Coronavirus: Sharjah Museums, Sharjah Art Foundation closes venues, shows

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The Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA) is closing its museums and current shows from Monday (March 16-31).

In a message to the media, the Authority, which links and oversees 16 museums across Sharjah that cover widely varied fields, including Islamic art and culture, archaeology, heritage, science, marine life, as well as the history of the Emirates and the region, said the decision was a preventive measure.

The Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) also informed that its galleries, Sharjah Art Shops, and the regional art centers and other spaces, will be temporarily closed to the public beginning Monday and remain closed until further notice.

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The scheduled upcoming exhibitions will also be postponed, according to the SAF press team. The exhibitions ‘Art in the Age of Anxiety,’ ‘Tarek Atoui: Cycles in 11’, and ‘Zarina Bhimji: Black Pocket’ were to open from March 21.

“We will carefully monitor further developments and keep you updated in the coming weeks,” the press team said.

Earlier on Thursday, Hoor Al Qasimi, SAF President and Director, had stated that SAF has canceled its annual March Meeting (MM 2020) scheduled to be held from 21 to March 23, 2020, until further notice.

The March Meeting, which sets the agenda for the Sharjah Biennial, is a significant event on the international art calendar where curators, scholars, filmmakers, writers, and practitioners discuss upcoming themes related to the Biennial.

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Leading up to the 30th anniversary of the Sharjah Biennial in 2021, this year’s theme for the March meeting was ‘Unravelling the Present,’ bringing together former Biennial curators, participants, and interlocutors as well as art historians and critics to discuss the role of the Biennial as a catalyst for critical dialogue and transnational exchange.

Late Hassan Sharif’s works tour Europe

Meanwhile, in a piece of good news for art aficionados in the UAE, Gulf and The Middle East and elsewhere, SAF has launched the first major retrospective in Europe of late pioneering Emirati artist Hassan Sharif in Europe.

The exhibition titled ‘Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist’ opened on February 29, 2020, and will be on view till May 3, 2020, at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin.

Coronavirus: Sharjah Museums, Sharjah Art Foundation closes venues, shows
Coronavirus: Sharjah Museums, Sharjah Art Foundation closes venues, shows

After its presentation in Berlin, ‘I Am The Single Work Artist’ will travel to Malmö Konsthall, Malmö, Sweden, from September 18, 2020, to January 14, 2021.

Curated by SAF Director Hoor Al Qasimi, the exhibition was the largest ever staged at the foundation and was first presented in 2017-18, and traced the late artist’s career from the early 1970s to 2016, who pioneered conceptual art and experimental practice in the Middle East.

The present show comprising 160 works unveils the vast repertoire of Sharif ‘s work and his lasting influence on the region’s art and culture as an educator, critic, and practitioner who invented new ways of working with mundane everyday mass production materials.

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