Jun 10 2019

Sharjah Art Foundation Appoints Omar Kholeif As Director Of Collections, Reveals Plans For New Space

by Cassie Liu

Omar Kholeif commenced his role as the Sharjah Art Foundation’s director of collections and senior curator in June. He will also oversee plans for the foundation’s new building, Jurainah Art Space. Photo by Eric T. White. Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation.

On June 6, Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) announced the appointment of curator and writer Omar Kholeif to the newly created position of director of collections and senior curator. Kholeif will oversee acquisitions, exhibitions and programming at SAF, as well as develop international partnerships to foster the foundation’s growth. SAF also revealed that Kholeif will work with SAF president and director Hoor Al Qasimi to lead the development of the foundation’s new Jurainah Art Space, slated to open in 2022.

Previously, Kholeif was a curator at London’s Whitechapel Gallery from 2014 to 2015 before joining the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA), where he served as the Manilow senior curator and director of global initiatives from 2015 to 2018. Working independently after his departure from MCA, he curated the SAF’s Sharjah Biennial 14 exhibition “Making New Time” (2019), and the Moscow-based V-A-C Foundation’s “Time, Forward!” (2019), an exhibition of newly commissioned works at V-A-C’s Venice space, coinciding with the 58th Venice Biennale.

In the same statement, SAF publicized plans for Jurainah Art Space, a new building in Sharjah that will house the foundation’s collection of over 1,000 modern and contemporary works. Designed by renowned architect Mona el-Mousfy, the multipurpose, 13,000-square-meter space will host regular exhibitions, symposia and public programs, and also include a bookstore, restaurant, and public courtyards. 

Al Qasimi remarked: “Sharjah Art Foundation—first through the Sharjah Biennial and now through a year-round series of exhibitions and programs—has been both a vital international advocate for contemporary artists from the region and a convener that has brought important artists from around the world to Sharjah for more than a decade. The appointment of Dr. Omar Kholeif and the development of Jurainah Arts Space together demonstrate the continuity of this work.”

Kholeif commenced his role this month.

Cassie Liu is an editorial intern of ArtAsiaPacific.

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David Zwirner ARNDT Silverlens Artspace