What to see at Sharjah Art Foundation's spring 2022 programme

The foundation will present five major solo shows by artists from the Middle East, South Asia and West Africa

A performance by artist Tarek Atoui at Sharjah Art Foundation's Calligraphy Square. Photo: Sharjah Art Foundation
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For its spring 2022 programme, Sharjah Art Foundation promises to take viewers places. Among them are the Arabian Sea, with Mumbai artist studio CAMP’s documentary From to Gulf to Gulf (2013), and Ghana, as images by photographer Gerald Annan-Forson during the country’s revolution in the late 1970s will be the focus of a new solo show.

In addition, visions of the Algerian War and the Lebanese Civil War will be seen through the works of painter Aref El Rayess at Sharjah Art Museum, while Lawrence Abu Hamdan will bring the sounds of Lebanon’s skies, in parts dominated by Israeli fighter planes and drones, in his audiovisual essay and performance Daght Jawi.

Beginning Saturday, Sharjah Art Foundation will open five major exhibitions, specifically solo shows by contemporary artists from the Middle East and South Asia, and will also host the 14th annual March Meeting, themed The Afterlives of the Postcolonial.

Aref El Rayess

Working with the Sharjah Art Museum, the foundation will present more than 50 years of work by El Rayess, a self-taught artist from Lebanon whose practice extended across tapestry, sculpture and painting.

In this exhibition, the artist’s works will be brought together to convey his importance as an Arab modernist, tracing the influence of his travels to West Africa, Europe and the US in his work.

The show runs from February 26 to August 7 at Sharjah Art Museum

Lawrence Abu Hamdan: The Sonic Image

A handout photo of London-based artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan at The Armory Show 2015 in New York, USA (Roberto Chamorro / The Armory Show) *** Local Caption ***  rv14mr-armory-show06.jpg

Known for his investigations of and using sound, Turner Prize winner Abu Hamdan takes the experience of listening to another dimension, one where participants can explore complex social and political planes of today’s world.

Opening on March 4, The Sonic Image, curated by Omar Kholeif, marks a major institutional solo for the artist. In the vein of his previous works, including his well-known project Saydnaya (The Missing 19db), in which he reconstructs the abuse inflicted on prisoners in the Saydnaya prison outside of Damascus through sound, the show will present new iterations of his audiovisual works.

As part of the Sharjah exhibition, the foundation will also unveil two new works by the artist, namely a new commission Air Conditioning (2022) and a performance at Sharjah’s brutalist building The Flying Saucer titled Daght Jawi (2021-2022) on March 6.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan: The Sonic Image will run from March 4 to July 4 at Al Mureijah Square

CAMP: Passages through Passages

Indian artists' studio CAMP's documentary 'From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf' (2013) will be on view at Sharjah Art Foundation this March. Photo: CAMP

Shaina Anand and Ashok Sukumaran’s artist collective CAMP produces works that break convention, including their documentary film From Gulf to Gulf (2013), which focused on the lives of sailors from India journeying the Arabia Sea. Created over four years, the film was made with the help of the subjects as they recorded themselves on cameras and mobile phones to document their working lives.

In the exhibition Passages through Passages, Sharjah Art Foundation will present CAMP’s works from 2006 to 2020, encompassing video and audio works and archives, along with explorations of CAMP’s research methods.

A video project, which shares the name of the show, will also be on view. In it, the artists look at the road networks of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and the Maldives to investigate the complex web of regional politics between the countries, as well as the topics of energy, money and climate change.

CAMP: Passages through Passages is on view from March 4 to July 4 at Bait Al Serkal, Arts Square

Khalil Rabah: What is not

A work by Khalil Rabah at Desert X AlUla 2022 in Saudi Arabia. Photo: Lance Gerber.

In his work, Khalil Rabah weaves fictional histories in order to reflect on the systems and institutions that exist in our world today. The Jerusalem-born artist, who now lives in Ramallah, considers issues of displacement and politics in various ways, from paintings and sculpture to installation.

For his Sharjah show, Rabah will present a new work commissioned by the foundation along with ongoing projects, such as his Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind, where he develops a fictional museum to critique the role of institutions and reflect on the ecological destruction caused by the Israeli occupation in Palestine.

In the show, the artist attempts to raise questions around how cultural institutions and museums can effectively take on concerns around displacement.

Khalil Rabah: What is not will run from March 4 to July 4 at Al Mureijah Square.

Gerald Annan-Forson: Revolution and Image-making in Postcolonial Ghana (1979-1985)

The first retrospective of Ghanaian photographer Annan-Forson opens on March 7 in collaboration with Sharjah’s The Africa Institute. Born in 1947 in London and now living in Accra, Annan-Forson worked as a freelance photographer in the Ghanaian capital in the 1970s. In this period, he captured the revolution in 1979 in Ghana, when a military coup d’etat resulted in the leadership of Jerry John Rawlings.

Showcasing Annan-Forson’s image of Accra from 1979 to 1985, the show paints a picture of post-colonial Ghana as it navigates the sphere of independence. In the photographer’s visuals, he captures daily life, from funerals to cultural events, and key historical moments, including coups and trials.

As part the March Meeting, Annan-Forson will host an artist-led tour of the exhibition on March 7.

Gerald Annan-Forson: Revolution and Image-making in Postcolonial Ghana (1979-1985) will be on view from March 7 to July 7 at Al Hamriyah Studios

Updated: February 26, 2022, 4:41 AM