The Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) Production Programme broadens the possibilities for the production of art in the MENASA region through a commitment to support innovation and excellence in artistic practice by encouraging risk and experimentation. This commitment places artists at the core of the Foundation’s mission by offering grants and professional support for the realisation of projects selected from an open call for proposals.
The past decade has seen an extraordinary rise in artistic activity throughout the Middle East, resulting in an increased visibility for artists both regionally and internationally. Within this context, the Foundation hopes to promote and encourage an environment of public and private patronage for the highest level of artistic endeavour, while this programme focuses on supporting artists in their individual attempts to create work on a scale they have perhaps never imagined possible.
Arts practitioners are invited to propose imaginative, ambitious and inspirational projects that will transform our understanding of what art is and how it can be experienced. With this initiative we hope to engage and challenge the artists, our audiences and ourselves aesthetically, intellectually, emotionally, socially, politically or in ways new and unexpected.
In 2010 the Foundation offered three production grants to artists working in a range of media including sculpture, installation, time-based media, artist’s books and performance.
The Production Programme was launched in 2008. Over 1000 submissions have been received, 500 applications considered and 45 projects selected for production.
Past productions have included Sharif Waked’s poetic video To Be Continued (2009), where what appears to be the last testimony of a ‘suicide bomber’ unfolds as an attempt to escape mortality through the never-ending recitation of One Thousand and One Nights. This work is now in the collections of the Sharjah Art Foundation and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Another recent production was Lamya Gargash’s The Majlis (2008-2009), a series of elegant photographs that document empty formal spaces within the Emirati home and provide an evocative glimpse into domestic and social life while reasserting the viewer’s position as an outsider.