Sharjah Art Foundation Offers 200K in Grants To Artists
By Ashlyn Chak
On May 19, the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF)’s biannual Production Programme announced the ten artists selected for its seventh grant cycle. The awardees will collectively receive USD 200,000 to be used towards the production of new works.
Artists were invited via an international open call to propose projects that expand the “understanding of what art is and how it can be experienced.” Ten grantees were chosen this year instead of the maximum number of six as in the previous editions—a decision made by the Foundation and the jury in March, in consideration of the economic hardships faced by many art practitioners due to Covid-19.
All ten grant recipients have shown an aptitude for cultural research. Among them, Jerusalem-based artists Jumana Emil Abboud and Noor Abuarafeh both explore history through their works. Abboud reflects on the Palestinian cultural landscape and the themes of loss and resilience, while Abuarafeh’s text-based practice questions how history is documented and perceived. Meanwhile, the cinema research and production collective Subversive Film, formed by Nick Denes, Reem Shilleh, and Mohanad Yaqubi, focus on preserving historic films related to Palestine.
Based out of Cairo are filmmaker and writer Philip Rizk, who turns documented realities into imaginary realms; artist Mohamed Abdelkarim, who explores the world of power and politics by weaving together personal and historical narratives; and multimedia artist Basma al-Sharif who studies human conditions in changing geopolitical environments to uncover the flaws in recorded history.
Istanbul-based Köken Ergun showcases minority communities and their rituals through videos and installations, while Tripoli and London-based artist and curator Moad Musbahi examines the wider post-colonial Arab world by engaging with architecture, video, and writing.
Additionally, Moroccan multidisciplinary artist Abdessamad El Montassir explores the influence of trauma on visceral narratives and behaviors, while the all-female Pakistani artist group Pak Khawateen Painting Club probes megastructures—such as hydropower dams—to highlight transnational issues and challenge the masculine rubric of colonial modernity.
Since its launch alongside Sharjah Biennial 9 in 2009, the Production Programme grant, which has been offered biannually since 2010, is one of SAF’s core initiatives for encouraging and realizing artistic innovation in the region. The 2020 jury is comprised of art historian and artist Iftikhar Dadi; curator Lara Khaldi; and historian, art critic, and curator Agustín Pérez Rubio.
Ashlyn Chak is an editorial intern of ArtAsiaPacific.
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