Sharjah's annual art book fair Focal Point returns in December

Winners of the Focal Point publishing grant of $30,000 will be announced on the first day of the event

SHARJAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 23 SEPTEMBER 2020. The newly launched Sharjah Art Foundation space called the Flying Saucer building. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Alexandra Chaves. Section: Arts & Life.
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The third art book fair by the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF), Focal Point, will take place from December 16 to 19.

The annual event is a platform for printed matter by artists, writers, scholars, and independent and established publishers from the Middle East, as well as Africa and South Asia.

The highlight of the fair will be the announcement of the winners for the Focal Point publishing grant, which will reward $30,000 to art historical research projects that centre on the Middle East, Africa and South Asia regions. The 2020 edition focuses on projects that look at global modernism movements in the region during the post-war period, follow the First World War.

Launched last year, the grant aims to bolster scholarly research. The 2019 recipient was Ma3azef, an online music magazine dedicated to the critique and analysis of contemporary Arabic music. Through the grant, Ma3azef, which was launched in 2012, will produce a series of publications in collaboration with Beirut design studio SHFRA.

Focal Point will also feature an SAF Publications section, dedicated to the books produced by the foundation over the years. This includes the newly released Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist, edited by foundation president Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi. The book is a major volume of new research into the practice of the pioneering Emirati artist, for which SAF exhibited a retrospective that has travelled to Germany and Sweden.

Other publications will include Abdul Hay Mosallam Zarara, a monograph on the Palestinian artist; and Look For Me All Around You, the final volume of the Sharjah Biennial 14 three-volume set, edited by curator Claire Tancons.

Focal Point’s public programme will include music performances and themed educational workshops that are free and open to the public, though visitors must register online. Details of the full schedule will be made available on SAF’s website in the coming days.

More details on Focal Point can be found at