Universes in Universe / Caravan / 7th Sharjah Biennial
Sharjah International Biennial 7
6 April - 6 June, 2005
Press release, received from the organizer on 13 December 2004
One of the principle concerns of the 7th Sharjah International Biennial are persistent questions of belonging and unbelonging in a context of change. The biennial addresses the rapid developments taking place in the Emirates, and engages artists and guests in a shared reflection about the increasingly vaporous landscapes of our homes, habitats, societies and nations. It offers a space where contemporary art can be discussed in the light of shifting strategies of allegiance that may be national or territorial, strategic or sentimental, formal or conspiratorial.
The 7th Sharjah International Biennial will be held in three locations: the building of the Museum of Modern Art, the Expo space and the Cultural Heritage area which has been restored and preserved and which forms part of the old core of Sharjah. This allows the integration of the biennial within the heart of the city but also leads to a decentralised scenography that is less hierarchical than international biennials usually are. The Heritage Area is a network of small exhibition and museum spaces, courtyards, alleyways and a souq, while additional exhibition spaces are being devised especially for the event. It mirrors a simple, unpretentious past and underlines the difficulties of reviving such a heritage within the fast-paced changes marking the Emirates today.
Visitors and participants will have to position themselves with a kaleidoscopic fabric of shifting social structures, long-standing traditions, consumer culture, archaeological assets, modern and postmodern architecture, unprecedented immigration and other interfaces including the biennial itself. Working with this setting raises issues of voyeurism and collaboration, tourism and respect, and offers a refreshingly challenging prospect to the participating artists. It is through experiencing contemporary art in the particular context of the 7th Sharjah International Biennial that a discourse will ensue on the substance of identity, nationality, allegiance and the dichotomies of us and them. The now standard questions of identity and alterity will be tested to their limits, beyond the comfortable frame of a customary biennial.
Approximately seventy artists have been invited to take part in the biennial and invited curators and art critics will participate in an international symposium organised in collaboration with the American University of Sharjah and the University of Sharjah’s College of Fine Arts. The biennial will also include a programme of screenings of related international films.
Director: HRH Hoor Al Qasimi
Curator: Jack Persekian
Associate Curators: Ken Lum and Tirdad Zolghadr
General Co-ordinator: Hisham Al Madhloum
Biennial Co-ordinator: Mahita El Bacha Urieta
Artists Co-ordinator: Maissa Alsuwaidi
General Contact Details:
Telephone: + 971 6 5685050
Mahita El Bacha Urieta, Biennial Co-ordinator
Mobile: + 971 50481554
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