Sharjah Art Foundation announces autumn 2020 programme

The foundation's public programme includes major exhibitions and the return of annual events such as Sharjah Film Platform and Focal Point

A visitor looking at an art installation at Sharjapan 2019. Leslie Pableo / The National
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Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) announced its autumn 2020 programme, which includes two new major solo exhibitions by Tarek Atoui and Zarina Bhimji, the reopening of the Flying Saucer building in downtown Sharjah, the third iteration of Sharjapan, the return of the Sharjah Film Program (SFP) and Focal Point.

Tarek Atoui: Cycles in 11

The exhibition Cycles in 11 marks a decade-long collaboration between Lebanese artist Tarek Atoui and SAF. Opening on Saturday, September 19, the show features works that the artist has developed over the last 11 years, representing the culmination of Atoui’s exploration of music, composition and performance.

Last month, the artist was awarded the Suzanne Deal Booth / Flag Art Foundation Prize, which included a monetary prize of Dh735,000.

Cycles in 11 offers audiences opportunities to learn about instrument-making, compositional structure and musical collaboration. It also includes an international residency programme that extends into 2022 and allows musicians to experiment and produce new work together.

Performance of Tarek Atoui's 'Within' at the Sharjah Biennial 11. Sharjah Art Foundation
Performance of Tarek Atoui's 'Within' at the Sharjah Biennial 11. Sharjah Art Foundation

During the exhibition, the heritage house Bait Al Serkal, located in one of the oldest areas in the city of Sharjah, will serve as a sound lab and a performance space. Another sound lab will also be set up in Kalba, close to the natural reserves and archaeological sites in the area.

Tarek Atoui: Cycles in 11 runs until April 10, 2021

Lindsay Seers and Keith Sargent: Nowhere Less Now3

On Saturday, September 26, Sharjah's Flying Saucer building, which has undergone a two-year renovation led by SAF, will reopen.

The installation Nowhere Less Now3 by Lindsay Seers and Keith Sargent will be on view as part of the reopening. The futuristic structure is based on an earlier work by Seers and Sargent titled Nowhere Less Now, which tackles the legacy of British colonialism. First shown at the Tin Tabernacle in London, it featured a film played on one round screen and another spherical screen.

The Flying Saucer, Sharjah, UAE, 2020. Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation
The Flying Saucer, Sharjah, UAE, 2020. Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation

The Sharjah iteration of the work differs from the previous episodes as the artist incorporates the building’s architectural elements into the narrative, which centres an alien tourist’s landing on Earth and its curiosity about humans.

Nowhere Less Now3 on view until December 26

Zarina Bhimji: Black Pocket

Born in Uganda with South Asian roots, artist Zarina Bhimji is a Turner Prize nominee currently living in London. The exhibition Black Pocket is a major survey into Bhimji’s seminal works spanning film, photography and installation, made during her 30-year career.

The show includes the artist's early exploration into forms of knowledge that have been cast aside by the established systems. Her work is known for its meticulous research and reconnaissance trips that span weeks. In her film works Out of Blue (2002), Yellow Patch (2011) and Jangbar (2015), for example, she shows images across multiple locations – Uganda, the United Kingdom, India, Zanzibar and Kenya, among others – to consider how we can understand ourselves at different points in time.

Zarina Bhimji: Black Pocket runs until April 10, 2021

Sharjah Film Platform (SFP)

The third year of SFP will take place from Saturday, November 14 to Saturday, November 21. It features more than 60 local, regional and international short and feature-length narrative, documentary and experimental films, which will be screened online and at SAF’s open-air Mirage City Cinema.

The programme will includes the premiere of In the Time of Revolution by Soha Shukayr, which was supported by SAF's Short Film Production Grant. The programme will also include talks and workshops led by established filmmakers.

Sharjah Film Platform takes place from Saturday, November 14 to Saturday, November 21

Sharjapan 3 – Remain Calm: Tranquility, Solitude and Connectivity in Japanese Architecture

Opening on Friday, November 27, Remain Calm is the third exhibition in Sharjapan’s four-year series, which examines modern and contemporary architecture in Japan.

Curator Yuko Hasegawa at Sharjapan 2019. Leslie Pableo / The National
Curator Yuko Hasegawa at Sharjapan 2019. Leslie Pableo / The National

Curated by Yuko Hasegawa, the latest iteration includes drawings, photographs and models about major architectural works from the early-20th century. Sharjapan 3 also features the work of architects such as Koji Fujii, Kazuo Shinohara, Junya Ishigami, Maki Onishi, Kazuyo Sejima and Toyo Ito, among others.

Sharjapan 3 – Remain Calm will run until February 6, 2021

Focal Point 2020

SAF’s annual book fair Focal Point is in its third year, bringing together printed materials, artist books and products by publishers from across the region and the world.

Focal Point’s public programme will include talks, performances, screenings, book launches, open studios and themed educational workshops.

Specific dates for Focal Point 2020, as well as details on participating publishers and publishing houses, have not yet been announced.

More information can be found on