi and Zeynep Oz; and the Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts, Ashkal Alwan

See also about Sharjah in UiU

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