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Mar 10 2021

March Meeting 2021 to Examine Evolution of Sharjah Biennial and Future of Biennial Model through Online and On-site Program

by ArtAsiaPacific

*In partnership with Sharjah Art Foundation

March Meeting 2021 visual. Image adapted from MOHAMMED KAZEM’s Autobiography 4 (1997). Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation.

March Meeting 2021 (MM 2021), the Sharjah Art Foundation’s annual convening of artists, curators, and art practitioners to explore critical issues in contemporary art, runs in an expanded ten-day online and on-site program from March 12 to 21, 2021. MM 2021: “Unravelling the Present” sets the stage for Sharjah Biennial 15: “Thinking Historically in the Present,” which was conceived by the late Okwui Enwezor (1963–2019). The forthcoming exhibition is curated by SAF Director Hoor Al Qasimi in conjunction with the Sharjah Biennial 15 (SB15) Working Group and Advisory Committee and opens in spring 2022. 

MM 2021 explores the past 30 years of the Sharjah Biennial as an initiative and a model for disrupting the power of artistic monolingualism and as a horizon for developing another theoretical space for thinking historically in the present. “Unravelling the Present” brings together former Sharjah Biennial curators, artistic directors, and artists, as well as art historians and critics, to consider the role, place, and impact of the Sharjah Biennial in the region and the global contemporary art scene at large. MM 2021 also explores the evolution of the Sharjah Biennial, focusing on its shift away from traditional modes of curating and displaying art by activating non-institutional spaces, moving to non-geographic models of representation, as well as the development of a year-round program enabled by the establishment of Sharjah Art Foundation. 

MM 2021 presents panels and keynotes featuring more than 50 speakers and participants across ten days, including:

  • Roundtables examining the evolution of the Sharjah Biennial featuring SAF Director Hoor Al Qasimi, artist John Akomfrah, Darat Al Funun Founder Suha Shoman, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art curator Eungie Joo.
  • Lectures on a number of contemporary issues such as decolonizing the architecture exhibition, presented by RCA School of Architecture Dean Adrian Lahoud, and on restitution in the art industry, presented by Princeton University Professor Chika Okeke-Agulu.
  • A discussion of artmaking as a form of civic engagement led by The Africa Institute Director and Cornell University Goldwin Smith Professor Salah M. Hassan with art critic and curator Geeta Kapurand artist Zarina Bhimji.
  • An exploration of curating in times of crisis with Ashkal Alwan Founding Director Christine Tohme and NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore Founding Director Ute Meta Bauer
  • An examination of biennials’ relationship to the nation-state in the time of globalization with Castello di Rivoli Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Centre Pompidou Deputy Director Catherine David, and curator Gabi Ngcobo. 
  • Presentations of commissioned essays on the subject of biennials selected from an open call by the SB15 Working Group, including Murtaza Vali’s “Lost Horizons” and Sadia Shirazi’s “Against Art History.”  
In addition to expansive online offerings, MM 2021 will also feature on-location screenings of the critically acclaimed films The Man Who Sold His Skin (2020) and Drowning Letters (2020) in the outdoor Mirage City Cinema.

The complete list of MM 2021 participants, the full schedule of programs, and a link to register is available here

How to attend March Meeting 2021

MM 2021 is free to attend and is open to all; however prior booking is required. 

To join the online talks program, pre-register on the MM 2021 virtual platform here

To attend the on-site events at the Foundation’s venues and spaces, book here.

On View at Sharjah Art Foundation in March 2021

Coinciding with MM 2021, the exhibitions “Rayyane Tabet: Exquisite Corpse,”curated by SAF Senior Curator Ryan Inouye, and “Unsettled Objects,” curated by SAF Director of Collections and Senior Curator Omar Kholeif, will open on March 12, 2021. “Zarina Bhimji: Black Pocket” and “Tarek Atoui: Cycles in 11,” both curated by SAF Director Hoor Al Qasimi, will also remain on view through April 10, 2021. Special curator and artist-led tours of the exhibitions will take place throughout MM 2021. Additional information on all spring 2021 exhibitions is available here.

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