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Sharjah Art Foundation announces exciting autumn season of exhibitions

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The autumn season at Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) features major group exhibitions and international collaborations and initiatives spanning contemporary art, photography, film, and publishing.

Continuing the Foundation’s commitment to acting as a catalyst for collaboration and exchange, highlights of the program include one of the first major group exhibitions exploring pop art in the South Asian context, a significant exhibition of works from the Foundation's collection featuring artists from multiple diasporas at Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, and a collaboration with Serpentine on a solo exhibition of pioneering Sudanese painter Kamala Ibrahim Ishag.

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‘Pop South Asia,’ a major survey being held from September 2 to December 11, 2022, is one of the first attempts to provide a substantial study and framing of South Asian pop art, bringing together more than 100 works of painting, prints, sculpture, video, and installation from the mid-twentieth century to today.

Featuring approximately 40 artists from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the diaspora, the exhibition moves across multiple themes, spanning religious and folk practices to cinema and digital media, to expand the conventional understanding of pop art beyond the Western perspective and engage with the specific complexities of the ‘popular’ in South Asia.

Co-organized with the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, the exhibition makes its debut at the Foundation and will travel to the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi.

This exhibition at Al Mureijah Art Spaces (Gallery 1, 2, 3 and 6) is curated by Iftikhar Dadi (Artist and Professor at Cornell University) and Roobina Karode (Director and Chief Curator, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art).

“Watch and Chill 2:0: Streaming Senses’ is a subscription-based streaming platform and in-person screening programme organized by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), Korea, in partnership with Sharjah Art Foundation and ArkDes, the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design. The project allows audiences worldwide to freely access a selection of moving-image artworks from the collections of these three major international institutions, while offering local audiences the opportunity to view a range of rarely seen media-based artworks on site.

‘Streaming Senses’ online platform includes 22 artworks, with six selected by the Foundation, which respond to the relationship between technology and human perception, venturing beyond the screen to evoke various forms of synaesthesia.

The presentation speaks to what ‘sensing’ might mean in the digital era through four sub-themes: ‘Optical Tactility’, ‘Calibrated Projection’, ‘Trance, Cross, Move’ and ‘Bits of the Spirit’.
The works began streaming on the Watch and Chill website from June 10, with subtitles in Korean, English and Arabic; a new work will be released each week.

Sharjah Art Foundation’s onsite presentation at Gallery 5, Al Mureijah Art Spaces, will feature screenings of video works from the Foundation’s collection with accompanying public programs.

This exhibition is curated by Jihoi Lee (Curator of Architecture, Installation and Sculpture, MMCA), Hoor Al Qasimi (Director of Sharjah Art Foundation), and James Taylor-Foster (Curator of Contemporary Architecture and Design, ArkDes).

International presentations

The work of pioneering Sudanese artist Kamala Ibrahim Ishag (b. 1937) is presented in a major exhibition organized by Serpentine in London, and Sharjah Art Foundation in collaboration with the Africa Institute, Sharjah.

The exhibition builds on the artist’s first major retrospective organized by Sharjah Art Foundation in 2016-2017.

Ishag has forged a unique and expansive practice which is not defined by a singular style or movement. Most noted is her establishment of the Crystalist school, along with a number of her students, in the mid-1970s that contributed to the conceptual turn in Sudanese contemporary art practices. Her work embraces and expresses different landscapes, histories, and subjects in relation to how she has experienced them.

The exhibition celebrates the breadth and importance of her work and offers London audiences insights into her worlds.

The exhibition features new paintings created in Ishag’s Khartoum studio that have previously never been presented, with works spanning from the 1960s to today.

Alongside large-scale canvases and works on paper, the exhibition includes Ishag’s paintings on different surfaces such as calabashes, screens, and leather drums. A selection of the artist’s graphic design practice and archive offers context into her prolific practice and experiences of living and working in Sudan for the majority of her career.

This exhibition is curated by Hoor Al Qasimi (Director, Sharjah Art Foundation), Salah M. Hassan (Director, The Africa Institute, and Professor at Cornell University), and Melissa Blanchflower (Curator Exhibitions and Public Art), with Sarah Hamed (Assistant Curator Serpentine).

‘In the Heart of Another Country’

Drawing on art from the collection of Sharjah Art Foundation, ‘In the Heart of Another Country: The Diasporic Imagination in the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection’ explores the concept of home – of longing and belonging by artists who hail from multiple diasporas.

The exhibition being held at Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany, from October 28, 2022 to March 12, 2023, explores the ways that physical movement – how mobility across geographies – has shaped and contoured the frame of global art today.

The artists herein have traversed migratory routes from South and West Asia, through Africa and the Caribbean. Many now live in dispersed sites, far from where they first believed that they belonged. ‘In the Heart of Another Country ‘showcases the work of more than 60 artists through over 140 artworks in all media, many of which have rarely, if ever, been seen outside of their original context.

Recently restored installations are presented alongside contemporary acquisitions, which narrate a communal story of kinship amongst artists – one often developed against a backdrop of political turmoil and social unrest.

‘In the Heart of Another Country’ embodies the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection’s goal to present art that posits East-East and South-South alliances, forging a meeting point – a connective tissue that nurtures a polyphonous and inclusive art history.

The exhibition is organized by Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, and Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE, and is curated by Dr Omar Kholeif, Director of Collections and Senior Curator, Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE.

Hrair Sarkissian

Following its debut at Sharjah Art Foundation in 2021, Hrair Sarkissian’s first mid-career survey titled ‘Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence’ travels to Bonnefanten in its most expansive presentation to date.

The exhibition being held from November 27, 2022 – 14 May 14, 2023, includes the SAF-commissioned installation ‘Last Seen (2018-2021) and presents the premiere of a major two-channel film commission entitled ‘Sweet and Sour’ (2022).

Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence, 2021. Installation view: Sharjah Art Foundation, 2021. (Photo: Shanavas Jamaluddin)
Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence, 2021. Installation view: Sharjah Art Foundation, 2021. (Photo: Shanavas Jamaluddin)



The large-scale photographs of Syrian-Armenian artist Sarkissian are developed using a large format camera – a life-long practice first developed in his father’s photo studio in Damascus. Acting simultaneously as an archaeologist and storyteller, Sarkissian’s works in photography, sound, film, and installation conjure landscapes that uncover hidden histories which are often concealed from official records.

The exhibition is curated by Dr. Omar Kholeif (Director of Collections and Senior Curator, Sharjah Art Foundation); Dr. Theodor Ringborg (Artistic Director, Bonniers Konsthall); and Stijn Huijts (Artistic Director, Bonnefanten).

Available at the exhibition is Sarkissian’s first major monograph, co-edited and co-authored by Kholeif, with contributions from Hoor Al Qasimi, Marianne Hirsch, Stijn Huijts, Hannah Feldman, Vali Mahlouji, Todd Reisz, as well as co-editor Dr. Theodor Ringborg.

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