March 2019 Art Season Special

Art season is upon us here in Dubai and Sharjah, with a busy schedule extending to the entire month.

There are a lot of new exhibitions opening this month in both cities, plus there’s the 14th edition of Sharjah Biennial, so there’s a lot of art to see. The good news is that all the exhibitions will be on for a few more months and there is no need to feel rushed to see everything this month.

For this year, instead of highlighting top exhibitions to see, I decided to focus on the one off talks/events taking place this month.

March 7 and 8

Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber
Opening Day 1 and 2

Sharjah Biennial 14 - Leaving the Echo Chamber.jpg

The theme for this year’s edition of the Sharjah Biennial is Leaving the Echo Chamber with three curators presenting three distinct exhibitions; Journey Beyond the Arrow curated by Zoe Butt, Making New Time curated by Omar Kholeif and Look for Me All Around You curated by Claire Tannins.

The three exhibitions are spread across several venues in Sharjah and the East Coast of the UAE.

Day 1:
One of the venues is Al Hamriyah Studios in Hamriyah, Sharjah which is also close to the beach. It’s a beautiful venue and worth going just to see it if you’ve never been.

There will be a couple of performances on the first day of the biennial, and you will also get to see works exhibited there.

2:00pm – 2:45pm tagatanu’u by Léuli Eshrāghi
3:00pm – 3:30pm house of MAKEdbA by Neo Muyanga

A third performance will take place in Sharjah:

4:30pm – 6:30pm Eslabón by Carlos Martiel in Bait Obaid Al Shamsi, Arts Square

Free to attend. More information here.

Day 2:
The second day will have events taking place in Kalba and Umm Al Quwain which will include performances and installations in Kalba Kindergarten, Kalba Ice Factory, and at a site of an abandoned airplane in Umm Al Quwain.

If you are not familiar with these venues, I strongly suggest you cancel any plans you made for Friday and dedicate your day to this.

There will be busses leaving at 9.30am from Al Mureijah Square in Sharjah and return at 10pm.

Free to attend. The complete schedule for this day can be found here.


March 7, 10, 12

Films of Kidlat Tahimik 
Mirage City Cinema, Sharjah

Perfumed Nightmare.jpg

Kidlat Tahimik is a filmmaker who is associated with the “Third Cinema” movement, critiquing neocolonialism, capitalism and the Hollywood model of cinema as entertainment.

During the first week of Sharjah Biennial 14, three of his films will be screened in the outdoor Mirage City Cinema, with more scheduled in April.

The screenings are free to attend. Click on the links below for more information about each film.

March 7 at 10.30pm
Mababangong Bangungot / Perfumed Nightmare (1977)

March 10 at 9.30pm
Balikbayan #1: Memories of Overdevelopment, Redux VI (1979–2015 and ongoing)

March 12 at 8.30pm
Turumba (1983)


March 9-11

March Meeting 2019

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Sharjah Art Foundation’s annual March Meeting will take place during the opening week of Sharjah Biennial 14. The three days of the meetings will cover themes by the three curators of the biennial.

Click on the links below to see the complete schedule.

March 9 in various venues:
Performance programme curated by Claire Tancons, speakers series convened with Diego del Valle, Terremoto magazine

March 10 in Sharjah Institute for Theatrical Arts:
Journey Beyond the Arrow—From the Multiple, in Process, with Flexibility and Adaptation, convened by Zoe Butt with Lee Weng Choy

March 11 in Sharjah Institute for Theatrical Arts:
Create Dangerously, convened by Omar Kholeif


March 12 - 14

Global Africa: African and African Diaspora Studies in the 21st Century
Africa Hall, Sharjah

Ibrahim El Salahi, Funeral and the Crescent, 1963, 101.8 cm x 94.9 cm, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University. Gift of the artist, through Mariska Marker, Photography courtesy of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

Ibrahim El Salahi, Funeral and the Crescent, 1963, 101.8 cm x 94.9 cm, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University. Gift of the artist, through Mariska Marker, Photography courtesy of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

This conference will be the first to take place in the newly rebuilt Africa Hall in Sharjah, originally constructed in 1976 as a venue to showcase African cultures, theatre, dance and musical performances.

In addition to celebrating the announcement of the newly established Africa Institute, which will be next door to Africa Hall, this conference aims to foster conversations about what lies ahead for African studies, especially in the context of increased globalization and migration caused by the crisis of the postcolonial state in Africa, compounded by rising xenophobia and anti-immigration policies in Europe and North America.

There will be nine panel discussions over the three days. More details can be found here, and the detailed schedule can be found here.


March 13

Conversations on Practice: Farah Al Qasimi
Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai

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Farah Al Qasimi will discuss her recent projects with writer, editor and curator Shumon Basar as part of the Jameel’s ‘Conversations on Practice’ series of artist-led presentations.

Qasimi’s photography is described as “personal, fractured and hallucinatory portrait of life in the UAE…capturing the intimacy of domestic interiors as well as lively, colourful public spaces of leisure and consumption”.

The talk will take place between 6.30pm - 7.30pm. Free entry. More information here.


March 15

Conversations on Practice: Ibrahim Ismail
Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai

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Ibrahim Ismail will discuss his career with UAE-columnist and researcher Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi as part of the Jameel’s ‘Conversations on Practice’ series of artist-led presentations.

One of Kuwait’s most notable artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, Ibrahim Ismail is best known for his versatility, and experimental approach towards art making. By depicting old marketplaces, street corners and shops in his paintings, Ismail meanders among public and private spaces and the people occupying them.

In addition to themes that convey aspects of Kuwaiti heritage, Ismail has produced work that deals more explicitly with political events, including overtly patriotic renderings of emblems of the state.

The talk will take place between 6.30pm - 7.30pm. It will be conducted in Arabic only without translation. More information here.


March 15

Rights of Future Generations: Environment and Ecology
Al-Qasimiya School, Al-Manakh Neighbourhood, Sharjah

Rights of Future Generations Environment and Ecology.jpg

Rights of Future Generations is the theme of the inaugural Sharjah Architecture Triennial (November 9, 2019 - February 20, 2020), questioning how inheritance, legacy, and the state of the environment are passed from one generation to the next. How present decisions have long-term intergenerational consequences, and how other expressions of co-existence might challenge dominant perspectives.
Building on two previous talks, the first was about Housing & Domesticity and the second was about Education & Schooling, both addressed how private and public spaces form subjects and inform collective aspirations, this final forum is about Environment & Ecology. With an expanded definition of environment that goes beyond conventional association with the natural world, the following three speakers will address how particular contexts in the Global South open the possibility of non-extractive and non-domesticating relationships between inhabitants and their ecologies.

  • Dalal Alsayer (PhD Candidate, History and Theory of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Samia Henni (Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning at Cornell University)

  • Marina Tabassum (Founder of Marina Tabassum Architects and 2016 winner of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture) 

The talks will start at 5:00pm, preceded by a tour of Al-Qasimiya School. The event is free and open to the public. More information here.


March 15

Film Screening: Taste of Cement
Mirage City Cinema, Sharjah

Taste of Cement.jpg

Taste of Cement (Ziad Kalthoum, 2017) 
Lebanon | Documentary | 85 minutes | Arabic with English subtitles

In Beirut, Syrian construction workers are building a skyscraper while, at the same time, their own houses in Syria are being shelled. The Lebanese war is over, but the Syrian one still rages on. The workers are locked in the building site, not allowed to leave it after 7:00 pm, as the Lebanese government has imposed night-time curfews on the refugees.

Their only contact with the outside world is the hole through which they climb out in the morning to begin a new day of work. Cut off from their homeland, they gather at night around a small television set to get the news from Syria. Tormented by anguish and anxiety, suffering the deprivation of the most basic human and labour rights, they keep hoping for a different life.

The screening starts at 8.30pm. Free entry. More information here.


March 18 - April 30

Alserkal Avenue, Dubai

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Rhodiola is a curated project by the Athens-based artist collective 3 137. It’s the first commission under Alserkal Avenue’s not-for-profit Alserkal Residency

Starting on March 18 and ending on April 30, Rhodiola will include talks, interviews, exhibitions, performances, screenings, and community activities. The commission will “run sporadically, at variable tempos, acting as an amplifier at times and as an ambiance at others. Looking at hybrid forms of communication, Rhodiola takes its inspiration from radio frequencies, and will come to life across five Waves.”

Wave 1: AC/Scaffold
Staging your well-being: domesticity / infrastructure / support / urbanist / futurology / ruin / artificial / setting / programme / communication / transport / handle / zero carbon / haunt / process / decoration

Wave 2: Cookies
An invisible statistical map: comfort / biscuit / language / geography / immaterial / tube / high performance / queue / contract / start up / franchise / labour / convention / customer / demands

Wave 3: Dentist
For the making of the perfect Avatar: profit / cleaning / care / stereotypes / normal vs casual / duties / internship / coaching / rescue / post human / cabinet / mechanics / hucksterism / spectacular

Wave 4: Snooze
Be ready to be cured and listen to your personalised divination: oracle / cosmism / benefit / concentration / treatment / beautician / meditation / transit / school / degrowth / divination / preemptive / superheroes 

Wave 5: Sunscreen
A casual service: tourism / dog walker / slow food / happiness / psychoanalysis / upbringing / trainer / online banking / service / state / customer / pen friend / love affair / handle / transmission

More information here and visit from March 18 for more details and schedule.


March 19

Talk with Christine Macel, Centre Pompidou Chief Curator
The Lighthouse, Dubai Design District

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This talk will focus on Macel’s professional journey from teaching at École du Louvre in Paris, to her long-standing post as Chief Curator at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

The conversation with Macel, the Curator of the 2017 Venice Biennale, will also explore the contributions of Middle East artists to the global contemporary art scene, and their influence on Macel and her curatorial practice.

The talk will start at 7.30pm. Free entry. RSVP:
More information on The Lighthouse’s Facebook page.


March 19

Gulf Photo Plus Talks with Hussain AlMoosawi | Facade to Facade
Gulf Photo Plus, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai

Hussain Al Moosawi_Gulf Photo Plus.jpg

Hussain AlMoosawi will talk about his photos from the Facade to Facade exhibition currently at Gulf Photo Plus.

AlMoosawi has been systematically documenting the visual elements of buildings in the UAE, often overlooked for its modern architecture.

The talk will start at 7.30pm. Free entry. More information here.


March 20-21

Global Art Forum 13 - School Is A Factory?
Art Dubai, Mina A’Salam, Madinat Jumeirah

Global Art Forum 2019.jpg

School is a Factory? is the theme for this year’s Global Art Forum at Art Dubai. It aims to address some of the urgent challenges and opportunities facing education today.

Some of the pressing questions posed throughout the Forum’s lectures, presentations and conversations will be:
“What should education prioritise in the coming decade?”
“How should humans be taught in the age of accelerated mechanization?”
“Is the notion of ‘learning for life’ just an opportunistic tagline?” “Will higher education escape the ghetto of elitism?”
“Do past experiments in education have something to teach today?”
“Will we need humans to teach humans anymore, anyway?”

More details about the line up and schedule of Global Art Forum can be found here.

Free entry if you have an Art Dubai pass. Tickets to Art Dubai can be purchased online here.


March 21

Performance | Earwitness Inventory
Warehouse 58, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai

Lawrence Abu Hamdan,  Earwitness Inventory  (2018). Commissioned and produced by Chisenhale Gallery, London in partnership with: Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; and Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Earwitness Inventory (2018). Commissioned and produced by Chisenhale Gallery, London in partnership with: Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; and Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate

As part of his six days open studio in Alserkal Avenue (March 18-23), where artist and audio investigator Lawrence Abu Hamdan will temporarily relocate his studio from Beirut to Dubai, Abu Hamdan will present a performance lecture elaborating on a selection from his Earwitness Inventory of 95 custom-designed and sourced objects, all derived from legal cases in which sonic evidence is contested, and acoustic memories need to be retrieved.

The performance happen from 6.00pm to 6.30pm. Free entry.


March 22

Modern Symposium
Art Dubai, Mina A’Salam, Madinat Jumeirah

Modern Symposium_Art Dubai.jpg

Modern Symposium is a series of talks and presentations in Art Dubai that focuses on the life, work and cultural impact of 20th century masters from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa.

This year’s symposium will be led by Dr. Nada Shabout, Catherine David, Elvira Dyangani Ose and Dr. Iftikhar Dadi, focusing on Beirut, Baghdad, Dakar and Lahore. The talks and presentations will examine the ways in which each respective city has contributed to the modern art scene while also exploring how political and cultural factors have impacted and reshaped history.

More information about Modern Symposium can be found here.

Free entry if you have an Art Dubai pass. Tickets to Art Dubai can be purchased online here.


March 22

Film Screening: Around the Pink House
Mirage City Cinema, Sharjah

Around the Pink House .jpg

Around the Pink House (Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, 1999) 
Lebanon | Narrative | 92 minutes | Arabic and French with English subtitles

Years after the Lebanese civil war, the owner of a shelled residential building known as the ‘pink house’ schedules its demolition in ten days so it can be replaced by a commercial centre. This decision divides the neighbourhood, with residents resisting and shop owners and developers advocating for the centre in the pursuit of modernity and better economic opportunity.

Seen through the perspective of a photojournalist, the personal stories of those living in the pink house are unveiled, and the wounds and dreams of a strange postwar period appear. The families being evicted must relocate again, with little compensation from the government.

This situation leads to residents’ resistance to the circumstances imposed on them, with petitions, food boycotts, division lines, intimidation, conciliation and deals.

The screening starts at 8.30pm. Free entry. More information here.


March 29

Film Screening: Ouroboros
Mirage City Cinema, Sharjah

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Ouroboros (Basma Alsharif, 2017
Palestine | Experimental | 75 minutes | English, Italian, Chinook with English and Arabic subtitles

An homage to the Gaza Strip, this film explores the subject of the eternal return. A journey following one man through five different landscapes marks the end as the beginning, forgetting as the way forward, and the failure of civilisation. Starting from Gaza, the film moves on to explore other seemingly unconnected landscapes in the United States, France and Italy with the intention of linking the plight of the Palestinians to other peoples’ suffering throughout modern history.

The screening starts at 8.30pm. Free entry. More information here.


March 29-30

Crude: A Symposium
Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai

Crude Symposium_Jameel Arts Centre.jpg

To mark the closing weekend of the exhibition Crude, a two-day symposium will take place in Jameel Arts Centre addressing key themes in the exhibition — the social, cultural and ecological histories and impacts of oil — through a series of talks, films and panel discussions.

Participants include artists Shirin Sabahi and Ala Younis, historians Amanda Boetzkes and Nelida Fuccaro, writer Graeme Macdonald and curator Cuauhtemoc Medina, among others.

Free entry. More information and online registration here.