Happening every two years and presenting some of the most cutting edge contemporary art from around the world, Sharjah Biennial attracts serious art institutions and professionals from across the field to the cultural emirate. The opening programme runs from Friday to Tuesday and includes the annual March Meeting, a platform for discussion and performance. Here are some key exhibitions not to miss.
Step by Step. A film by Ossama Mohammed, followed by Q&A
This 25-minute film made in 1979 is a frightening and insightful portrait of how the Baath regime in Syria transformed generations of peasants into citizen-soldiers. The film, at 3pm, illustrates the extent to which individuals are subjected to endure suppression, until they themselves submit to violence.
Go on an artist tour
Several of the artists chosen to have their work exhibited as part of Sharjah Biennial will be on hand at the opening weekend. Don’t miss the chance to join them leading tours of the biennial, starting from Arts Square, Sharjah art district, at 4.30pm.
SB13: Interlocutors Conversation
Lara Khaldi, Zeynep Öz, Kader Attia and Christine Tohmé
One of the key concepts of the Sharjah Biennial is to present the event in four parts under the guidance of four artists. Each received a specific theme: water, earth, crops and culinary. Each brief will be explored in a different location over the course of a year. Attend the 90-minute conversation at 10.30am to find out more about the ongoing project, with all four artists coming together for the first time to discuss their varying outlooks.
Climavore Lunch performance by Cooking Sections
Cooking Sections is a duo consisting of artists Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe, based in London. They use art and architecture to explore the systems that organise the world through food. Climavore is a performance that proposes the idea of a temporary diet that reacts to our climate-changing planet as a way to care about different ecologies and landscapes. Food will be served as part of the performance, from 1-2.30pm.
Saturday and Sunday
The Necessity of Infinity Performance by Raqs Media Collective
The Delhi-based trio Raqs Media Collective are Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta. They have been making thoughtful and provocative work since the mid-1990s. They are renowned for their thought-provoking commentary about the state of contemporary India and for postmodern readings of sacred Hindu texts. This performance, based on 10th-century correspondence between Al Biruni and Ibn Sina, will be done in English, Arabic and Urdu over the course of the opening week, at 12pm and 3pm on Saturday and 2.30pm on Sunday.
Saturday to Tuesday
Boat trip to Al Hamriyah Studios
Explore Sharjah Art Foundation’s new venue Al Hamriyah Studios. Located across the water from Al Zahra Mosque on the Corniche, the space will serve as an exhibition spot for some key artworks from the biennial. Trips run from 3pm to 6pm on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and from 12pm to 2pm on Tuesday.