Sharjah's Focal Point: First artists' book fair comes to emirate

Sharjah Art Foundation's fair will be a place for galleries and artists to exhibit their wares

An aerial view of the Sharjah Art Foundation, which will host a new artists' book fair next month.
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The Sharjah Art Foundation is launching Focal Point, a new book fair devoted to the self-published, independent, critical, bonkers, and novel projects that go under the name of artists’ book publishing.

The fair will take place from the 8th to 10th November in the courtyard of the 19th century Bait Obaid Al Shamsi. It will be made up of book-selling stalls, talks, screenings, book launches, workshops and studio projects.

Artists’ publishing has morphed over the last few decades from typical text-and-image documentation of artistic works to a new medium for creative expression. A number of artists’ book fairs have popped up in art institutions to follow these new developments. This will be the first held in the UAE.

A focus for the inaugural year will be on Asia. Sharjah Art Foundation has collaborate with the Asia Art Archive, the pioneering Hong Kong organisation, to produce the symposium It Begins with a Story: Artists, Writers, and Periodicals in Asia.


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The fair will be comprised of six different sections, with publishers from a variety of regions: from the magazine Chimurenga in South Africa, to the publishers Terremoto from Colombia. The veteran independent publisher Lars Mueller arrives from Zurich, and Book Works, who facilitate bespoke artists' publishing projects and support new forms of artistic writing, from London.

A number of artists who work in books will also show off their projects, such as Tulip Hazbar, Ayman Zedani, and Areej Kaoud.

UAE museums and galleries will offer catalogues and other publications. Participating institutions include Sharjah Museums, the Emirates Fine Arts Society, Art Jameel, Warehouse 421, and Maraya Art Centre.

The fair is free and open to the public.

Focal Point takes place from 8–10 November 2018 at Bait Obaid Al Shamsi, Arts Square, Sharjah