Sharjah Art Foundation’s March Meeting to examine legacies of colonialism

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Sharjah Art Foundation announced details of the schedule for March Meeting 2022, the Foundation’s annual program that convenes artists, curators, scholars, and art practitioners for panels, lectures and performances exploring critical issues in contemporary art.

Taking place from March 5 through March 7, 2022, ‘March Meeting 2022: The Afterlives of the Postcolonial’ will examine the legacies of colonialism and the contemporary impacts of related issues on cultural, aesthetic, and artistic practices around the world.

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The 2022 edition expands upon last year’s March Meeting ‘Unraveling the Present,’ both of which engage with the framework of ‘Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present,’ conceived by the late Okwui Enwezor (1963–2019) and curated by SAF President and Director Hoor Al Qasimi, which opens in February 2023.

Drawing upon Enwezor’s concept of the “Postcolonial Constellation,” March Meeting 2022 will consider contemporary art and issues through the lens of postcolonialism, the critical study of the historical, social, and cultural legacies of colonialism and imperialism.

From this perspective, participants will analyze current global issues such as racism, settler colonialism, apartheid, new imperial wars, social movements including Black Lives Matter, Indigenous rights, climate change, and the restitution and repatriation of looted artefacts.

The program will also explore theoretical frameworks such as intersectionality, gendered identities, coloniality, and decoloniality.
To discuss the “afterlives” of the postcolonial, March Meeting will convene key voices in art and academia whose work reflects discourses, practices, theories, and critical perspectives derived from postcolonialism and focused on the late 20th- and early 21st-century world and its present and future challenges.

“We look forward to expanding upon the prominent themes and complex conversations developed during March Meeting’s 2021 and 2022 editions –- as we thoroughly explore the ‘postcolonial’ and its impact around the world in advance of Sharjah Biennial 15,” said Hoor Al Qasimi, SAF President and Director and SB15 Curator.

“We aim to honor Enwezor’s legacy and scholarship through each major event, bringing together ideas of the past, present and future, analyzing how our histories intertwine, while emphasizing the importance of supporting contemporary culture outside of Western models by presenting and producing art and discourse that is responsive to our times.”

Featuring more than 40 speakers spread across three days, March Meeting 2022 will offer 12 sessions, including panel discussions and keynote addresses.

Some of the highlights include a keynote conversation between Angela Davis (Activist, scholar, and author) and Manthia Diawara (Professor at New York University and filmmaker); and an exploration of the scholarship surrounding the restitution and repatriation of looted cultural artifacts with Chika Okeke-Agulu (Director, Program in African Studies and Professor, Art and Archaeology and African American Studies, Princeton University) and Ngaire Blankenberg (Director, Smithsonian Museum of African Art), among others.

There will be a panel discussion on structural inequalities caused by settler colonialism, segregation, and apartheid, featuring artist Khalil Rabah, Noura Erakat (Human rights attorney and Associate Professor, Africana Studies and the Program in Criminal Justice, Rutgers University), and Premesh Lalu (Professor, History, The Africa Institute).

There will also be a critical examination of the paradox of the celebration of global cultural talent and exchange and the rise of anti-immigration policies in Europe and North America, as unpacked by Ayesha Hameed (artist and Senior Lecturer, Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths College, University of London), Zahid Chaudhary (Associate Professor, Department of English, Princeton University) as well as artists Bouchra Khalili and Rachid Koraichi.

March Meeting 2022 will also feature film screenings and a new, site-specific performance by Lawrence Abu Hamdan.

The event coincides with the opening of several exhibitions, including solo exhibitions of work by Abu Hamdan, Khalil Rabah and CAMP, all opening on March 4, as well as a retrospective of work by Gerald Annan-Forson, organized in collaboration with The Africa Institute, opening on March 7.

Also on view will be a retrospective for late Lebanese painter and sculptor Aref El Rayess, in collaboration with Sharjah Museums Authority and presented at Sharjah Art Museum.

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