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  • May 16, 2024

Hoor Al Qasimi Named Artistic Director of Biennale of Sydney 2026

Portrait of HOOR AL QASIMI. Photo by Daniel Boud. Courtesy Biennale of Sydney.

On May 16, the Biennale of Sydney announced that Hoor Al Qasimi, the president and director of the Sharjah Art Foundation, will become artistic director of the 25th Biennale of Sydney, slated for March 7 to June 8, 2026. 

In 2009, Hoor Al Qasimi founded the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF), an independent art organization in the third-largest of the United Arab Emirates, and remains SAF’s president and director. She is also the president and director of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, as well as the artistic director of the sixth Aichi Triennale (scheduled for 2025)—the first non-Japanese curator to fill the role. She has been the director of Sharjah Biennial since 2002, and was appointed the president of the International Biennial Association in 2017, and currently serves as president of The Africa Institute at Sharjah’s Global Studies University.

Aside from overseeing major exhibitions at the Foundation, her notable curatorial projects include the UAE Pavilion at 56th Venice Biennale in 2015, the second Lahore Biennale in 2020, the exhibition “Kamala Ibrahim Ishag: State of Oneness” (2022–23) for London’s Serpentine Gallery, and “Dream Projects” at Tunisia’s Dream City Festival in 2023.

With a curatorial approach that emphasizes site history and multidisciplinary programming, Al Qasimi stated that instead of attracting international visitors to the Biennale of Sydney, her focus will be to present an “urgent” and engaging event for city residents: “Sydney has a multicultural community at its core, with people from different cultures from across the world choosing and calling this vibrant city as their home. I’m interested in exploring the multifaceted cultures and perspectives within this city . . . [and] bringing new voices to the Biennale.”

As artistic director, Al Qasimi will collaborate with local communities, artists, and academics to develop the biennale’s concept, details for which will released in 2025. 

Xinyi Ye is an editorial intern at ArtAsiaPacific. 

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