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Sharjah Art Foundation’s art book fair ‘Focal Point’ returns for third edition

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Sharjah Art Foundation is hosting the third edition of its annual art book fair December 16 to 19 December 2020.

“Focal Point” will offer a broad range of printed matter by artists, writers, scholars, and independent and established publishers from the MEASA (Middle East, Africa, South Asia) region and beyond.

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Visitors can browse and discover a wide range of artist books, zines, journals, prints, posters and other artistic production by UAE creatives as well as independent and established publishers based internationally.

Image courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation.
Image courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation.

These publications will be presented across a number of curated booths throughout the heritage house Bait Obaid Al Shamsi in the heart of Sharjah’s heritage area.

Families with children can join in on a number of exciting creative workshops and enjoy the live music performances by local bands that are running alongside the fair.

The fair, usually host to interdisciplinary art publishers and independent and alternative practices, has expanded its reach to include titles on art history, theory and criticism, many of which have been sourced through academic presses.

Focal Point 2020 will take place across four days instead of the usual three, with specific time slots allocated for visitors to safely browse the rich creative and academic trove on display.

The fair will showcase a wide variety of publishing practices across a number of sections, including SAF/EDIT, the Foundation’s own curated table; the UAE section, which features publications from galleries and art institutions in the Emirates; and independent displays representing publishers from the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and other parts of the world.

SAF Publications section

The fair will also present a number of new Foundation publications in the SAF Publications section, including the second edition of ‘Corniche,’ an annual anthology of work by illustrators and comic artists based in the UAE; ‘Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist’ (Hoor Al Qasimi, ed.), a major volume of critical new research into the practice of the pioneering Emirati artist; ‘Abdul Hay Mosallam Zarara’ (Ala Younis, ed.), a monograph on the Palestinian artist that includes extensive reproductions of his work and archives as well as personal memoirs; ‘Art in the Age of Anxiety’ (Omar Kholeif, ed.), an expansive reader that brings together the work of thought leaders in the field of image and internet culture; ‘Look for Me All Around You’ (Claire Tancons, ed.), the final volume of the Sharjah Biennial 14 three-volume set; and ‘March Meeting 2019: Beyond the Echo Chamber,’ a compilation of individual responses from four March Meeting 2019 correspondents.

Image courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation.
Image courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation.

On the first night of the fair, December 16, 2020, Sharjah Art Foundation will announce the winners of the second annual FOCAL POINT Publishing Grant (up to $30,000), which aims to further the Foundation’s mission to advance scholarly research and publish content that generates a more expansive understanding of the history of art in the region and its relationship with the wider world.

The 2020 edition of the grant will support art historical research projects that focus on global modernism in relation to artists, practices and theoretical content produced in the MEASA region during the post-war period.

The 2020 grant recipients will have the opportunity to present their work at future editions of the Focal Point Art Book Fair.

FOCAL POINT art book fair, 2019. Bait Obaid Al Shamsi. (Courtesy: Sharjah Art Foundation)
FOCAL POINT art book fair, 2019. Bait Obaid Al Shamsi. (Courtesy: Sharjah Art Foundation)


More details about the workshops and performances will be available on the SAF website. Workshop participation is free; however, prior registration is required.