Sharjah Art Foundation opens its Autumn 2022 program with Pop South Asia show

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The autumn season at Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) opened on Wednesday with a major survey of modern and contemporary South Asian art titled ‘Pop South Asia: Artistic Explorations in the Popular,’ in association with the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi.

Featuring over 100 works by artists from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the diaspora, the exhibition will be on view at the Foundation from September 2 through December 11, 2022 at Gallery 1, 2, 3 and 6, Al Mureijah Art Spaces.

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Curated by Iftikhar Dadi, artist and John H. Boris Professor of the John H. Boris Program at Cornell University, and Robina Karodi, Director and Principal Curator of the Kiran Museum, the exhibition is scheduled to move later to New Delhi.

The ‘Pop South Asia’ exhibition weaves a multi-generational dialogue through more than 100 works by artists from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and deals with various articulated themes, to highlight on aesthetics of print, film, and digital media.

Continuing the Sharjah Art Foundation’s commitment to acting as a catalyst for collaboration and exchange, the other highlights of the program include a collaboration with Serpentine on a solo exhibition of pioneering Sudanese painter Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, and a significant exhibition of works from the Foundation's collection featuring artists from multiple diasporas at Deichtorhallen, Hamburg.

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag

The work of pioneering Sudanese artist Kamala Ibrahim Ishag (b. 1937) is presented in a major exhibition organized by Serpentine 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 being held at Serpentine South, London, UK, from October 7, 2022 – 29 January 29, 2023, 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 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 curated by Dr Omar Kholeif (SAF Director of Collections and Senior Curator) and is organized by Deichtorhallen, Hamburg and Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE.

‘Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence’

Following its debut at Sharjah Art Foundation in 2021, Hrair Sarkissian’s first mid-career survey travels to Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht, The Netherlands, in its most expansive presentation to date.

The exhibition from November 27, 2022 to 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).

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.

Read more: Hrair Sarkissian: Using photography to make visible the legacy of trauma

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